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Opus College of Business campus in downtown Minneapolis

A year of change and innovation at Opus College

Celebrating our 2021 Milestones

As 2021 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all that Opus College has accomplished.

It’s been another year to remember for the Opus community. We enjoyed a wonderful (and safe) fall semester that included more opportunities to engage in person. We expanded our graduate program portfolio to keep up with new technologies, and the college received increased recognition for our excellence and dedication to student success. While we continue to face a confluence of health, justice, and economic challenges – our students, staff, faculty, and partners are committed to advancing business for the common good.

As we prepare to take on a new year, we look back at our top milestones in 2021 to get ready for a positive start to 2022.

two females standing in front of balloons that spell out the number 30

Celebrating 30 Years of Business 200

The Business Learning Through Service program— a long-standing tradition at St. Thomas — celebrated 30 years of community service.

Generating over 5.7 million dollars worth of work at over 300 nonprofits in the Twin Cities, the program has made a splash since it was added to the university's curriculum in 1991. In 2021, students provided over 26,000 hours of volunteer service to 300 different nonprofits.

exterior of the Opus College of Business in downtown Minneapolis in the snow

Opus Retains Prestigious AACSB Accreditation

Opus College earned reaccreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) through 2025. Only 5% of all business schools globally have the designation, a worldwide marker of quality in business education. St. Thomas is the only private university in Minnesota accredited by AACSB.
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Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge

In June, the University of St. Thomas hosted student entrepreneurs in the Fowler Social Innovation Challenge. Students from 15 countries and 28 universities – including two teams from St. Thomas - competed for a chance to win a share of $50,000 in seed funding. Inspiring ideas ranged from ecological bricks made from plastic waste to a robotic walker for the visually impaired. 

Powered by the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas and the Center for Peace and Commerce at the University of San Diego, the Fowler GSIC invites students to engage with one or more of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals by developing an innovation that responds to an environmental or social problem.

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Newly Renamed Center for Principled Leadership

In August, a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the Melrose and The Toro Company Center for Principled Leadership on the Minneapolis campus. The Center aims to reach students, scholars, and the business public through activities focusing on three main themes – the liberal arts and leadership, meaningful work, and the role of business in society.
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New Omnichannel Strategy Graduate Certificate

We introduced a new Graduate Certificate in Omnichannel Strategy, developed in partnership with industry experts in retail, health care, and financial services. The certificate allows students to follow industry-specific tracks and gain practical experience through hands-on project work with a real-world client.

The pandemic has accelerated major changes in both consumer behavior and online shopping, and omnichannel strategy is becoming increasingly important in the post-COVID economy.

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St. Thomas Nationally Ranks in Top 25 for Entrepreneurship

The university’s Schulze School of Entrepreneurship jumped ten spots to No. 23 in the latest Princeton Review list of top undergraduate schools in the country. For the third year in a row, the school ranks #1 in Minnesota and #1 among the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges for entrepreneurship.
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2021 Competition Winners

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Business Plan Competition

In a new twist this year, the annual St. Thomas Business Plan Competition opened its doors to recent alumni to pitch their ideas for cash prizes. Four of the five winning ideas came from alumni. Auris AI, an artificial intelligence-assisted stethoscope that captures, analyzes, and interprets acoustic signals in real-time, and Fendesha, a Netflix-like streaming platform for Ethiopian movies and TV shows, brought home the top prizes of $10,000.
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A team of Opus MBA students took first place in the ACG (Association for Corporate Growth Minnesota) Cup case study competition. The ACG Cup is a case study competition designed to give students from MBA programs insights into mergers and acquisitions (M&A), investment banking, financial advisory, and private equity.
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MinneAnalytics Madness

St. Thomas took first place in the MinneMUDAC Student Data Science Challenge, also known as MinneAnalytics Madness. Exploring real-world data, student teams built models to predict the outcomes of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, triumphing over 50 teams.
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Fowler Business Concept Challenge

Now in its thirteenth year, the Fowler Business Concept Challenge has awarded over $700,000 in scholarships to support St. Thomas students. This year’s winners: Print3D Paradise, concrete 3D-printed vacation rental homes close to national parks, and UWell, a comprehensive software application aiming to increase mental health awareness at universities.
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