Summer Business Immersion Experience Offers Opportunity

by Howard W. Hewitt

February 4, 2005

Learning about business from a textbook, from real businessmen, and in the actual workplace is a unique educational experience available to Wabash College students.

An intensive eight-week business course is gearing up for its second summer at the College. The summer Business Immersion Experience is funded by a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant and successful because of the contributions of several Wabash alumni.

"It’s a course that’s not a course," said Nancy Doemel, Senior Advancement Officer who helped set up the initial program. "It looks like a course in that it has a syllabus, homework, class requirements, attendance policies and faculty at the helm. But it doesn’t receive credit because it’s a summer experience and we don’t give credit for summer."

The program is held on campus with housing provided for the students. Students prepare a business plan to present to a panel of experts and spend two weeks in a local business completing a specific business-related project.

"While not for credit, this will be an important piece of students’ resume and work experience," Lucius Hamilton said. Hamilton is Wabash College’s Alumni Career Officer.

"I can not over stress the importance of our alumni in making this immersion work," Hamilton said. "We are only in the second year of this program and consequently have a lot of students left to impact."

Jon Gard participated in last summer’s first Business Immersion Experience.

"As Wabash teaches you to think critically, this program teaches you to approach and think about business situations and problems critically through a variety of case studies," the Wabash senior said. "Creating our own businesses through writing a business plan opened up my eyes to how complex the business world really is and what to consider when thinking about entrepreneurship."

And it’s a varied approach to business which gives the program its unique feel.

"It is team taught by an interesting combination of faculty, staff, alumni and townspeople who are running small businesses," Doemel said. "Students will learn all about how entrepreneurs think, how they finance new businesses, how to market ideas, the broad strokes of the legal responsibilities of a business owner, the accounting, and many other aspects of starting a business."

Students may apply until March 1. Even though there is no class credit, students do receive a $2,000 stipend for the eight weeks.

"The lack of credit is no problem as the program is paid; more importantly, the experienced gained was one of the unique and attractive things employers looked at when I was looking for a job after Wabash," Gard said.

"Essentially, this program is empowering; it makes you realize that owning your own company is challenging, but still very possible."

Upon graduation Gard will join Lehman Brothers, New York, as an investment banking analyst.

In photo: From left, Kaizad Daruwala '07, Tim Dodge '07, and Jefferson Crew '05 make their business presentation. On homepage: Town & Country owner Tom Harmon discusses his business with John Meara '07.

Hewitt is Wabash College's Director of New Media/Web Content Editor.


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