November 22, 2016 : By Liberty University News Service
In the spring, Liberty University will pilot its first course in automotive dealership management, thanks to a partnership with Hendrick Automotive Group, the nation’s largest privately held automotive retail organization. Liberty plans to offer a full specialization next fall, under its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Dan DeHass, executive general manager for Mall of Georgia Mazda, Mall of Georgia MINI and Rick Hendrick Buick GMC, said there is a “giant void” for educating students in automotive dealership management and that most college students may not realize the “unbelievable opportunities within the industry.” Only two other colleges in the nation have these programs, even though the U.S. has the second-largest automotive industry in the world (behind China).
“I couldn’t think of anybody better to partner with on this journey than Liberty,” DeHass said, praising the standard to which Liberty holds its students and the school’s efforts to help students transition into the workplace.
Dr. Scott Hicks, dean of Liberty’s School of Business, said it was an honor to have Hendrick Automotive Group reach out to the university for this opportunity.
“We are partnering with the nation’s best to do this,” he said, noting the core values that the two organizations share. “It’s phenomenal to see how amazingly well their philosophy aligns with that of Liberty University. We both have this desire to serve our employees or our students and to grow our organizations with people who have a desire to serve something bigger than themselves.”
Students will be trained in managing a dealership as well as how to adapt to technology in an ever-changing marketplace.
“The purpose is building future owners of dealerships,” Hicks said. “If we can get students to think like owners and to learn the business that well, they are going to make phenomenal employees and, potentially, owners.”
Hendrick Automotive Group is working with Liberty to develop the curriculum, and some of its employees will contribute to course instruction, including prerecorded and live videos. The North Carolina-based automotive company has an extensive training program in place, which will be incorporated into expanding Liberty’s curriculum. Residential coursework begins this January, with online beginning in Fall 2017.
In addition to classroom learning, specialization will include two eight-week internships at a Hendrick Automotive Group dealership.
Encompassing 102 dealerships from the Carolinas to California, Hendrick Automotive Group is the largest privately held automotive retail organization in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company employs more than 10,000 people in its dealerships, collision centers and accessories distributor installers in 14 states. For more information, please visit www.HendrickAuto.com.