There is no single pathway to the student experience at the Broad College; there are countless opportunities along the banks of the Red Cedar.
Beyond the classroom, students can lead campus organizations, fine-tune their professional communication and networking skills, collaborate and compete in case studies, venture around the world through education abroad and so much more.
Now, Broad 360 — a newly launched digital platform for undergrads — will serve as the hub for students to engage with these experiences in one place and have fun along the way.
“This is an opportunity for us to be intentional about crafting a truly holistic Broad student experience (hence Broad 360),” Ken Horne, inaugural director of undergraduate student engagement, said. “The platform houses opportunities for Broad students ranging from business preference to students who are admitted to their major.”
Horne stepped into this leadership role last month and is eager to hit the ground running with this initiative. The creation of his role, along with the opening of a new Student Engagement Center in the Business College Complex, signify the college’s stronger focus on engagement.
On the platform, activities are gamified and sorted into various electronic badges that students can earn by attending general events, such as the college’s Fall Welcome, or more specific events, such as career networking opportunities. These events and badges are sponsored by various Broad College departments, academic units and student organizations and align with the college’s strategic initiatives to deepen our impact.
“Events fall into various competencies, which include business professional identity; communication skills; diversity, equity and inclusion; ethical awareness; global mindset; problem solving and analytical thinking; quantitative capability; teamwork; technology and data analytics; and time and project management skills,” Horne said.
“In most cases, we are not asking students to do things they are not already doing,” he continued. “In many cases, the only thing students will have to do is scan a QR code to verify attendance. There is a leaderboard (for those competitive students), which will update based on points accumulated by participating in events in a given period (weekly, monthly and each semester). Students have the opportunity to win various giveaway items, including Broad-branded swag and Amazon gift cards.”
In Horne’s vision, students are co-creators to ensure the experiences on the platform are based on real input and feedback from Broad Spartans.
“We are excited to incorporate student perspectives, which are essential in creating intentional engagement opportunities for students,” he said. “We want to make sure there is space for every student so that they feel like they belong and know that these experiences are made for them.
“Having the student data will show us what is working — where are we making the right calls? What opportunities are students excited about? I like to think it will show us things we are doing that do not appeal to students. Additionally, this app will give us a better sense of what our students are doing in general.”
Cole Van Amburg, business-admitted junior, who used the platform during its pilot phase last year, shared that Broad 360 “provided clear, concise techniques to better prepare my job/internship search. The resume writing, professional help and career fairs taught me valuable information key to me landing a summer internship while also improving my self-presentation.”
Broad 360 has already garnered recognition for building a strong foundation quickly. Suitable, the college’s partner company for the platform, presented the Broad College with an Outstanding New Program award at its Pathways to Student Development conference in July.
“I’m very excited about the success we have had with Broad 360 to date and the manner in which this platform can enhance our community going forward,” Cheri Speier-Pero, associate dean for undergraduate programs and Ernst & Young Professor in Accounting and Information Systems, said.
“Broad 360 provides students visibility not just on all the meaningful ways in which they can engage in co-curricular activities but also transparency around what their peers are doing with respect to these activities,” she continued. “It creates an environment where students can ‘see’ (through the Broad 360 leaderboard, etc.) how involved their peers are and the different activities where they too can engage.”
Looking ahead, Broad 360 will also allow alumni and corporate partners to get involved and have a direct connection with students in a way that’s totally customizable.
“Alumni and corporate sponsors can get involved in a number of ways,” Horne said. “They can work with departments, academic units or student orgs to sponsor an event for badge completion. They can host exclusive events for top-earning students (e.g., perhaps a meet and greet with recruiters during recruitment season).
“This allows students to develop skills and competencies that align with what [companies] are looking for in interns and full-time employees.”
With Broad 360, the Spartan experience becomes richer, and students can find exactly what they need to make the most of their time at MSU.