The World Bachelor in Business program is neither for the timid nor the tame. The WBB, as it is known on campus, takes a select cohort of students to three different universities around the world to gain a global approach to their business education during their time as undergraduate students. The inaugural WBB class graduated in 2017.The program was launched in 2013 by the USC Marshall School of Business in conjunction with two other universities after fine-tuning the program for over two years. Students in WBB study at USC during their first year before venturing to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology for their sophomore year. Once completed, students attend Bocconi University in Milan for their junior year. For the students’ senior years, they get to choose where they want to return to — either USC, HKUST, or remain at Bocconi. Aseem Afsah recently completed his WBB experience, completing his final year at USC. He graduated summa cum laude from the University.“Looking back on myself during this time, I feel like I was kind of like a starry-eyed baby just seeing the whole world for the first time,” Afsah said.Now in 2017, the program has seen its first round of WBB students graduate, collecting not one, but three diplomas from each of the three universities. Though her undergraduate education has now come to a close, senior Angela Zhou said the commencement ceremony was not as nostalgic and emotional as it might have been for other students. “Every single year, for the past four years, has felt like almost a mini-graduation where we had to leave USC to go to Hong Kong and leave Hong Kong to go to Italy,” Zhou said.For Zhou, the non-stop movement from country to country is what sets the WBB program — and its students — apart from the average undergraduate experience.The obstacles that come with receiving a cross-continental education foster a global mindset within the WBB students, challenging them to go out of their comfort zones. From security checks at the airport to applying for visas and setting up a foreign bank account, the cross-border challenges that WBB students face create a experience that dissents from the typical college experience, according to Ashley Nguyen, a rising sophomore in the WBB program.“Americans in general don’t think about applying to out-of-country universities,” Nguyen said. “Through this program, I will be able to learn how to adapt to different situations better and maneuver my way through my career.”Afsah said that the program has challenged his worldview. “We have grown this ability to see in many different ways and to consider many different perspectives,” Afsah said. “Spending two or three years abroad and consistently having your worldviews challenged make us a lot more adaptable and open-minded.”Over the past four years the program has grown and adapted to the challenges that the students face. For Zhou, she hopes that this program continues to inspire college students to gain a study abroad education.“Universities should champion more unconventional programs such as [the WBB] … to allow students to get an in-depth view of other cultures, campuses and academic settings that allow for a more intellectual and dynamic conversation within the student body,” Zhou said. After studying on three different continents, the World Bachelor in Business students are exposed to an international education that prepares them for success in a globalized society.
Wisconsin men’s hockey had their first of two series this year against rival Minnesota two weekends ago, marking the 249th meeting between the two teams in the history of the programs.NHL stars like former Badger Ryan McDonagh and former Gopher Thomas Vanek are only a few of the most recent talent this heated rivalry has produced — and a combined total of 11 national titles doesn’t hurt its reputation either.But despite the massive success and animosity these two programs have had for each other over the past 60 years, the brutal fist fight that fans have come to know and love has declined over the past few of years.The scoring margin of 13-2 in these last two games is a wakeup call of how far the rivalry has fallen from the decades when a championship matchup between the two was more probable than not.“You don’t expect to come out like we did against Minnesota,” head coach Mike Eaves said. “We strive to be better and we know we have to be better.”Men’s hockey: Badgers crushed by Gophers in weekend seriesThere weren’t many positives for Badger fans this weekend as the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (4-12-6, 1-7-2-1 Big Ten) Read…The historyThe greatness of this intense but diminishing rivalry traces its roots back to 1970s, when premier names in hockey, like Bob Johnson and Herb Brooks, coached some of the best teams in the country year in and year out.In a span of 11 years (1973-1983), Wisconsin and Minnesota won seven championships combined and established legacies that still live on to today.Both programs would only continue to grow from the storied traditions of what was left behind. Wisconsin won two more trophies (1990, 2006) as well as Minnesota (2002, 2003).The new millennium brought huge momentum back into the battle as Minnesota won those fourth and fifth titles back to back, followed by Wisconsin breaking ahead again with their sixth under Eaves.