In Spring 2019, John Chambers College of Business and Economics AeSC (Academic engagement Success Center) program–a study center that assists students in a variety of business and communication subjects–held an event for freshman students enrolled in our College to better prepare them for their future careers. In order to do so, they had to first create an infographic that demonstrated their five-year plan.
Approximately 80 students attended.
Fast forward less than a year later, November 2019, and more than 500 freshmen walked through the door to meet with three mentors (made up of our faculty and staff members, as well as our student ambassadors) to discuss their dreams, their goals and where they see themselves after graduation.
Whether their dream was to get a master’s degree, start a business, get into law school or get a job, our students are thinking about their futures and are ready to take the necessary steps to succeed.
The Director of AeSC, Dr. Susan Lantz, believes that it’s important to connect freshman with mentors early on and to have important conversations about the steps their taking to meet their goals.
“New students really want to talk to faculty members in their chosen discipline and get some mentorship,” said AeSC Director and Introduction to Business Professor, Dr. Lantz. “Because we have nearly 600 freshmen, coordinating those sorts of conversations can become a bit onerous. In addition, students need to know how to take information and present it in such a way that it can be quickly digested by the reader. Learning how to produce a polished and professional looking infographic is a great exercise in learning how to express someone in a business environment.”
She said the “AeSC Me About My Five-Year Plan” event accomplishes two goals at once.
“When you combine the two–a life plan and an infographic–and have each student meet with three different mentors and discuss their future in a “speed-dating” environment, it accomplishes two goals at one time,” said Dr. Lantz.
The event was also well-received by those at the October Association for Business Communication National Conference when Dr. Lantz presented the strategy behind it.
Faculty and staff members raved about their experience meeting with students.
Students showed up prepared and were ready to answer the tough questions.
“It was fantastic to see so many students thinking seriously about their future careers, and being genuinely interested in discussing it with us and listening to advice,” said Graham Peace, associate dean for academic affairs and undergraduate programs at John Chambers College of Business and Economics. “We know these students will go on and do great things in their lives, and having the opportunity to help them meet their goals is why we are in this profession. It was a very rewarding and productive day.”
At the end of the event, students were surveyed on what they liked most about the event.
Many agreed that it was beneficial to sit down with these mentors and receive constructive criticism, and hear what they needed to change in order to stand out to employers and achieve their career goals.
Some of their favorite things included:
- Having one-on-one conversations with professors and discussing what steps can be achieved while still attending WVU
- Receiving constructive criticism on what needs to be done in order to meet goals
- Learning how to stand out to employers in job applications and interviews
- Making new connections with individuals who have worked and dealt with real-world experiences in certain fields
- Hearing how much the faculty and staff care about their futures