Birdseye view looking down at students in Heavener Hall

Career focus generates curriculum changes

Along with the expansion of Business Career Services into the Heavener School of Business, undergraduate students will now also have a chance to further their career preparation through two new classes – a career readiness course for second-year students and a leadership class for third-year students.

The additional classes will be offered to keep Heavener students engaged with faculty and staff in face-to-face, on-campus classes that are designed to ensure that students make the investments necessary to maximize their career readiness. Upon entering college, many students do not immediately consider the link between their academic pursuits, their career aspirations and the leadership skill development needed to achieve these aspirations.

Implementing the career readiness and leadership classes will enable Heavener students to approach their job search with clarity and confidence, thereby producing Heavener graduates ready to be impactful Business Gators in the workforce.

“We want to have a much better ability to deliver career readiness and leadership skills across Heavener to all students, not just the ones who find our programs and services. This is our job,” said Dr. Alex Sevilla, Associate Dean & Director of the Heavener School of Business. “We need to make sure students are ready to meet and exceed expectations that we promise to our corporate partners.”

The leadership course was piloted during the fall 2017 semester, and the career course will be piloted during the spring 2018 semester. A soft launch will be implemented during the 2018-19 academic year with multiple sections per semester, and a full launch in 2019-20 will offer four sections of each class per semester.

Career Class

Second-year students will take a career readiness course that helps them identify and solidify their functional career track while preparing them to be a valuable asset in their future internships and full-time jobs.

The Business Career Services “Career Success” class is designed to help sophomore students narrow the scope of their career exploration with the ultimate goal of securing an internship and full-time job prior to their graduation from the Warrington College of Business. The class is intended to teach students the specific skills in which to achieve this goal.

The purpose of this course is for students to walk away with a great understanding, and the ability to implement the skills needed to find an internship and ultimately a full-time job, along with building upon their professional network. The course is designed around a hands-on approach to career success, by putting skills taught throughout the semester into immediate action throughout the course.

“Our goal for this course is to provide an interactive environment where our students actually implement, in real-time, the skills that will be taught during each class,” Executive Director of Career Services Craig Petrus said. “By implementing this type of teaching and coaching, our hope is that our students will leave this class more confident and career ready for future interviews, networking opportunities, internships, and their careers beyond Warrington.”

Designed and taught by Petrus, the career readiness class will help students be ready to produce immediate results when they begin an internship or full-time career. Students are instilled with confidence that they can make an impact in their role and are equipped with tools that will stick with them throughout their entire career. The course prepares students with basic career skills, such as perfecting their 30-second elevator pitch, building their bench of alumni and professional contacts, interview skills, job search marketing skills, and how to stand out to their future manager.

Leadership Class

Third-year students will take the leadership course to understand theories of leadership and how they can be implemented when students are participating in an internship or a full-time job. This class is strategically placed in the academic year before a student’s final internship, giving them the leadership background to stand out as an intern and ideally receive a full-time job offer in the process.

Students learn about leadership theory, leadership styles, emotional intelligence, influence, authenticity and how to be a great teammate. They’ll also learn how an “emerging leader” can improve team performance, increase credibility in the eyes of peers and supervisors, and accelerate one’s own path to advancement. The class will be imbedded with corporate content and guest speakers in leadership roles of major companies.

“We want to give our students the secret source code for how their future boss’ brain works,” Dr. Sevilla said. “Being an exceptional emergent leader requires a complete understanding of how leadership works in practice and a keen ability to use emotional intelligence to strengthen relationships, build your personal brand and deliver successful outcomes. Emergent leaders become invaluable assets to their organizations, and through this course, we aspire to give our Heavener graduates the ability to truly stand out as they embark on their leadership journey.”

The class will also feature the Procter & Gamble and UF Emerging Leaders Case Competition. Students will be given a problem to solve about Procter & Gamble, and the company brings employees to serve as judges. This will also be an important opportunity for the company’s recruiters to interview and speak with standout Heavener students.

Students in this class learn that leadership doesn’t have to wait until they have an important title. It begins in their first day on the job.