Thursday, February 27, 2014
Programs and experiences transform students to business professionals
Learning doesn’t end in the classroom for management information systems senior Lauren Wolf. Since enrolling at Oakland University in 2010, she has discovered opportunities to complement her business education throughout Oakland University’s School of Business Administration.
From faculty and alumni mentorship, to cocurricular and extracurricular programs, punctuated with first-rate advising and support services, Wolf is charting a path to success. As a recipient of OU’s prestigious Presidential Scholarship, a four-year full tuition award, she wasted no time getting involved.
She has held a number of internships, most recently as an analyst intern at Improvement Path Systems in Bingham Farms, Mich., where she analyzes data for the healthcare industry. It’s a position one of her business professors steered her toward. She’s also on staff at OU’s Kresge Library, providing user support services on its 300 computers.
Charting a career
Wolf is committed to making her resume stand out. She admits to attending every career fair Oakland’s Career Services team has hosted. “I figured it was good experience to learn how to interview,” she explains.
It helped. Her impressive work history also includes a stint at Ford Motor Co. as an IT analyst intern, a position she acquired through a campus career fair. She also worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan as a corporate marketing and customer experience intern, the City of Rochester as a local government management internship, and at OU’s School of Education and Human Services as a grant writing intern.
When comparing her college experience with that of her friends enrolled at other universities, Wolf observes that the business education and experiences she’s getting at Oakland University are definitely more personal, active, involved and focused.
“I am well-prepared. Not just for my first position after graduation,” she says, “but for my career.
“I truly believe that Oakland University’s business school provides so many professional development opportunities because it wants its students to succeed in their careers, not just go to class and graduate,” Wolf adds.
When asked about her most meaningful student experiences, Wolf doesn’t hesitate. Her top two are the business school’s required ACHIEVE (Accomplish Career Hopes Including Excellent Valued Employment) professional development program and her involvement in the student organization TALK (Technology and Leadership Keys).
ACHIEVE is a three-class, zero-credit mandatory career preparation and exploration curriculum for OU business students. It provides opportunities for students to get individual feedback from mentors, assistance with resume building, mock interview sessions, financial literacy lessons, networking opportunities and work experience stories shared by guest speakers.
“The program is geared toward helping students reach their competitive advantage,” explains Sherri Kerby, ACHIEVE education coordinator.
“It’s important because there is more to getting a job after graduation than completing all the required course work,” Kerby continues. “There is professional development, personal growth and expanding your horizons. ACHIEVE tries to help students learn those things and provide building blocks to achieve their goals.”
Wolf’s involvement and leadership as president of TALK complements the skills she’s building in ACHIEVE. “I’ve definitely improved my leadership skills and discovered how to plan a meeting and persuade a guest speaker to attend,” she says.
Recent graduate Casey Korzen, Management ’12, emphasizes the positive impact of Oakland University’s ACHIEVE program.
“Without ACHIEVE, I wouldn’t be in my current position,” she says. Korzen is a resourcer at Talascend LLC in Troy, Mich., where she helps recruiters mine candidates for jobs.
“I got the job through networking, which is something the ACHIEVE program at OU’s business school repeatedly drilled into our heads ̶ how important networking is,” she says.
She goes on to explain. While working at her college position as an assistant manager at Abercrombie & Fitch, Korzen, a human resources management minor, established a network that connected her to a vice president of sales at Talascend. That connection landed her the interview; her professionalism got her the position.
Korzen was prepared for that encounter because ACHIEVE helped her polish her answer to a ubiquitous interview question, “Tell me about yourself.” Developing and perfecting a 90-second pitch about herself was an important drill in one of her ACHIEVE courses.
“I had to imagine being on an elevator with a potential employer and I had 90 seconds to convince that person I was right for the job,” Korzen recalls.
ACHIEVE’s mock interview sessions taught Korzen how to parlay her school projects into examples of real-life work experience.
“I never realized I could use my school experience in a job interview,” she says. “ACHIEVE opened my eyes on how to jump-start my career.”
“ACHIEVE teaches you the lessons you don’t learn in class. You learn how to behave and act as a young professional so you don’t mess up in your first couple of years,” Wolf says. “Oakland University’s business school programs help transform you into a professional and pave a pathway to future success.”
By Rene Wisely