Learning does not occur in a vacuum. No one understands this maxim more than business professionals, who must be as well-versed on the art of negotiation as they are on economic principles.
This is why the School of Business is dedicated to the concept of “action learning,” which is “a continuous process of learning and reflection, with the intent of getting something done,” according to Assistant Dean Brian Rothschild. “Action learning is centered on the need to find a solution to a real problem, which our students get straight from a company. Most action learning programs take a whole semester. Learning is voluntary and learner-driven, resulting in individual development, which is as important as problem-solving.”
The School of Business partners with companies such as1-800-FLOWERS.COM, which is headquartered in Carle Place, New York, to place students in internships that allow them to supplement and build upon their classroom instruction.
Neil Halloran, corporate director of Fresh University, the corporate training center at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, said he forged a partnership about five years ago with Dean Anthony F. Libertella to hire interns and full-time employees from Adelphi.
1-800-FLOWERS.COM recruits from such institutions as Cornell University, Columbia University, and University of Notre Dame for its Executive Internship program. Adelphi University School of Business students rank in the top 10 percent of the intern body, said Mr. Halloran.
Sarah Sullivan ’06, who majored in accounting at Adelphi and is currently an assurance associate for Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, was part of the Executive Internship program at1-800-FLOWERS.COM during 2005–2006.
“My internship experience at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM provided me with the opportunity to apply theory in action, as well as to gain real world experience with and among senior executives,” she said. “I was also given significant responsibility while working with my director, and in several instances, acted in his role. The experience not only enabled me to develop an understanding of how an executive thinks and operates, but also matured me as a professional.”
Mr. Halloran credits Dennis Payette, associate professor and chair of the AACSB accreditation committee, with preparing his students for real-life experiences in the business world. “I will go there and teach (the students) reality, and Dennis teaches them reality and theory,” he said.
In keeping with the School of Business’ dedication to action learning, the roughly 16 Adelphi students who participate in the 1-800-FLOWERS.COM internship program each semester do not merely make copies or fetch coffee for executives. Rather, they work with specific teams to determine the company’s competitive advantage, said Mr. Halloran.
“The interns who work with me are actually learning how to present in front of executives all initiatives that pertain to our goals as a company,” he said.
During the course of their internships, the students attend professional development workshops and learn leadership skills with company employees; present business opportunities to the executive team; receive technical training at all skill levels; and make suggestions and analyze reports, said Mr. Halloran.
The School’s emphasis on action learning helps provide students such as Ms. Sullivan with the necessary skill set to embark on rich and rewarding careers on graduation.
“The School of Business promotes action learning by involving students in researching and presenting business case studies not only in the classroom, but to corporations,” said Ms. Sullivan. “Being involved in this process helped me develop an awareness of real business issues and enhanced my communication and teamwork skills, which is an asset to me in my position at PricewaterhouseCoopers.”
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