Spring Hill College Magazine
By Lindsay Mott ’07 | Photos By Seth Laubinger ‘02
In the summer of 2015, the Spring Hill College Division of Business was in a state of flux and, as the new Division Chair, James Larriviere, PhD, wanted to grow the program in a way that would benefit students the most. Based on questions from parents and where business education is headed, the team added a role focused on internships as well as classes and programs geared toward career readiness to better prepare their graduates.
Also at that time, the campus began to focus on vocational discernment and Larriviere knew they were headed in the right direction. “With what was going on here in the college community with Pathways to Purpose, it was ideal,” he said.
Now, the division offers three steps that begin sophomore year and build on each other through junior and senior years. Business Communications comes first, then Pre-Professional Development and then, ideally, an internship for one to three hours of elective credit.
To facilitate these internships, Nicole Larriviere, Division of Business Internship Coordinator and Instructor, serves as an academic advisor to students. Nicole, who happens to be married to James, seeks out opportunities through networking and community relationships and has helped streamline the internship process. She helps students find, obtain and succeed in these roles. Having someone in this capacity has increased the number of internships for the division – 15 students earned academic credit in spring 2017, which is the largest number of students to date.
“When you start looking at what other colleges are doing, that’s one of the things that is getting more important, and we want our students to stay competitive,” Nicole said.
Another piece of career training is Business Strategy and Policy, which serves as the senior seminar for business students. In this course, students use an online business simulation program during which they face real-world issues and have to make decisions to keep the business profitable. The simulation concludes with student group presentations to a “Board of Directors” comprised of Business Division faculty.
Alumni are also key to the career readiness program. Alums communicate job and internship opportunities to the division and business faculty invite them to speak to classes. They share insights on their career paths, current roles, hiring practices, how the Jesuit education plays into their daily work and more. “Our alumni inspire our current students to go out and do great things in the world,” Nicole said.
Another new feature of the Business Division is the Healthcare Management concentration that became available in fall 2016. In the first year, they had approximately seven majors in this field, and James sees the curriculum as an asset to the division. He said this concentration is a great option for students who do not pursue medicine and are looking for another path in the healthcare industry. He emphasized that experiential learning and internship experience are key in the healthcare field, so the career readiness piece is essential for this program.
Moving forward, the division expects to increase the number of internships students participate in and to add programs that emphasize career readiness and career discernment – whatever will make their graduates most successful.
“It’s going to evolve. Times change, students change, opportunities change, so we just have to be able to move with that and kind of hit that moving target,” James said.
The Division of Business received a gift to open the John J. Burke Jr. Center for the Study and Advancement of Free Enterprise to harness the entrepreneurial spirit of students across the Spring Hill campus.