After moving online and nearly tripling the number of enrolled students in 2020, the Rawls Summer Business Institute hopes 2021 will continue to see high enrollment.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Rawls Summer Business Institute in the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business was moved to a completely online modality for 2020. However, enrollment reached an all-time high with 34 students, nearly tripling the average enrollment in previous years.
Madison Proctor, program director for undergraduate recruitment, sees the online modality of last year's Rawls Summer Business Institute as a big reason for the record enrollment.
"Students had a great deal of flexibility," said Proctor. "They could take other summer courses on campus without [the summer institute] conflicting, or they could be home and still enroll. The same benefits from the in-person program still applied."
The Rawls Summer Business Institute offers non-business majors the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage as they prepare to head into the workforce. The intensive 12-hour immersion certificate program provides students with an understanding of essential business principles.
"I think the best way to think about the institute is that it's a summer boot camp," said Feruzan Irani Williams, director of the Rawls Summer Business Institute and associate professor of practice in management. "It's an intense summer semester where you go through all the various disciplines of business."
Along with taking courses in business fundamentals like accounting, finance and management, students will also complete an array of career development activities and workshops.
"There are workshops on how to prepare a resume, how to interview, and how to engage in professional conversations," said Alejandra Marin, instructor in marketing and supply chain management. "Receiving those workshops from the business school complements well with economics, mass communications, engineering and biology. It complements very well with any profession."
Marin also highlighted the business simulation course of the institute. During the simulation, student groups manage an array of key business functions, including: HR, accounting, marketing, production, finance and management.
"The objective of the class is to provide hands-on experience with the integration of different business functions," said Marin. "This can be a challenging experience, but it's highly rewarding once it is over."
Upon completing the Rawls Summer Business Institute, students will earn a business certificate on their transcript and be just two courses away from earning a business minor.
Before graduating in December 2020, Jayson Smith participated in the Rawls Summer Business Institute in the hopes of adding a business certificate to his eventual mechanical engineering degree. Upon completing the institute, Smith also went on to earn his business minor.
"I would love to work in the aerospace industry as either a design or a sales engineer," said Smith.
Smith saw the Rawls Summer Business Institute as a means to taking his first steps toward his career.
"Sales engineers and upper management personnel, at times, need an MBA or some type of business degree to climb the proverbial ladder. With this certificate and minor, I hope to rise in rank much quicker than others."
Irani Williams also sees the institute's ability to help students stand out in a competitive environment.
"It doesn't matter which field you're in," said Irani Williams. "In today's highly competitive market, having a basic understanding of business will be highly beneficial. You cannot beat the value-add of this program in terms of both future career enhancement and the ease of transitioning the certificate into a minor!"
The 2021 Rawls Summer Business Institute will be held from June 7 – August 6 and will be fully online, much like the 2020 session. Students are encouraged to apply for the 2021 Rawls Summer Business Institute as early as possible to secure their spot and to help plan their summer schedules.