School of Business Prepares Students for Success

Students at Rutgers University–Camden wear many hats throughout the course of their undergraduate experience. They’re researchers, athletes, members of campus clubs and organizations, interns, leaders in the community, and mentors to their peers.

All of these activities foster personal growth and allow students to become well-rounded individuals, but it’s not always easy to balance each responsibility, or even discover which activity is the best fit for each student.

The Student Experience Center (pictured) is a valuable resource for business majors.

The Student Experience Center (pictured) is a valuable resource for business majors.

The Student Experience Center at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden is helping students find their voice and navigate their path through college.

“The School of Business saw an opportunity to fill in the gaps and assist undergraduate students facilitate a positive experience during their time here,” says Nathan Levinson, director of the Student Experience Center. “We’re here to encourage them to connect to other university departments and organizations, to faculty for research projects, and to seek internships and job opportunities.”

Part of the mission of the Student Experience Center provides mentorship to undergraduate students and works to empower them to become involved in campus and community activities, student groups, and to seek academic support.

“We want to be able to help students draw the line from where they are to where they want to be,” says Snehamay Banerjee, associate dean of undergraduate programs and an associate professor of management at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden. “The concept of preparing for life beyond college starts for some students during their senior year, but it’s important that all students, including transfer students, start thinking about that much earlier.”

Naila Syed, a junior accounting major from Moorestown, has already used the center to her benefit.

“It’s very important to get involved in numerous activities when you are student,” she says. “Having good grades isn’t the only thing that distinguishes you from others when an employer is looking through resumes. I think it is very important to get as involved as you can during your college career because this shows employers that you are able to manage several things at once, and also shows that you have diverse interests.”

Last year, a record 112 business majors held internships in various industries and the number is growing, according to Jaclyn Bradley-McFarlane, an internship coordinator for the Rutgers School of Business–Camden. Bradley-McFarlane says she expects that number to grow even more by the end of the 2014-15 academic year as more students utilize the Student Experience Center to foster their opportunities to find and attain internships.”

“We work in conjunction with the Rutgers–Camden Career Center and speak to students about building relationships and gaining valuable skills through internships that they may not necessarily get in a classroom,” Bradley-McFarlane says.

It’s already paid dividends for Syed, who is interning for the Mercadien Group, an accounting firm, during the spring 2015 semester.

“The Student Experience Center helped me build my resume and also taught me very valuable interview skills,” Syed says. “After working with the center, I was able to land several internship offers, and I believe it is because of all the help I was given from the center.”

Levinson says one of the goals of the Student Experience Center is to show students the importance of developing skills that will help succeed outside of school and also help to differentiate themselves from others in their search for job opportunities, personal achievement, and professional advancement.

“We want to help them get involved and learn to network, which can develop them into dynamic business leaders,” he says. “We want to help them get the most out of their time at Rutgers, for it will serve them well into the future.”

While internship and job opportunities are an important aspect of the center’s mission, so is getting students involved in campus organizations, civic engagement, and learning abroad.

“A lot of the students have great ideas and want to get involved when they first arrive to Rutgers, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed,” says Christine Ebner, a Student Experience Center officer. “It’s our job to help them carve out their niche and be part of these experiences.”

Furthermore, Ebner says School of Business alumni serve on the center’s advisory board and often share their experiences with students to help prepare them for what awaits them after graduation.

Swarupi Patel, a senior accounting major from Mount Laurel, says sometimes the most important lessons come outside of the classroom and during campus or community experiences.

“Being well rounded increases your value and worth,” Patel says. “It certainly increases your personal and professional growth and teaches things like time management and being innovative while sharpening our knowledge. We also gain confidence and value ourselves.”

Alok Baveja, a professor of management at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden, says the center has in a short time carved out a place as an important resource for students.

“As a state public university, we have a responsibility to educate students from a wide variety of backgrounds and who have different levels of interest, preparedness, and needs,” Baveja says. “As an instructor, I do my best to give individualized attention in the classroom, keeping in mind the students’ diverse needs. Given the limited time, however, often that needs to be supplemented, especially outside the classroom setting. The Student Experience Center does exactly that — provides individualized attention that complements classroom support. This enhances student confidence and success, a valuable contribution in and of itself.”

As the Student Experience Center continues to grow and more students utilize it, Levinson hopes to add financial literacy programs, alumni mentorship programs, and other opportunities to combine engagement and education.

“The students have already responded to the center’s efforts and we are excited about the possibilities,” Levinson says. “It’s all about lending support to help students develop their educational, professional, and personal goals.”

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