Hands On – Photo Essay
Immersion Week offers students real-world experienceby Seth Robertson | Features, Spring 2012 | One Comment | Print | Email
Experiential learning has long been a point of pride for Owen. Case competitions, extracurricular club activities and in-class simulations are just a few of the opportunities afforded students throughout the academic year. Each fall, though, students can go a step further by signing up for an intensive hands-on experience in one of several disciplines. Immersion Week, as it’s known, gives students a competitive edge by exposing them to real-world situations outside a traditional classroom setting. This past October’s Immersion Week encompassed health care, finance, marketing and global education, all of which are highlighted in the photo essay that follows.
Health Care Immersion
“The Health Care Immersion is a valuable start to the Vanderbilt Health Care MBA program. It leverages our unique position in Nashville as the nation’s hub of health care delivery. During the week, students gain many different perspectives on the challenges facing the health care delivery system and leave with a better context for the business education that follows.”
—Larry Van Horn
Larry Van Horn, Associate Professor of Management and Executive Director of Health Affairs, and Scarlett Gilfus, Program Coordinator for Health Care, organized this weeklong course for students pursuing Health Care MBAs. The course examined the real world of U.S. health care delivery through the perspectives of physicians, nurses, patients, scientists and administrators. On day one, students changed into scrubs and headed into the operating rooms at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where they stood next to doctors and nurses and watched surgeries being performed. Other activities included visits to the LifeFlight Operations Center, which manages Vanderbilt’s critical-care helicopter service, and the Mass Spectrometry Research Center, which provides laboratory support for researchers across the university.
“It was a one-of-a-kind experience that prepared us for the rest of our curriculum at Vanderbilt,” says Garrick Berberich, an MBA candidate for 2013. “We got to see all aspects of the health care industry and discuss the front-line interactions between providers and patients.”
Wall Street Week
“Wall Street Week is the primary mechanism for introducing careers in financial services to first-year MBA students. When they meet alumni and other firm representatives, it brings a sense of reality to career paths they may have only read about. Students come back much better educated about their options and what it takes to get to Wall Street from Owen.”
The Career Management Center’s Executive Director Read McNamara, MA’76, and Senior Associate Director Emily Anderson helped coordinate this weeklong trip to New York for 34 first-year MBA students exploring careers in finance. The group met with representatives of 11 different financial services firms: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Citi Commercial Banking, Citi Investment Banking, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Guggenheim Partners, JPMorgan Chase, Paulson & Co., Petrus Partners and UBS. Representatives of the firms gave presentations about the economy and discussed MBA career paths within their organizations. Students gained additional insight into Wall Street from alumni who joined Dean Jim Bradford for the annual Wall Street Week Alumni Reception at the Union League Club.
“Wall Street Week was very important for my internship search,” says Neena Sinha, an MBA candidate for 2013. “Not only did I learn more about the banking industry, I gained a valuable network that will help support my career in the future.”
“The key to a good immersion experience from a pedagogical perspective is to foster interaction between business leaders, such as our presenters from Brown-Forman, Papa John’s, GE and Mars Petcare, with bright students who work on problems that matter—like understanding the ROI behind social media marketing activities.”
Associate Professor of Marketing Steve Hoeffler and Jack Kennard, Principal at White Oaks Brands, a Louisville, Ky.-based brand strategy firm, organized this three-day event for marketing students. Executives from spirits and wine company Brown-Forman, pizza restaurant chain Papa John’s and appliance manufacturer GE gave talks on issues such as social marketing and consumer engagement. The highlight of the experience was a team case assignment for pet food manufacturer and veterinary care company Mars Petcare.
“It was exciting when our team was voted by Mars Petcare as having the winning strategy,” says Ashley Welnhofer, 2013 MBA candidate and President of the Vanderbilt Marketing Association. “We were invited to research and assemble a social media ambassador program for the company as an independent study during mod 2. Working hand-in-hand with their brand management team definitely enhanced my education.”
Global Business Association Trip to Turkey
“There were many eye-opening experiences for our group. One of my favorites was learning firsthand about socially conscious initiatives at Turkcell and seeing how those initiatives reinforce the company’s mission as well as its bottom line. Of course, the generosity of the Turkish people and Vanderbilt alumni who helped plan our visit also made lasting impressions on us all.”
The Global Business Association, a student club focused on international business, helped plan this weeklong trip to Istanbul to learn about the Turkish economy. Accompanying the 18 students on the trip were David Parsley, the E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Economics and Finance, and Assistant Professor of Operations Mumin Kurtulus, a native of Turkey. Among the highlights were tours of the Istanbul Stock Exchange; Turkcell, the leading mobile communications company in Turkey; and MyNet, the largest Internet company in the country. The group also had time for a few cultural stops, including a cruise around the Bosporus and visits to architectural landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.
“I didn’t know much about Turkey before going there (except that I liked Turkish coffee),” says Aaron Fung, an MBA candidate for 2012. “The trip gave me a great deal of insight into Turkish thinking. It’s partly European, Asian and Middle Eastern—just like its geographic location.”
photo credit: shayes17, istockphoto; Joe Howell