For Dr. Brett Wilkinson, the Baylor Business School offers business students the opportunity to engage in various types of undergraduate research both in and outside of the classroom. Last year, Dr. Wilkinson was involved in the writing and publication of Kristen Fullenkamp's article that critiques the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Currently he serves as an advisor for Baylor's Extreme Tax team that is competing against 25 other schools from across the nation. The Extreme Tax teams are challenged to develop tax policy recommendations for a given policy within two weeks. They then present their findings in a formal presentation to a panel of judges, who determine whether the team qualifies to continue competing. Baylor's team has had great success and has already been chosen to move on to the next level of competition.
Dr. Wilkinson notes a common misconception about business professions is that they only require technical skills. "To do things properly," says Dr. Wilkinson, one must engage in research and investigate the effects of current issues on the business world. Otherwise, "you are missing the point of education." Being involved in research as a businessman or businesswoman allows one to understand business policies on a much deeper level, he adds. Furthermore, being able to comprehend the rationale and implications of a given issue not only makes one a better business professional, but a more informed citizen as well.
Dr. Wilkinson, who was educated in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S., is currently researching the different methods used by these countries with regard to dividend taxation. Having lived in all three areas, he is able to provide a unique perspective on the international issues that affect all three countries.
After four years at Baylor, Dr. Wilkinson has come to value the smaller class size that allows him to elicit greater interaction among students. Classroom discussions among a smaller number of students have proved to be excellent, and the opportunity to emphasize the underlying logic of various business policies and professional business interactions enhances the business student's education. He hopes that the business school will begin to be more recognized for the scholarly research that is happening in its departments and that more students will recognize the importance of such investigation on their business careers. Undoubtedly, engaging in undergraduate research in policy, international relations, ethics, or another one of the numerous areas of business will make one a better citizen and a more well-rounded business professional.