“There is so much history in this great series every year,” Eaves said. “You have to bring everything you have.”Eaves knows a thing or two about this rivalry too.During his playing days at Wisconsin he helped lead the Badgers over Brooks, who coached team USA in the 1980 Olympics, and won NCAA championship in 1977.Eaves then continued Wisconsin’s success during his tenure as coach, leading his alma mater to two championship games and that win in 2006.The 2014-15 season, however, turned around the popular opinion of the young coach, in which Eave’s Badgers posted the worst record in school history with only four wins.The problemEven though both schools had solid teams over the past decade, contending most years, the rivalry seemed lacking as 2015-16 began with an uneventful first series.The same intensity and chippy nature that used to define the contest was noticeably absent from the two games last weekend, as the Gophers stole whatever optimism surrounded the Badgers fan base.Wisconsin suffered two ejections for illegal hits to the head in the second game alone, showing frustration in what has been a disappointing campaign in the latter half of the season.Wisconsin’s win total since the 2014-15 season is eight, making it hard for a legendary program to draw fans. Especially with the rise in popularity of Wisconsin men’s basketball and football.While Minnesota still holds hockey as their most exciting program, the focus in Madison is quickly shifting away from the ice, despite being only two seasons removed from the last Badgers’ appearance in the NCAA tournament.The solutionWhether this problem is a result from the expectations of a school community born and raised watching premier hockey, or from a rise in other sports on campus, the program is in dire need of a rebirth.One of the few ways to ignite a fan base is to take revenge on a close rival. And if there is one thing the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry has always been, it’s that it’s cyclical.“I never know what to expect what’s going to happen in these games,” Eaves said. “But that doesn’t excuse what happened and we will make sure we’re ready in for the series at Minnesota.”Eaves now leads a team with a majority of underclassmen in an attempt to calm the storm around the program.With two future NHL players in freshman goaltender Matt Jurusik and forward Luke Kunin, the future is bright to compete against a Minnesota team that sports 12.This young group of Badgers has a long way to go, but focusing ahead and defeating the Gophers in the Border Battle will do a lot.With that said, the two rematch on March 11th and 12th in Minneapolis.
by Nancy ArmourAP National Writer When Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being the Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she’d make an appearance here and there.“I didn’t think it was going to be crazy,” Douglas said, laughing. “I love it. But I realized my perspective was going to have to change.” Just a bit.The teenager has become a worldwide star since winning the Olympic all-around title in London, the first African-American gymnast to claim gymnastics’ biggest prize. And now she has earned another honor. Douglas was selected The Associated Press’ female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced Friday.“I didn’t realize how much of an impact I made,” said Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31. “My mom and everyone said, ‘You really won’t know the full impact until you’re 30 or 40 years old.’ But it’s starting to sink in.”In a year filled with standout performances by female athletes, those of the pint-sized gymnast shined brightest. Douglas received 48 of 157 votes, seven more than Franklin, who won four gold medals and a bronze in London. Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open two years after her career was nearly derailed by a series of health problems, was third (24).Britney Griner, who led Baylor to a 40-0 record and the NCAA title, and skier Lindsey Vonn each got 18 votes. Sprinter Allyson Felix, who won three gold medals in London, and Carli Lloyd, who scored both U.S. goals in the Americans’ 2-1 victory over Japan in the gold-medal game, also received votes.