Student Advancement Center Aims to Prepare Students for Professional Success

This article was originally featured in the March 2016 issue of SBNews. Since then, much progress has been made in the planning and development of the Student Advancement Center. In fact, an official search is currently underway for the Center's director. Learn more about the position here.

In a recent study, employers told The Chronicle of Higher Education that two-thirds of new college graduates seeking a job had weak interviewing skills. A majority said internship experience was critically important. And all agreed that demonstrated ability to work with teams is a key to success.

The fact is, today’s companies want to hire top talent whose skills are sharp and who can help their employers succeed in their own industries. Undergraduate preparation is necessary in meeting this need.

That’s why the School of Business is increasing career development opportunities for business majors and other professionally-minded students at the College.

Recognizing the need to help position students for successful careers, the School of Business launched the Student Advancement Center (SAC) in the fall of 2015. Building upon the foundation laid by the existing Student Success Center, which was established in 2005, an advisory board comprised of faculty representatives from each department, alumni and Board of Governors members is currently working with SAC staff to develop the vision, goals and plan for sustainability for the SAC.

The result will be stronger outcomes for graduating seniors as well as better data on where they go upon graduation, whether it’s a fulltime job, graduate school, the military, Peace Corps, or a new business start up. 

Additionally, through collaboration with the College, the SAC will serve as a one-stop-shop for students that offers more resources dedicated to professional readiness.  

Through the BOUNDLESS Campaign, donors – led by several members of the Board of Governors – have shown their support of this effort by investing money and service leadership to help the Student Success Center evolve into a resource that bridges academics and career and enhances student outcomes.

“The School of Business’ emphasis on preparing ‘ready-to-work’ graduates helps poise its students for success. But this cannot be done unless they are given career-focused tools, resources and opportunities,” says Steve Swanson ‘89, chairman of the BOUNDLESS Campaign and former CEO of Automated Trading Desk. “Seeing this need, I chose to invest in the future of these students, which in turn supports industries that look for top talent from undergraduate universities.”

To date, $800,000 in gifts and commitments has been received toward the SAC’s $1 million fundraising goal.  This early support has already fueled relationships with top companies such as Target, Amazon, IBM, ScanSource, BMW, Red Ventures, and Michelin. Current business students are already seeing the success with a growing number of students receiving internship and job offers.

Samantha Quigley '16, a double major in business administration and data science, is just one student who took advantage of the industry relationships cultivated by the SAC. Quigley interviewed with Red Ventures, the largest technology-enabled platform for growing sales and marketing businesses, serving the energy, software, home services, financial services, insurance and software industries. Red Ventures seeks to deepen its recruitment relationship with business-minded students and participates in on-campus recruitment events.  

Much work and internal partnering with faculty are underway alongside the current philanthropic momentum toward the realization of a sustainable resource for professionally-minded students at the College.  If you are interested in learning more about the SAC, please contact Colby Rankin, School of Business director of development.

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