The Honors Business Association (HBA) hosts Dinner with a Professor (DWAP) events throughout the year to connect BHP students with professors outside of the classroom. “After the DWAPs professors have more participation in class since students know the professors more which makes them more comfortable,” said Rachel Solomon, outgoing HBA Academics VP. “It also gives professors an opportunity to learn what we are doing outside of class and how what we are learning in the classroom is being applied.”
HBA hosted DWAP events with the Dean of the McCombs School, Tom Gilligan, and BHP MIS professors Ashish Agarwal and Prabhudev Konana in April. For both events students were invited into their homes and were able to share dinner with the hosts and their families. “DWAPs are very popular events,” said Solomon. “They always fill up. Students really enjoy the professors and want to spend time with them outside of the classroom. Professors and the dean have a lot to do, but they take time to be with the students for a night.”
The HBA MIS DWAP is a tradition now and an event that students look forward to every year. The event was held in the home of Ashish Agarwal and co-hosted by Prabhudev Konana. The two professors enjoy sharing Indian culture with the students and call their DWAP a Bollywood dance party and Indian feast. This year 70 students attended. Students really look forward to letting loose and having fun with the professors. “Dr. Agarwal and Dr. Konana want everyone dancing and they teach them dance moves. Everyone gets really excited to see the professors dancing,” said Solomon. Neal Makkar, a junior in the program, has been to the MIS DWAP multiple times and really enjoyed it this year. “I noticed my friends all enjoying the Indian food, some for the first time,” he said. “It was incredible to see how willing people were to learn the Garba dance style – the entire group participated!”
Dean Gilligan hosted a smaller group of 15 students at his house. “I was expecting it to be formal,” said Solomon, “but he kept it very casual.” Students who attended were treated to a short tour of the back of the house and the backyard. They had dinner with him and his wife and enjoyed learning more about them and sharing more about themselves. “He made us feel very welcome and at ease. It speaks to the openness and transparency of the school that he was willing to answer all of our questions and no topic was off limits,” said Solomon.
HBA hosts around four to five DWAPs a semester. The Business Honors Program is grateful to HBA for organizing these events and to the faculty and administrators who generously give of their time to host them.