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Operation Enterprise: Experiential Learning for Students Offers Lasting Results

March 15, 2018

AMA’s Operation Enterprise

This is the second of a 2-part series on career development programs for the next generation. See Part 1.

Research has shown that experiential learning methods improve student engagement, support knowledge acquisition, and boost retention. Operation Enterprise (OE), created by American Management Association, is a corporate-sponsored program that uses such methods to prepare students for future careers.

AMA has been refining its professional education offerings for nearly 100 years, and its unique blend of experiential learning and a practical, action-oriented curriculum leads to long-lasting results. Operation Enterprise serves up to 15,000 students through customized educational programs.

“It has been over 10 years since I attended OE,” says graduate Alyssa Gruska. “As I look back to reflect on the program, I can say confidently that the program shaped my career in ways that I didn’t realize it could. I became a lawyer with my own practice in New York and dedicate most of my time [to] defending indigent clients in state and federal court. Whether I am speaking before a judge, to a jury, to a client, or to opposing counsel, my ability to communicate and connect with people has defined my success thus far, and all thanks to the skills I first developed at Operation Enterprise.”

Developing skills and networks through Operation Enterprise

The structure of the Operation Enterprise program—a combination of classroom courses, team projects, one-on-one tutorials, mentoring, panel discussions, and teamwork activities—fosters collaboration across a diverse student group and allows participants to form long-lasting friendships while improving business knowledge and leadership skills. “With the confidence I gained throughout the program,” says OE graduate Casey DeWoody, “I was set for success.”

Establishing mentoring relationships for students and giving them the opportunity to network can really help open doors for students. “More than 15 years later, I still keep in touch with several of the people I met and I still use the skills I learned,” says graduate Michael Simmons. “Everything from the panel and simulation to speakers and evening events made such a big impact on me that they will be in my heart forever. I plan to have my kids apply to OE too.”

A mindset geared for career success

A crucial part of career readiness programs is to develop the right mindset. Organizations are struggling to keep up in a volatile, uncertain, and complex environment. Technical skills and business acumen are only a piece of what students will need to be successful. They’ll also need adaptability, problem-solving, and resilience skills.

In addition, students and employees need to change how they view education. Gone are the days where a diploma or degree was enough to prepare students for their entire working career. Today, the half-life of many professional skills is only five years, which means the average employee will need to upskill or retrain eight times in his or her career. Employees who embrace change as an inherent part of business and actively seek out educational experiences to improve or increase their competencies stand out and rise to the top of the talent pool.

“Built into our program are not only business skills such as financial literacy, business writing, and conflict resolution, but also job readiness skills,” says Marina Marmut, director of Operation Enterprise. “We set up mentoring relationships for students to prepare them mentally for the shift in being in a learning environment to being in the workforce. We teach them the basics like resume writing and interviewing, of course, but we also cover things like branding yourself, projecting a positive professional image, and above all, having the right attitude.”

“One thing OE taught me that has stayed with me forever,” says DeWoody, “is that equipped with the right tools and self-confidence, there is no reason to fear a new experience and to push yourself to grow as a business leader and as an individual!”

“AMA has always strived to improve the quality of life for both individuals and communities, offering business skills to millions worldwide and reaching out to the public with educational initiatives,” says Marmut. “Over the years, we’ve partnered with organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, DECA, National Academy Foundation, NPower, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and high schools and colleges across the country to bring our program to more students. We’re exceptionally proud to offer this program and have great plans to expand through corporate sponsorships.”

Sponsor an Operation Enterprise program in your community

Sponsorship offers you a great opportunity to increase the visibility of your organization while supporting the youth who will be the future business leaders in your area. Operation Enterprise programs help ensure today’s youth have the skills your business needs. Corporate grant funding and sponsorship support for OE’s programs and events will also be acknowledged on the OE website and other marketing materials, helping to drive more traffic to your website.

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To find out more about Operation Enterprise sponsorships, contact Marina Marmut, director of OE, at mmarmut@amanet.org
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About The Author

American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.

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    […] This is the first of a 2-part series on career development programs for the next generation. See Part 2. […]

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