Four weeks before they embark on their MBA journeys, the Tepper School’s Class of 2013 will hit the ground running, thanks to BaseCamp.
Conceived as a comprehensive overview of everything from specific business topics to skill set workshops and networking opportunities, BaseCamp is designed to help students figure out what they’ll be learning, why they’re learning it and how to apply the material to their careers.
“We want to make sure students are making a more informed choice about what path they want to follow,” explains Laurie Weingart, Carnegie Bosch Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Teams.
Weingart, who is among the six faculty members who are teaching the BaseCamp topics, was part of a curriculum review team for the Tepper School. From their findings grew the idea for BaseCamp, which aims to create a more holistic beginning to the MBA program.
“The big themes that came out of the curriculum review were opportunities to beef up integration of material, application of material to real-world problems earlier in the process and working on students’ [behavioral] skills,” explains Weingart. Sequencing of course offerings was also a priority, she adds.
The Tepper School has long offered a math review as a means of helping students sharpen their quantitative tools prior to entering the program. And while not all students needed the tutorial, 85 percent of the incoming class attended. That statistic signaled to administrators that a more comprehensive program, with offerings geared toward many needs, would be welcome.
Their hunch appears to be spot on: According to Vickie Motz, director of special programs in Student Services, all but a handful of the 210 people in the Class of 2013 will attend BaseCamp, which begins on August 1.
“The prospective students seem to be extremely excited about it,” she says. “It helps these students identify what career path they want to take.”
During the first week, students take a long view of the Tepper School curriculum, learning how different functional areas tackle various business topics.
“We’re trying to give students a framework so as they start learning the foundational skills of the program, they’ll understand how everything fits together,” says Weingart. Traditional orientation topics and team-building exercises will also be part of the first week.
During the second and third weeks, faculty presenters will move into vertical presentations on operations management, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and consulting. In addition, the Career Opportunities Center will discuss careers in each area, followed by an alumni panel. The idea is to help students start thinking about a career path in time to prepare them for interviews to land summer internships, which occur earlier every academic year.
Additional workshops on writing, math, diversity and other relevant topics are also scheduled, along with time for networking, community service and socializing.
According to Weingart, BaseCamp is more comprehensive than what most other business schools offer.
“We’re doing what our students need and what’s best for our program,” she says.
She credits the faculty, Career Opportunities Center and Student Services for working together to create a seamless program addressing multiple needs.
“We’re excited; it’s a big challenge,” she says. “Everybody is really chipping in to make this happen.”
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