“From the Classroom to the Boardroom”

June 27, 2019

Communications Staff

Business tools (briefcase, laptop, etc.) Illustration.
Photo credit: Illustration by Andrea Wang ’19

Students in Oberlin’s Ashby Business Scholars Program gain real-world skills in professionalism and networking.

During the program’s on-campus winter term intensive, business scholars discuss everything from the influence of personality type on group participation to their future career plans.

Listen to the episode:


Accessible Transcript

This episode is narrated by Erin Ulrich, and features interviews with Rut Merida ’20 and Miles Zhang ’21. Assistant Director of Career Readiness and Professional Development Sylvia Rios, program coach Patrick Keebler, and students in the Business Scholars program are also featured.

[Theme music playing in background]

Erin: “This is An Oberlin Minute, an audio series dedicated to highlighting the inspiring work of Oberlin students, faculty and staff. We’ll be getting an inside look at the pulse of Oberlin by exploring research, performances, and everything in between.”

Erin: “We’ll take an inside look into the Ashby Business Scholars Program at Oberlin, which provides students with the tools and support they need to secure professional experiences in business fields. We’ll talk with student participants in the program during their on-campus winter term intensive on business professionalism and networking before they set out to meet alumni companies and friends of the college in Cleveland, New York City, and San Francisco.”

[Background noises, students talking in group discussion]

Erin: “Just down the hall from the Career Development Center, Patrick Keebler, who served as one of the Business Scholars program coaches from the Career Development Center this winter term, leads students in group discussion.”

Unidentified student: “You have the ability like 10 minutes before a presentation to change something or if something comes up you can change to meet that specific thing.”

Unidentified student: “I think what I can bring to the group is, if the group is too focused on the objective and not just cutting off those who are not contributing more...not catching up to speed, I can assist...be like...oh, maybe so-and-so has some input that would be valuable, so that will be useful for the group.” 

Patrick: “That’s a really good point, Spencer, because what happens in groups—and you are already picking up on this—is that you can start to serve as translators for each other, you can sort of like, oh I understand where he’s coming from, this is what he is trying to say or this is what she’s trying to get across, so that’s part of what happens with these dynamics.”

Patrick: “So, this is kind of their professional development week, this is building up to when they travel over the next two weeks. Today was all about understanding their personality type as it relates to their participation on the team, and so they are understanding better about how they contribute to the team, what some of their blind spots might be as it relates to their participation on the team, and they are also learning about the team as a collective whole—what the team’s personality type is, kind of how they work together, what the team kind of has as far strengths moving forward, and what are some of the things I think they need to be aware...of as far as limitations are concerned.”

Unidentified student: “Interesting that you guys focused on introversion vs extroversion, because we didn’t really discuss that as much. We discussed how judging versus...no...it might have been perceiving versus judging...but it was more like sensing....it was how we take criticism and how we communicate with each other. And I think because there’s a lot of people who think in the general group here...we feel like, oh, because we don’t take criticism personally, everyone’s just like that, and we can be harsh and not really be empathetic towards our teammates. But it is equally as important to care about the feeling part, so that is something that everyone needs to keep in mind when communicating with each other, giving feedback, giving criticism. Because the world runs on people and people run on feelings, instead of just complete...”

Rut: “So my name is Rut Merida. I am a third-year Posse Scholar majoring in economics and minoring in comparative American studies. I joined the Business Scholars because I’ve always had this interest in working with numbers and to get more exposure within that. I have a broad interest in finance, which I’m hoping to learn more about through this program, since we do visit so many different people and learn about the jobs that they do. So, I thought it was a very interesting program to learn more about the things that I may be interested in doing.”

Erin: “Sylvia Rios is the assistant director of career readiness and professional development in the Career Center.”

Sylvia: “So, I’ve been really lucky in getting to work with some awesome students and I’ve seen a lot of transformations take place when it comes to maybe public speaking or just really being able to get it, where they feel almost surprised that they get accepted into the program and the program....throughout whether it’s just working on a team with their peers or getting that interaction with alumni and friends of the college, they get this increased confidence in their abilities and in their awareness of these different opportunities that are available to them. Every year, students from Oberlin go to big companies like Google and Facebook and larger finance firms and banks like Morgan Stanley, and so being able to see alumni within these roles, and see how they’ve combined their personal interests in social justice, in music maybe, in a lot of different arenas—politics—and how they were able to stay authentic and be themselves in these roles—in finance or in tech industries—is really important. I think...being able to see yourself in these roles, to see people that are very much like you.”

Erin: “Miles Zhang is a sophomore in the Business Scholars program double majoring in economics and environmental studies.” 

Miles: “I think that coming to a place like Oberlin, you’re naturally going to be a person who has their own interests and passions and loves exploring them and pursuing them. I think winter term is basically the perfect opportunity to do that, you know. It’s a monthlong period where you have access to a ton of different resources and you can use it however you want to, pretty much. I think at any liberal arts school, people can think that there is sometimes a de-emphasis on preprofessionalism and I think that this is also a great opportunity for that, because it gives you another time...You can intern places or, you know, do a program like this that teaches you these skills that are going to be very useful in life. So, basically any way that you kind of see your life going after college, winter term is a way to kind of explore that and pursue that and try new things...It’s just one of the best parts of Oberlin for me personally. Last winter term, I worked at this environmental advocacy group and I got to see what it is actually like working at a place like that and what I might be doing in the future. And that’s something that I wouldn’t normally have any opportunity to do at another place.”

Erin: “To learn more about what takes place at Oberlin, visit www.oberlin.edu/news. A big thank you to our student workers. The audio for this episode was engineered and produced by Daniel Markus and Claudia Hinsdale. Interviews were conducted by Erin Ulrich and sound design and theme music were composed by Piper Hill and Claudia Hinsdale.” 

[Theme music plays in background]

Erin: “Our graphic designer is Andrea Wang, and this episode was coproduced by Yvonne Gay and Erin Ulrich in the Office of Communications. Special thanks to our consultant and Oberlin’s digital media engineer, Kyle Hartzell. This has been An Oberlin Minute. Thanks for listening.”

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