Finding new and innovative ways for students to engage with employers is a priority for career services professionals. While students and employers will come together at career fairs and recruitment events, there are other creative ways to connect these groups.
At Ohio University, the Career and Leadership Development Center (CLDC) teaches a variety of career courses. Employers are often invited to present on their company and opportunities for internships, co-ops, and full-time employment. The CLDC wanted to take this to the next level of engagement by offering employer case studies in the classroom.
Employers offer one to two research questions to the students in a career course. Students are assigned to small groups, working together to complete research and a SWOT analysis of the issues. Groups are also tasked with reflecting on their leadership skills and presenting solutions to the employers.
Work on these case studies spans a few weeks of the semester. It also requires a high level of engagement from the employers. Typically, the employer visits the classroom to present the research questions to the class. Students then work over the following weeks with their team on their presentations. The employers then return to campus to assist in the judging and grading of the presentations, while also providing direct feedback to the students.
Both students and employers have shared the benefits of employer case studies in our career courses. It is unique for students to engage with employers in a comfortable environment, while still having the opportunity to enhance their interpersonal skills, team development, self-awareness, innovation, problem-solving, and adaptability. One student shared, “I really enjoyed working together as a group and getting to know one another. I have never worked on a project like this so it was rather challenging. I enjoyed the presentations and listening to others’ ideas on the Case Study. It intrigues me to learn about other people’s thoughts and how they worked through the problems.”
From the employer perspective, this type of engagement allowed them to recruit students in a unique way. It has also been reported that some of the employers have implemented the suggested solutions from the students. Allison Walke from Bridge Logistics shared, “It was extremely valuable for us to get some outsider perspective on our company! Sometimes it’s hard to see what you can do better when you’re right in the thick of it. We definitely came away from the case study with some ideas that we will possibly be implementing in the near future.”
For more information on implementing employer case studies in the classroom, please feel free to contact Kacey Schaum at email@example.com.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Paige Erhart at firstname.lastname@example.org