Business administration students at Stevenson University take part in a capstone project that serves as one of the final requirements needed to graduate. The capstone is completed though a business course which is commonly taken in the student’s senior year. This year that course is taught by Mark Arvisais, assistant professor of management.
Zamira Simkins, the chair of the business administration program, described the capstone as an experience in which students complete a series of company cases, solving problems that can be applied to real-world scenarios. Following the conclusion of group work, interactive presentations before other class members showcase what each group has learned.
Simkins added that the capstone project is a place where students can demonstrate what they have learned throughout their years in the program. They can apply knowledge from their marketing and accounting courses to complete the capstone.
There are many benefits to completing a project such as one like the business capstone. Noah Connor, a senior business administration major, explained how the capstone forces students to internalize the knowledge they have learned from previous coursework.
Connor also said that the capstone forces students to think outside of the box as well as presents them with unique challenges that call upon teamwork skills. Those skills are what make graduates more marketable for employers in the future.
Simkins added that students benefit from being able to be mentored through the capstone experience as well as getting to practice what they might be doing in the real world. They can do this without having to worry about making mistakes that negatively affect their job.
While there are many benefits to the capstone, there can also be several challenges that most students face. Simkins and Connor both touched on the fact that teamwork can often be a point where students struggle, though it is a key component of the project.
Connor added that students can often face unique predicaments, as groups are composed randomly and some students must work with others they don’t know. Thus, they are spending additional time developing team chemistry rather than jumping directly into the case at hand.
Connor spoke from personal experience when he explained that he believes the best method when forming a group for the capstone is to identify individuals who are skilled in specific subjects, whether that is accounting, marketing, finance or various forms of management.
Simkins said that students’ biggest takeaway from the capstone was realizing that the work they have completed throughout the years has prepared them to succeed.
After completing the capstone, Connor saw it as a form of reflection, adding that he now knows what is needed to succeed if he is put into similar situations and believes he is prepared for a professional setting because of the course.