The Cameron School of Business recognized years ago that to provide an exceptional educational experience for its students, it would need to supplement the traditional approach to education that includes textbooks, Harvard Business Review articles, case studies and analysis, PowerPoint-assisted lectures and various in-class exercises with activities and experiences beyond the classroom.
In short, the Cameron School of Business saw the need for - and value in - bringing the outside into the classroom and getting its students into the outside world.
The Cameron School of Business has a rich tradition of bringing the outside in, as is evident in its practice of hosting guest speakers, something it has done in its regular classes but particularly during the annual Business Week, which is now in its fourth decade.
The tradition of having students get outside the classroom and off campus is an equally rich one. Each year its students study at other universities and take trips to visit local, regional, national and foreign businesses. The students analyze and frequently provide advice to businesses.
I asked Steve Harper, the Progress Energy/Betty Cameron Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, to provide a small sample of some of the experiences senior students pursuing the Entrepreneurship and Business Development option had in their fall semester.
Here are a few examples of how that program and its students are not bounded by walls:
- Each student is expected to “shadow” an entrepreneur or management team to gain insights into the challenges associated with emerging ventures.
- Some students participated in the Three-Day Startup Weekend, sponsored by UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
- Some played a key role in interfacing with entrepreneurs and videographers for the 10-by-10 program - part of Cucalorus film festival - that profiled ten entrepreneurs.
- Some of the students made presentations about their experiences to the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.
- Others completed internships at area businesses.
The best example of providing an education without walls is Entrepreneurship Week, open to all UNCW students, which was just held Nov. 7-11. Numerous speakers – including David Swain, Kristen Beckmeyer Spetrino, Rob Kehaya, Sean Ruttkay, Andrew Williams and Carmin Black - shared their experiences, insights and tips with the students.
Tatiana Birgisson, founder of MATI Energy Drink, was the keynote speaker. She was recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of “The Thirty Under Thirty” entrepreneurs in the United States.
Entrepreneurship Week also included the Innovation Concept Pitch Competition, which was sponsored by tekMountain at Castle Branch and Elite Innovations. Students from various majors on campus presented their concepts to three area entrepreneurs.
The space limitation keeps other experiences from being profiled here but I think you can get an idea about the Cameron School of Business’s commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience for all of its majors.
Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Ph.D., is the dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, named in June 2015. Burrus joined the UNCW faculty in 1998. Prior to his current position, Burrus was interim dean, associate dean of undergraduate studies and the chair of the department of economics and finance. Burrus earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Wake Forest University. The Cameron School of Business has approximately 60 full-time faculty members and 20 administrative and staff members. The AACSB-accredited business school currently enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students in three degree programs and 200 graduate students in four degree programs. The school also houses the prestigious Cameron Executive Network, a group of more than 200 retired and practicing executives that provide one-on-one mentoring for Cameron students. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit http://csb.uncw.edu/. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].