Amy Wisner, business communication professor, started the Wisdom Project one year ago in her Business Communication course. For the project, each student is assigned to an alum or alumna to whom they have to personally reach out and interview.
The Eli Broad College of Business program is an “effort to give students an action-based learning experience designed to encourage interaction and communication with alumni,” said Wisner, who teaches in the Department of Marketing.
After the interview, the students write a blog post about the experience and what they learned. The blog post is shared with the alum they interviewed, so the students have a meaningful audience for their piece.
“I can talk to students about communication, but the only way for them to improve those skills is to actually communicate. What better way to practice than with someone who has real-world experience? For alumni, this project gives them a chance to reconnect with MSU and ultimately help students learn valuable soft skills,” Wisner said.
The project started off as a chance for students to get some real-world knowledge from MSU alumni, and Wisner was pleasantly surprised by the response she received from alums.
“The response to this project has been overwhelmingly positive. Alumni are happy to be a part of it, and students are happy they did it,” she said.
“I am often asked if this is a mentorship program. The answer right now, is no. The project is intended to offer students a one-time interaction with a seasoned business professional,” Wisner said, although some students gain formal mentorships as a result of this project, or have received internships or jobs with companies based on the connection they’ve made.
The Wisdom Project reaches approximately 1,300 students a year through Wisner’s course, which is taught in the fall and spring semesters.
“As a Spartan alumna, I am not surprised that our alumni want to give back to the program. The Wisdom Project came about because of my interactions with alumni who expressed interest in helping students,” Wisner said. “It’s amazing what happens when you connect people.”
For alums interested in participating in this project or other ways to engage the Broad College, contact the alumni office at firstname.lastname@example.org.