Learning on the job

Everton McLean
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

MBA students get real business experience with new course

Students in the Master of Business Administration program at Memorial are about to get a taste of what it will be like once they throw off the graduation gowns and caps and get into the workforce.

A new course is allowing students to act as consultants for local companies in an effort to show them the practical applications of things they learn in school.

Jordan Wright, program manager at the Gardiner Centre at MUN, was one of the MBA students who took part in the first offering of the new management consulting program at the university. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Students in the Master of Business Administration program at Memorial are about to get a taste of what it will be like once they throw off the graduation gowns and caps and get into the workforce.

A new course is allowing students to act as consultants for local companies in an effort to show them the practical applications of things they learn in school.

Marketing professor Jim Barnes said the first run of the course - titled management consulting - took place in fall 2007. The second offering is this winter.

"I had always felt there was an opportunity in the MBA program to offer something like this that would give students an opportunity to work hand-in-glove with local businesses," he said.

He said the course gave the students who took part the opportunity to use the skills they learned in the classroom in an actual business setting, rather than simply applied to case studies.

Barnes said about a third of the students in the MBA program are going to school full-time, meaning that, unlike their peers, they have little time to gain work experience.

"This was intended primarily to give students going full-time that opportunity," he said.

Jordan Wright was a student during the first offering of the consultancy program and has since been hired as program manager at the Gardiner Centre, the business community outreach unit associated with Memorial's Faculty of Business. The centre is taking part in the winter offering of the course, helping support students with their work.

Wright said that for him, the course showed how the business world outside the classroom is different, yet linked to what he learned inside.

"I did a bachelor of arts in French and economics. I came right out of high school, did my bachelor's degree, and then started my graduate degree," he said. "Not having a lot of work experience to draw upon, I really found it beneficial participating in this project because it allowed me to get some hands-on experience working with business, working with managers and seeing some of the decisions and challenges that confronted them. It really opened my eyes to how competitive an environment businesses operate in.

"Basically, it really showed me how fine tuning your delivery and operations from a customer perspective could really affect the bottom line."

Rex LeDrew's company, Domestic Moving and Storage, was one of three local businesses to take part in the project the first time it was offered. The vice-president said the company learned as much as the students did.

He said the students studied the business from the ground up and worked on a weekly basis, going out on jobs and estimates and observing the whole system.

"Every week we'd go to the boardroom and go through what they'd seen during the week," he said.

"At the end of the day they prepared a report about the things they should change or the things they thought would work well for us and it was all a very professionally done experience."

LeDrew said the moving company is his family history, and he was surprised at how much the students were able to offer.

"We've been in this business for 100 years, the LeDrew family. My grandfather and his brother were in the moving business with horses back on Water Street, so we had our own preconceived ideas about what we should do for customers. Of course, we never sat down and thought much about it," he said.

"They got us to really dig in and explore our business and it was just great."

He said the company has implemented most of the recommendations from the students. In particular, he said the suggestion to increase the company's web marketing has paid off.

"Boy, have we ever found it important," he said.

emclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: MBA, Business Administration, Gardiner Centre

Geographic location: Water Street

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments