Business Resource Center will better serve students, increase retention

April 18, 2014

Dr. Kristie Ogilvie, dean of the School of Business, left, and Jessica Buchholz, director of student services and marketing for the School of Business, are surrounded by Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and business faculty and staff as they cut the ribbon opening the Business Resource Center at Emporia State Univerity on Thursday.

In an effort to build student retention and foster community engagement, the School of Business at Emporia State University has opened the Business Resource Center. To celebrate this success, the school held a ribbon cutting with the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, April 17.

The Business Resource Center located in Cremer Hall was developed based on feedback received from business students, faculty and staff. Within the center, students can receive information about School of Business events, scholarship opportunities, student organizations, tutoring services, degree options, university happenings and community activities.

Jessica Buchholz, director of student services and marketing for the School of Business, has been involved with the development and implementation of the BRC.

 “The concept of the BRC is to provide our students with services that will add value to their college experience,” Buchholz said.

Among other programs, the BRC features career services tailored specifically for School of Business students.

 “Internship and career placement for students is a major emphasis for our school,” said Dr. Kristie Ogilvie, dean of the School of Business. “This effort is led with a partnership of a faculty -appointed director of career and internship services and supported by the school’s career and internship coordinator, all made possible by private gifts.”

Graduate and Career Services Coordinator, Alisha Lyon, focuses on building relationships with employers, both locally and regionally, to connect business students with career and internship opportunities.

“Graduating from college with real world and relevant experience puts students ahead of others when applying for jobs,” said Lyon. “My position was created in the School of Business to complement the wonderful services already offered at the university level.”

Dr. Sharath Sasidharan, associate professor of information systems and director of career and internship services for the School of Business is eager to start building relationships with employers and placing students into positions.

“We are strengthening our relationship with our existing employer base to increase job and internship opportunities and, even more importantly, reaching out to new employers,” Sasidharan said. “Focusing on internships is particularly important as employers view them as an extended job interview, during which they observe and evaluate the suitability of the student as a future full-time hire. In conjunction with the student services provided by the BRC, we are here to ensure the professional success of our student body at the School of Business."

The BRC also serves as a “home base” for several clubs and organization for business students and is the source for many student-focused activities. Jennifer Cheray, student services coordinator in the BRC, works with students on a variety of projects and plans different events throughout the semester for students.

Cheray explained, “We want to help our students feel more connected to the school, and enjoy their time here. Our student organizations are great at merging the academic and social aspects of the college experience. This semester we have been working with them to sponsor ‘Wacky Wednesdays,’ providing all students various opportunities to take a break from studying, play games and learn more about the organizations and the School of Business.”

This month, Cheray also worked to plan the school’s first annual BizFest event.

“BizFest is an opportunity for the School of Business to better communicate with students.” she said. “Faculty, staff and administrators were able to talk about the new initiatives in the school, including the BRC. We had free food, live entertainment from Ten2One, and we administered a student satisfaction survey. We will use the student feedback to make improvements in the future.”

In addition to services offered, the BRC is an area for students and faculty to use

Dr. Joyce Zhou, assistant professor of marketing and advisor to the Marketing Club, explained, “I have used the BRC on several occasions, when students in my class need to make up exams. The staff in the BRC is very helpful and professional.  They will make sure everything is done properly.  Our ESU Marketing Club has used the BRC for regular meetings, and it seems that the students enjoyed the facility very much.”

Anna Zimmerman, a sophomore business administration major and BRC student worker, explained some of the student benefits.

“The BRC gives students the opportunity to come and find a variety of information in one place,” she said. “It has given me an excellent opportunity to hear my classmates' questions and concerns, and to have a single place to direct them for answers. The BRC is the key to making the School of Business more efficient and more effective at helping students, and I am glad to be a part of it.”

At the ribbon cutting on Thursday, various campus and community members gathered to celebrate the initial success and opening of the Business Resource Center. Jeanine McKenna, president and CEO of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce, was one of those in attendance.

“We are excited to celebrate the opening of the Business Resource Center with the School of Business at Emporia State,” said McKenna. “The Business Resource Center will be a great addition to the School of Business and is a win-win helping the students now and our future workforce. Congratulations to everyone who helped make this center happen.”

Added Dr. David P. Cordle, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Emporia State University, “This new Business Resource Center has one purpose, and that is to foster student success. We are confident that our School of Business students will benefit from the center’s services as they pursue their Emporia State studies and prepare for good lives and careers after graduation.”

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