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Success Starts Here: Getting involved

"Success Starts Here" is a series of six articles that introduce new students to the UW-Eau Claire College of Business. A new article will be posted each week until the fall academic term begins.

Getting involved

"It's never too early to start building your resume," according to Terry Wells, CADE adviser and senior lecturer in the Department of Management and Marketing.

While employers expect students to have good grades, it is often extracurricular activities that separate good job candidates from great ones. In the College of Business we call these activities "high impact practices --"HIP" for short. But there is more to HIPs than just landing a job. Students who participate in enrichment opportunities feel more connected to the university, their academic programs, and the faculty and other students.

Assistant Dean Gretchen Hutterli interviewed Wells to learn what HIPs are and how business students can participate in them.

High impact practices, or HIPs, are a term that's probably new to most people. What are HIPs and why are they important?

T.W. HIPs are intensive learning experiences that go beyond the classroom. In the College of Business, HIPs include collaborative research, academic competitions, professional certifications, study abroad programs, internships, service-learning, and student leadership. There truly is something for everyone.

HIPs allow students to apply and test what they have learned in their business courses while helping them develop greater self-confidence and stronger communication skills. For many students, HIPS are a game changer -- an "ah-ha" experience that helps them see the connection between what they have learned and how they can apply it. In general, students who participate in HIPs are more engaged in their studies and their professional development.

Can you give us some specific examples of HIP within the COB?

T.W. This is easy as HIPs are so much a part of our college culture. Last year, for example, 91% of our graduating seniors participated in at least one HIP during their college career so there are many examples to select from. But let me focus on just three.

During the 2014-15 academic year, more than 150 UWEC business students competed in an academic competition on campus or around the country. A couple of events that immediately come to mind are the Traveler's IS case competition, the National Collegiate Sales Competition, and the entrepreneur program's Swim with the Sharks business idea competition. In addition to the benefits we have already discussed, these events provided an opportunity for students to network with business professionals who shared their interests.

A second example is the free tax return service our accounting students provide to low income families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Last tax season, for example, students prepared over 1,000 returns! One  important takeaway for them was the realization that every client was unique and faced different issues and concerns.

My final example are the projects health care administration majors develop and implement during their practicum experience. A recent project I found especially interesting focused on the creation of a program to engage dementia patients. This project developed students' leadership skills while providing real value to the health care facility and its clients.

Those are great examples. Another popular HIP is participation in student organizations. Why should students join one?

T.W. Perhaps the better question is, why not? COB alums are always telling me about the lasting friendships they made and the great times they had as a result of joining a student organization.

Student orgs are a great place to meet new people, learn more about your major, and develop leadership and time management skills. Members participate in many activities such as golf outings, presentations by guest speakers, tours, competitions, banquets and socials, volleyball tournaments, bowling parties, regional and national conferences, and fund raisers.

Are there any particular groups students should join?

T.W. The College of Business supports 15 student business organizations. Many focus on a specific area of business, such as APICS, the group I advise, which is the organization for operations and supply chain management students. Other groups like Collegiate DECA or BUS have a broader focus. You can learn more about student organizations by attending the Blugold Organization Bash (BOB), a campus-wide event held twice a year.

When should students join a business organization?

T.W. There really isn't one best time to join a student business organization. It really depends on you and your class load. Some students join one their freshman year. Others wait until their sophomore or junior year. In general, the earlier you get involved, the more you will get out of the experience.

Any final thoughts about HIPs?

T.W. Students often describe participation in HIP activities as some of the most meaningful experiences of their college career. So get involved!

Meet Terry Wells, CADE Adviser/Management Lecturer

Terry WellsManagement and operations/supply chain students feel fortunate to have Terry Wells as their adviser. She is a pro who has twice received the university's Excellence in Advising award.

As a CADE adviser, Terry meets with students to develop a four-year plan that identifies courses they should take. She will also discuss activities like internships and student leadership experiences that build their resume.

When Terry isn't advising students, she is teaching courses in operations and supply chain management. As a result she has two offices in Schneider -- one on the first floor in CADE, and a second one on the 4th floor with the faculty. Terry is also the faculty adviser for APICS, a professional organization for students interested in operations and supply chain management. She has received numerous campus and national student mentoring awards for her work with this group.

In her spare time, Terry enjoys going to concerts and comedy clubs, walking and boating, and "hanging out" with family, friends and alums. She loves to travel, and enjoys visiting management students at internship sites, and  traveling with APICS students to case competitions and conferences.

Terry's advice to new freshmen is simple and to the point: attend classes, study hard, and get tutoring when needed.

"The earlier you get help, the greater your chance for success," she said.