studentsJack Leach has just started at the Eli Broad College of Business as a graduate student in accounting this fall, after doing his undergraduate work at Saginaw Valley State University. But “I already feel like I’m a part of it,” he says.

“I’ve joined an organization, I’m on the e-board” of the group, the Institute of Management Accountants Student Chapter (IMASC), Leach said Tuesday. “I hope to start bleeding green a little bit more every day. I want to be involved. I want to help other students learn that there’s more to being an accountant than just looking at numbers. You’re getting to help somebody make a product and help contribute to an organization.”

studentsLeach is one of thousands of Broad Spartans who have joined or streamed back to the business college – where learning by doing beyond the classroom is emphasized – for the start of the fall semester in recent days, capped by the start of undergraduate classes on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Michigan State University is welcoming its largest and most diverse freshman class ever of more than 8,000 students.

Setting the stage to succeed

“The start of every new school year is like an awakening of our beings. It’s like being born again in some sense. There is a fresh start,” said Sanjay Gupta, Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean of the Broad College. “There is a fresh group of students that arrive on campus. They have not experienced anything like this before.”

students“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to reset in our minds everything that has gone on and not take it for granted, because we have this large number of people for whom this will be their very first day at the university, and we’ve got to make it fabulous,” Gupta said. “We’ve got to set the stage for them to succeed, and it begins right from day one.”

One of those freshmen is Julia Luttig, who hopes to major in supply chain management. “I just loved the feeling of the whole community, and I love the campus. It just felt like home,” she said, adding she hopes to have “new experiences, meet new people, and try new things.”

studentsIn addition to an influx of new students, returning scholars will see changes in the college itself, including:

Also, progress continues in building the new Business Pavilion, which will be home to immersive and collaborative learning spaces and student service areas when it opens next fall.

studentsChange will also come courtesy of the many students who will bring ideas from their summer internships with corporations great and small, all over the globe. Those students will bring back real-world insights that will help the college determine what approaches are best to empower tomorrow’s business and its people.

“We are going to have many of our students who have already been here who have gone through some exceptional experiences over the summer, and they are going to come back energized and excited, having learned from those experiences, and trying to put that in operation through their new coursework,” Gupta said. “We need to be able to learn from them as to what they experienced, and see if we cannot take it to the next stage.”

students“In some sense they are our eyes and ears on the ground,” Gupta said. “Even though we didn’t go out and do an internship, they did, and we can learn vicariously from them and their experiences as to how do we reevaluate, reset our own minds and our curriculum and our experiences.”

One of those scouts is Andrew Williamson, a senior hospitality business major who has four internships under his belt. “I’ve been looking forward to coming back all summer. I’m ready to get started again,” he said.

‘What legacy do you want to leave?’

The start of undergraduate classes capped a days-long start-up for the new school year. Faculty and MBA students returned to the Broad College the previous week, and on-campus students moved in over the weekend. Members of the Broad College Residential Business Community (RBC) and their parents were welcomed to East Lansing late last week.

students“We have a very rich history of student success in the Residential Business Community,” Amy Radford-Popp, RBC director, told RBC members at a kickoff event Friday, Aug. 24. “We look forward to helping you be able to figure out your own leadership legacy … what legacy do you want to leave when you graduate?”

“We’re going to be asking you that all year, to be thinking about that,” Radford-Popp said. “The choices you make, the decisions, the exercises, activities, experiences … we look forward to seeing you explore and participate in all of those things, and continue the RBC legacy.”