2018 brings a renovated Glass Hall at Missouri State University’s College of Business, just in time for the start of the spring semester and David Meinert’s new seat as interim dean.
2018 Projection: Hands on, real world learning will continue to be expected by students and future employers.
SBJ: How do you describe the current climate of business education?
Meinert: For the College of Business, the climate is extremely positive. We have record enrollments, and we have the new building project [Glass Hall] in its final stages. We had 171 firms on campus recruiting in the fall semester, and we have tremendous support from the business community.
SBJ: What key words would you use to describe where business education is headed?
Meinert: Quality, experiential learning and career services. Students and parents are increasingly focused on the quality and what the return on the investment will be from business education. You’re looking to get that quality education and knowing that your son or daughter will have a great career opportunity on the back-end. The experiential learning piece is critical, too. Employers are looking for practical skills. Experiential learning can come with courses. It can come in those labs. It can come out of community service projects. But the key is for our students to have those skills employers are looking for, when they graduate.
SBJ: There were 1,423 COB graduates in fall 2017, and 5,511 students enrolled. With a push to keep graduates in Springfield, if you were a local business owner, what would you do to attract these local graduates?
Meinert: I would look for every opportunity I could to encourage more students to stay local to get their business education. Also, aligning with the university, getting to know the business faculty, providing part-time work, internships – it’s the best way to help get more talent into the workforce.
SBJ: What are business schools doing to attract local students to local programs?
Meinert: MSU and the college are actively recruiting in local high schools in southwest Missouri. Local businesses have a competitive advantage because of their proximity. They’re able to come in as guest speakers frequently for student organizations. Many of them serve on our advisory boards, and then, the faculty is aware of the career opportunities with those companies.
SBJ: It seems that training has become more hands-on: What inspired this change and where do you see it going?
Meinert: Two or three decades ago, it wasn’t uncommon for a new graduate to be told that they would go for weeks, if not months, of training. Today, firms are much leaner. They’re looking for new employees to hit the ground running, to be productive sooner. They want the students to come out with the knowledge, the skills and the abilities to do the work almost instantly.
SBJ: How is business education changing in the coming year in regards to tactile aspects, such as e-books vs. textbooks?
Meinert: E-textbooks are gaining in popularity, as are supplemental online homework, tutorial, and assessment platforms. These web-based tools provide students with real-time feedback and, in some cases, guidance to help them master challenging concepts and problems. Case studies in traditional or e-texts, combined with real-world examples shared by faculty and guest speakers ensure students know how to apply course material.
Steve Childers to lead city’s key growth initiatives, including Forward SGF.