“One of the few years the women’s (Athlete of the Year) choices are more compelling than the men’s,” said Julie Jag, sports editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.Douglas is the fourth gymnast to win one of the AP’s annual awards, which began in 1931, and first since Mary Lou Retton in 1984. She also finished 15th in voting for the AP sports story of the year.Douglas wasn’t even in the conversation for the Olympic title at the beginning of the year. That all changed in March when she upstaged reigning world champion and teammate Jordyn Wieber at the American Cup in New York, showing off a new vault, an ungraded uneven bars routine and a dazzling personality that would be a hit on Broadway and Madison Avenue.She finished a close second to Wieber at the U.S. championships, then beat her two weeks later at the Olympic trials. With each competition, her confidence grew. So did that smile.By the time the Americans got to London, Douglas had emerged as the most consistent gymnast on what was arguably the best team the U.S. has ever had.She posted the team’s highest score on all but one event in qualifying. She was the only gymnast to compete in all four events during team finals, when the Americans beat the Russians in a rout for their second Olympic title, and first since 1996. Two nights later, Douglas claimed the grandest prize of all, joining Retton, Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin as what Bela Karolyi likes to call the “Queen of Gymnastics.”But while plenty of other athletes won gold medals in London, none captivated the public quite like Gabby.Fans ask for hugs in addition to photographs and autographs, and people have left restaurants and cars upon spotting her. She made Barbara Walters’ list of “10 Most Fascinating People,” and Forbes recently named her one of its “30 Under 30.” She has deals with Nike, Kellogg Co. and AT&T, and agent Sheryl Shade said Douglas has drawn interest from companies that don’t traditionally partner with Olympians or athletes.“She touched so many people of all generations, all diversities,” Shade said. “It’s her smile, it’s her youth, it’s her excitement for life. … She transcends sport.”Douglas’ story is both heartwarming and inspiring, its message applicable those young or old, male or female, active or couch potato. She was just 14 when she convinced her mother to let her leave their Virginia Beach, Va., home and move to West Des Moines, Iowa, to train with Liang Chow, Shawn Johnson’s coach. Though her host parents, Travis and Missy Parton, treated Douglas as if she was their fifth daughter, Douglas was so homesick she considered quitting gymnastics.She’s also been open about her family’s financial struggles, hoping she can be a role model for lower income children.“I want people to think, ‘Gabby can do it, I can do it,’” Douglas said. “Set that bar. If you’re going through struggles or injuries, don’t let it stop you from what you want to accomplish.”The grace she showed under pressure — both on and off the floor — added to her appeal. When some fans criticized the way she wore her hair during the Olympics, Douglas simply laughed it off.“They can say whatever they want. We all have a voice,” she said. “I’m not going to focus on it. I’m not really going to focus on the negative.”Besides, she’s having far too much fun.Her autobiography, “Grace, Gold and Glory,” is No. 4 on the New York Times’ young adult list. She, Wieber and Fierce Five teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney recently wrapped up a 40-city gymnastics tour. She met President Barack Obama last month with the rest of the Fierce Five, and left the White House with a souvenir.“We got a sugar cookie that they were making for the holidays,” Douglas said. “I took a picture of it.”Though her busy schedule hasn’t left time to train, Douglas insists she still intends to compete through the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.No Olympic champion has gone on to compete at the next Summer Games, but Douglas is still a relative newcomer to the elite scene — she’d done all of four international events before the Olympics — and Chow has said she hasn’t come close to reaching her full potential. She keeps up with Chow through email and text messages, and plans to return to Iowa after her schedule clears up in the spring.Of course, plenty of other athletes have said similar things and never made it back to the gym. But Douglas is determined, and she gets giddy just talking about getting a new floor routine.“I think there’s even higher bars to set,” she said.Because while being an Olympic champion may have changed her life, it hasn’t changed her.“I may be meeting cool celebrities and I’m getting amazing opportunities,” she said. “But I’m still the same Gabby.”(AP Projects Editor Brooke Lansdale contributed to this report.) FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR–Gabrielle Douglas of the United States displays her gold medal in the artistic gymnastics women’s individual all-around competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Douglas, who became the first African-American gymnast to win the all-around Olympic title, is The Associated Press’ 2012 female athlete of the year. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)