Tuesday, December 18, 2012

School prepares students for long-term success

In August, freshmen filled the Summerfield hallways at the University of Kansas for the first time, with efforts of the Business School Experience (BSE), a first-year program designed to prepare students for success in the classroom, the workforce and the professional world.

The BSE was designed by Jason O’Connor, assistant dean of academic programs and director of Student Academic Services, alongside Alicia Green and Shu Tosaka, academic advisors at the School of Business. The program focuses on incoming, high potential freshmen interested in pursuing a business major.

“Students are often looking to jumpstart their majors within the first year,” Green said. “Many other colleges offer that possibility and we see this addition to be an improvement for the students wanting to pursue a business degree, as well as the school itself.”

The BSE is a course offered to students as an introduction to the business school and KU. Each student admitted as a freshman is required to enroll in one business school introductory course for four semesters before enrolling in major-specific courses their junior year. 

“It shows them what it means to be a Jayhawk, and more specifically what it means to be a business school student,” Tosaka said. “It ties students together and they are bound with tradition.”

To guide the freshmen during their first year, each student is assigned a peer mentor. Throughout the semester, the students are required to meet with their mentor at least two times. In addition, each student is required to attend four School of Business events each semester.

“Quite honestly, I would have benefited tremendously from exposure to the School of Business during my freshman and sophomore years,” said Joe Viviano, senior at the School of Business and BSE peer mentor.  “Had I participated in more events during my first two years, I believe I would have emerged from my introverted shell earlier.”

Viviano and the other 10 mentors want to provide as much insight, counseling and advice as possible.
“Our hope is that the BSE students will parlay our mentoring and advice into personal and professional success,” Viviano said.

Green has received feedback from the mentors, who wish they would have been offered the same resources their first two years of college. This program allows students to network early and to explore all the possibilities in business. Green and Tosaka hope that this will benefit the students to make more specific schooling decisions for long-term success.

“Our goal with this program is to help the students become well-rounded individuals, personally and professionally,” Tosaka said.