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Aug 15, 2015

Partnerships With The Business Community

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Burrus - Dean , Cameron School of Business - University of North Carolina Wilmington

The traditional “silos” of higher education are being replaced with partnerships. Universities are partnering with both the public and private sectors for the good of the local, national and global communities and economies.
The Cameron School of Business has thoroughly enjoyed partnerships with the business community in and around Wilmington. These collaborations have been win-win situations for both sides. The CSB benefits the local business community by providing current employees with professional learning opportunities; integrating new talent into the labor market through involvement in cooperative educational experiences such as learning alliances and internships; meeting the labor market needs of business and industry; promoting corporate social responsibility; and serving as the economic “anchor” for the community through the creation of jobs and by offering training and education for local residents.
In turn, the business community serves the Cameron School of Business by providing opportunities for students’ career exploration; supplying resources to enrich the curriculum; ensuring that we teach relevant skills required of industry; improving the education setting by upgrading facilities and equipment with generous donations; and assisting with curriculum development, new learning opportunities, and skill development.
One of CSB’s most innovative business collaborations is the Learning Alliance project. During the first year of the professional MBA program, students work with other professional MBA students, a mentor from the CSB faculty, and a counselor from the Small Business and Technology Development Center to form a consulting team for a regional small business. The goal of the alliance is to foster learning by both parties through the interactive exchange of ideas, data, and studies of the firm’s business processes and competitive environment.
Furthermore, the Cameron School of Business strongly encourages students to participate in internships, and works to provide the resources to help with the search process. Internships focus on learning and provide students the chance to apply the knowledge they have acquired through their coursework, while gaining marketable skills through hands-on experience. Internships can improve students’ chances of finding jobs after graduation. Most employers (87.2 percent) interviewed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers said that their new hires have internship experiences.
Additional student exposure to the business community is possible through the mentor relationships developed within the Cameron Executive Network. This network is composed of more than 200 active and retired executive volunteer mentors for our students. Recently, Cameron created a business career preparation course and a business essentials course. The courses emphasize ethics in decision making, business communication skills, social responsibility, team building and leadership skills, and are often taught by instructors from the Cameron Executive Network.
Through the Swain Center for Professional and Continuing Education, the Cameron School of Business can bring its talent into the corporate environment and assist with project management, health care management, and even offer onsite MBA programs for a company’s employees. This fall, the center will be offering a full array of courses, and the Swain Center team would be pleased to help you customize a program to meet your company’s specific needs.  The Swain Center also provides the business community with current economic information, and hosts annually an Outlook conference for economic activity and forecast.  The Economic Barometer is a quarterly snapshot of local, regional and national economic trends.
The business community has been generous to Cameron. From businesses opening their doors to our interns, to business leaders attending brainstorming sessions on curriculum and program development, we have seen incredible gestures of support from the local community. We value and treasure these partnerships. We reciprocate by providing the community with highly qualified, ready-to-work students.  These mutual partnerships will help drive our local economy to new heights. 
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 Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].

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