Industry partnership program helps students network with professionals, practice pitching themselves
Analytics, sales and supply chain are among the fastest-growing fields in business, and the University of Mississippi School of Business Administration is partnering with the business community to provide experiential learning needed to prepare students for these opportunities.
The Core for Business Analytics, Sales and Supply Chain – referred to as BASE – combines faculty knowledge with industry interests to provide career preparation that is relevant to market needs. The business school’s vision is to promote professional development through experiential learning activities at the interface of these three areas, said Barry Babin, the Morris Lewis Professor of Marketing, and chair of the Department of Marketing.
“Clearly, the BASE initiative is heading forward with a lot of momentum and it’s something very positive for the School of Business Administration and for the university,” Babin said. “The fact is, particularly in our region, business success today is driven by performing well by using business analytics to drive sales performance and sustain supply chains.
“BASE provides a mutually beneficial bridge that connects faculty with practice and practitioners with scholarship.”
The Department of Marketing recently hosted a BASE Bootcamp on the Oxford campus, following the first BASE Summit earlier this year, with the purposes of preparing students for careers in evolving fields, to connect employers with up-and-coming talent and to solve industry challenges by working with business faculty and students.
Companies participating in the BASE Bootcamp were Cisco, C Spire, FedEx Corp., Insight Global, Medtronic, Mylo, RJ Young, Strategic Resource Management, and Trane. Adam Bettis, vice president of cranial and spinal technologies for Medtronic, served as a panelist during the event.
“It was really good to hear the other business leaders on the panel and to hear from students,” Bettis said. “Students wanted to know what employers are looking for in people entering the workplace and what skill sets are valued. I answered questions for 45 minutes during the reception from students.”
Bettis, who works with medical devices, said the event offered “exposure” to both students and to his company.
“The medical device industry is unknown to many students,” he said. “As students discover health care and the medical device industry, they might decide to investigate and interview. I want more and more students to know Medtronic.”
Claire Sahs, a junior marketing major with an emphasis in sales, said the event provided some valuable insights.
“The BASE Bootcamp was unlike any event I have attended during my time in the School of Business Administration,” said the Dripping Springs, Texas, native. “The panelists were intriguing and clearly both knowledgeable and successful in their fields.
“The speed networking event was what really stood out to me. We were given the opportunity to speak more in-depth with each of the panelists and companies in attendance. We also got the chance to practice pitching ourselves in a setting outside the classroom. My peers and I found the experience extremely valuable and I look forward to the next BASE event.”
The BASE acronym plays off baseball and the three main growing areas of industry: First base represents sales, while second base is supply chain and third base is marketing analytics.
This reflects a typical business cycle: A product or service is sold and delivered to the client. Then, the process is assessed to identify opportunities for improvement and growth for the next cycle.
“Experiential learning is essential to producing career-ready graduates,” Babin said. “By integrating BASE partners into our curricula and extracurricular activities, students get a taste of what professional work environments are like while gaining real-world experience.
“I think the representatives from companies participating in BASE events are very excited at the talent they are finding among the Department of Marketing students. So many of our students make great impressions when they interact one-on-one or in a small group setting with industry professionals.”
BASE will also involve faculty consulting, corporate learning, competitions and fellowships – all of which will nurture collaboration among faculty, students and industry leaders.
“BASE is an exciting initiative as it provides new ways for industry partners to engage with the university while helping elevate new programs in the business school in sales, analytics and supply chain,” said Hughes Miller, UM director of industry giving and engagement.
The university strives to be a resource and partner for industry though mutually beneficial relationships. To learn more about the university’s industry engagement initiative, visit https://industry.olemiss.edu.
By Tina H. Hahn and Leigh Ann Hubbard