Entering the real world—it’s a phrase that’s tossed around with some frequency, especially at universities. And it means different things to different people. At the Lundquist College of Business, it means making connections for life—with professors, with peers, and with working professionals.
True to our earliest days, the Lundquist College of Business emphasizes hands-on learning and a direct connection to the “real” business world. Each of our centers of excellence—Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship, Center for Sustainable Business Practices, and Finance and Securities Analysis Center—operates with a deeply embedded experiential model of learning, coupled with the fundamentals of best business practices. We regularly invite experts in the field, successful alumni, and well-known innovators and business leaders to participate in student events and guest lectures and, sometimes, to consider joining us as Professors of Practice.
Today, our connections to business have never been stronger, and we are building on that foundation with several new initiatives that give shape, name, and process to long-standing practices. Specifically, we are enhancing our existing connections with a modern, mutually beneficial approach to mentorship.
This academic year, we are launching two professional guidance programs to strengthen connections to the business world for both undergraduate and graduate students. Mentorship is not a new concept of course, but the level of the match—as well as the strategic, pragmatic, and specific program guidelines—we seek to offer is, in our estimation, a superior mentor/mentee relationship.
Launched in September 2013, the Job Shadow Program connects undergraduate students with host professionals in a wide range of fields. Lundquist College staff match students with job shadow hosts for one-day career exploration opportunities and prepare students in advance for the job shadow visit. Participating professionals are able to share their career advice and experience and get a sneak peek at promising business students early in their academic programs, whereas students get a jump on transitioning from classroom to career. The program is already experiencing high enrollment rates and excellent participant feedback from both students and hosts.
Oregon Mentor Network
The Oregon MBA is launching a pilot executive mentor program later this month. The Oregon Mentor Network affords current MBA students the opportunity to engage with a professional mentor during a yearlong match. The program’s executive and senior mentors are selected to reflect the diversity of business backgrounds consistent with the Oregon MBA and our centers of excellence. Online interaction, site visits, and campus events are hallmarks of this modern, reciprocal mentoring format. Additional distinctive elements include thorough assessments of mentors and mentees to ensure strong matches, as well as a 1:1 ratio for the mentor and mentee. The Oregon Mentor Network and this year’s pilot program is the result of a generous gift from Chuck and Gwen Lillis.
For both the Job Shadow Program and Oregon Mentor Network, many mentors and hosts are alumni, but the system does not limit itself. It actively includes friends of the college and local luminaries as part of the business learning experience as well. Particular attention has been paid to make the experience both positive and fruitful for student participants as well as those who give their time and wisdom as mentors.
Oregon Advanced Strategy
A third offering, our Oregon Advanced Strategy course, is the capstone of the Oregon MBA curriculum, providing a full-circle learning experience for our students. Pioneered last year by our first Avamere Professor of Practice, leadership strategy expert and former Patagonia CEO Michael Crooke, Oregon Advanced Strategy is an intense course detailing how to create an ethical, lasting, long-term competitive advantage. Taught in four, eight-hour segments, Crooke taps his network of prestigious executives to recruit speakers to share their expertise and illustrate core concepts.
More in the Pipeline
Finally, the Office of Undergraduate Programs, in coordination with faculty and our centers for excellence, is exploring the creation of a student-led and managed consulting entity entitled the Oregon Business Consulting Group. This consulting group would operate under the guidance of a professional director and would provide an additional platform for experiential learning and industry engagement. We’ll have more to report on that soon.
We thank all those who have contributed, participated, and helped further advance our relationships to industry experts and employers. Staff and faculty have worked diligently to codify our existing practices ensuring students, alumni, and friends of the college make lasting, meaningful connections.
Cornelis A “Kees” de Kluyver
Dean and James and Shirley Rippey Distinguished Professor