Multicultural Business Success Academy (MBSA) is a program designed for students who are a part of the Summer Business Institute (SBI) and extends the experience into the freshman year by providing additional resources and support toward students on their road to success.
MBSA offers a three-credit course called BUS 291. This hybrid course includes online and in-class participation. The course begins completely online the last week of July until the last week of August. Students are expected to devote two hours per week online during this introductory period. Beginning in the fall semester, the course meets for approximately two hours on Thursdays with approximately one hour of additional online activities. This hybrid class focuses not only on business skills but also on transitioning successfully to MSU. The class concludes at the end of October, allowing students to focus the rest of their efforts toward other classes. In addition, the MBSA will provide professional development seminars, tutoring for classes needed to gain admission into the Eli Broad College of Business, supplemental instruction, campus colleagues and professional mentors from corporate America.
In 2013, the average fall semester cumulative grade point average for students in MBSA was a 3.49, with 10 students earning a 4.0 cumulative grade point average during their first semester. Fifteen students earned internships with Fortune 500 companies and 31 students were invited to join the MSU Honors College. Over 50 percent of this cohort was admitted to the Broad College of Business by May 2014.
Cultural diversity is also a unique element to this class because students learn how to thrive in a multicultural environment. Activities include participating in research interviews, managing group dynamics, giving planned presentations and using technology to enhance business communication.
Professional development is a major aspect of BUS 291. Students learn how to behave in a professional setting. They experience the importance of communication skills, networking and selling themselves. Representatives from Procter & Gamble, Target, Ernst and Young, and the MSU Internal Auditors present to the class. Corporate representatives explain the importance of academics to the business world and talk about career and internship opportunities that their companies have to offer.
At first, many students are apprehensive about talking to recruiters; however, early in the semester, they develop their 30-second elevator pitch. Professionals from Procter & Gamble critique each student’s digital recording of their elevator speeches and provide professional feedback to the student. This makes the networking process a little easier. “When I first started talking to the recruiters, I was very nervous, but I knew I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Myya Jones, a past participant.
Although professional development is a key objective, BUS 291 is also designed to build leaders. Throughout the semester, students work in groups for various assignments, including the Target Case Competition. Target Corporation provides an in-class live case competition in which students compete in teams to review a case and come up with the best solution, utilizing a step-by-step process. “The time restrictions on the group activities help students learn and adapt to working in a fast-paced environment,” said Alexis Parker, past participant and teaching assistant. Students learn how to work with different perspectives and personalities to achieve a common goal. Target Corporation provided more than $2,000 in book scholarships for the students.
BUS 291 is a valuable course for freshmen business majors. The class exposes them to different companies and career opportunities. Students appreciate the family-like atmosphere of the course, and it helps to relieve some of the anxieties of transitioning into college. SBI and BUS 291 are an excellent foundation that motivates many students to become leaders and step outside of their comfort zones.