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Apr 15, 2014

Experiential Learning Tour Expands to Include Trips to DC and Boston

Experiential Learning Tour DCThis year, the CoB Experiential Learning Tour has expanded to include student trips to Washington, D.C. and Boston in addition to New York City.

In previous years, the experiential learning tour was conducted in New York City alone and consisted only of students looking to enter the finance industry. Now, the program has expanded to include a broader set of majors exposed to networking and learning opportunities in not only New York City, but also in DC and Boston.

The purpose of the experiential learning tours are to help students solidify future career paths by providing students with the opportunity to learn first-hand from successful businesspeople within their field of interest.

To participate in one of the experiential learning tours, students were asked to apply for a specific trip—DC, Boston, or NYC. The application is a two-part process. First, students must submit a letter to the Dean explaining why they should be selected to participate in the tour. From there, students were asked to submit a resume and the names of two faculty members to serve as references.

And this year, the CoB has presented a new set of opportunities not previously offered—not only were the DC and Boston trips added to the tour, but freshmen students are also now able to participate in the tour. In opening up the program to freshmen, the College of Business is expanding the number of experiential, hands-on opportunities students can experience during their time at JMU.

Associate Dean Joyce Guthrie, faculty advisor for this trip, says “This tour is the first step of a journey. It helps students develop professional skills and define their career interests. We want our students to be able to make informed decisions about their future career goals—the experiential learning tour helps them do that.”

Washington, DC Experiential Learning Tour

Held March 9 through March 12, the DC Experiential Learning Tour featured 27 student participants representing all of the majors in the College of Business. The focus of the DC trip is much broader than Boston and NYC, which are both trips that focus on the finance industry. For the DC tour, students were split into separate tracks based on future career goals. These tracks included:

Track 1: Business Consulting, Investing, Economics, Corporate Finance, Accounting and Real Estate

Track 2: Marketing and Public Relations

Track 3: Computer Science, IT consulting, and Technology Development

Track 4: Small Business, Start-ups, Entrepreneurship, and Venture Capital.

While in DC, the group attended an alumni networking reception as well as corporate site visits to Marriot, IBM, and Deloitte. Students were then divided into their tracks and attended tours of companies within their particular field of interest. Lunch and dinner events offered additional opportunities for students to network with business professionals and learn more about their respective industries.  As a final segment of the trip, students were able to shadow industry professionals in order to spend a concentrated amount of time on understanding the day-to-day operations of a certain position.

Thanks to efforts by EAC member Maribeth Herod, Bank of America hosted a Career Dinner for students to enjoy a meal and conversation alongside managers and executives from companies in a variety of industries. 

About the Bank of America Career Dinner, junior Accounting student Michael Higgins says, “The Bank of America Career Dinner was one of my favorite aspects of the trip. I ended up sitting next to JMU alum Tim Hughes. We had a great conversation concerning my future career path and he invited me to have breakfast with him later that week. I was blown away that Tim, who has an unbelievably busy schedule, was willing to take a couple hours out of his day to talk with a student he had just met. We have kept in touch since the dinner through email—I feel so fortunate to have gained such an insightful mentor because Tim has really helped me figure out what I want to get out of my career.”

The College of Business appreciates the support from everyone who helped to make this trip possible. Thanks go out to JMU alums Jeff Mullen (’09), Justin Quaglia (’11), and Dan Dziuba (’13) for helping to coordinate the experiential events in DC. The CoB also thanks current EAC members Maribeth Herod and Courtney Bromley as well as former EAC member Mike Battle for their support of this trip.

Boston Experiential Learning Tour

Held April 9 through April 11, the Boston Experiential Learning Tour featured 11 student participants, including three freshmen. Unlike the DC trip, the Boston trip focused exclusively on the finance industry, offering students opportunities to connect with finance professionals within the field of investment management and asset management.

The Boston trip was added as an Experiential Learning Tour to give students the opportunity to experience what Boston has to offer and to give companies in Boston the opportunity to experience what students from JMU’s CoB have to offer.

Like DC, the Boston trip featured an alumni reception and various lunch and dinner opportunities for students to connect with finance business professionals. The group also attended corporate visits to companies such as Goldman Sachs, Fidelity Investments, and Wellington to gain an insider’s perspective on working in the finance industry. In addition to these events, students were also offered the unique opportunity to participate in a Negotiations course taught at Harvard Business School.

President of Equity & High Field, Fidelity Investments and EAC member Brian Hogan handled the coordination of corporate site visits—the College of Business thanks him for his dedication and support.

New York City Experiential Learning Tour

The New York City Experiential Learning Tour is in its fifth consecutive year and will be held May 11 through May 16. Like the Boston trip, the NYC trip focuses on providing students studying in areas of finance the chance to experience this industry first-hand both during corporate site visits as well as through the networking opportunities offered while on the trip. The itinerary for this trip also includes a visit to the Federal Research Bank as well as shadowing opportunities.

Looking forward, the College of Business is confident that this year’s NYC Experiential Learning Tour will be just as successful as it has been for the past five years.  Justin Quaglia, a JMU alum who helped coordinate both the DC and the NYC trips explains, "The benefits of expanding our experiential learning initiatives can be felt by all stakeholders. Students get more opportunities to learn about careers and professional skills in the real world, adding a new dimension to the college learning environment. And the firms we meet are given the opportunity to meet with some of the best talent JMU has to offer, and as evidenced by our NYC program, these firms end up hiring our students. Currently, two-thirds of the firms we interact with have gone on to hire JMU students and all of our student participants have graduated JMU with a full time job offer in hand."

A second round of thanks go out to Quaglia for coordinating the NYC trip.  We are grateful for the support.

As a hallmark of the College of Business, experiential trips are essential to our student’s growth and development. We congratulate the students who were accepted to participate in these tours.

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