Harding University

Duck Commander

May 1, 2013

Duck Commander offers students real-world business experience

Students in the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration made their final presentation on campus April 30 to Duck Commander and Buck Commander CEO and University alumnus Willie Robertson as part of their independent research class.

The semester-long class gave students the opportunity to tackle several technical and operational issues of the companies and learn about business logistics from this multimillion-dollar industry. Students and faculty advisors presented to Robertson and his team of associates on data mining, retail opportunities, event promotion and future revenue streams.

Robertson and his wife, Korie, visited campus November 2012 and spoke about their family, business and faith. After speaking to Robertson on this visit about his companies and plans for the future, Dr. Phil Brown, professor and director of the accounting program, suggested a partnership between Harding and Duck Commander and Buck Commander.

“After Willie and Korie spoke to our students last November about their experiences, I asked Willie if he would consider allowing a COBA student consulting group to use his business as a learning tool and technique,” Brown said. “Seeing business live and in real time is so much more valuable than learning that takes place in a sterile classroom environment.”

The 15 students in the class, with the assistance of several COBA faculty advisors and University alumni across the nation, spent the semester immersed in researching data mining, formulating a retail space plan, and creating an annual event for the family to host long-term.

“Some of our students’ ideas served simply to confirm and solidify that they were on the right track as the Commander companies were already planning to implement them,” Brown said. “Other ideas forced them to reconsider their level of significance from their list of priorities. And some were totally new concepts and future considerations.”

In a typical boardroom setting, students presented their ideas and talked with the Duck Commander and Buck Commander team about the actuality of executing them. As the group brainstormed, students were able to hear details of how the business is run, solutions to problems the Commander companies have encountered recently, and thought processes behind various executive decisions.  

“I am very pleased with the group and what they accomplished,” Brown said. “I believe the students gained what I had envisioned from this experience: a first-hand exposure to a real-world business, a deeper understanding of business complexity, and a level of confidence that came from using their knowledge and God-given abilities to make a difference.”