Workforce Ready

Students work with Nancy Hong, executive director of UNT's Innovation Greenhouse. (Photo by Gary Payne)By enlisting the knowledge of business leaders in the North Texas region, UNT is ensuring students acquire problem-solving and teamwork skills before they earn their diplomas. The College of Business recently formed its CEO Visioning Panel to further cement its position as a leading supplier of graduates in the marketplace. And the Professional Leadership Program, in its 20th year this fall, has nearly 1,000 alumni who are leaders in the profit and nonprofit sectors. Also, UNT's Career Center connects students with job shadowing opportunities during school breaks, and the Innovation Greenhouse — a new resource on campus — is helping support student start-ups and entrepreneurial dreams.

CEO Visioning Panel

UNT's College of Business formed the CEO Visioning Panel, a group of eight CEOs -- including alumni Rhys Best ('69), chair, president and CEO of Seren Management LLC, and G. Brint Ryan ('88, '88 M.S.), chair and CEO of Ryan LLC, chair of the panel and vice chair of UNT System Board of Regents. The group is shaping the future of the college as it continues toward its goal of becoming the leading source of work-ready graduates for the region's companies.

Finance and operations management senior Roy Mannix, right, meets with his mentor, Ray White, chief performance officer/partner at Dallas-based Reinvention, through the Professional Leadership Program. (Photo by Janae Denman)"We went straight to the top to hear from the leaders of major corporations what skills and attributes make new business school graduates successful on the job," says Finley Graves, dean of the College of Business. "Given their 'eagle's nest' vantage point, we believed the CEOs would have insights from their own experience, and from observing those following in their footsteps."

The CEOs emphasized business acumen, problem solving and teamwork skills among those essential to success.

Professional Leadership Program

Also in UNT's College of Business, the Professional Leadership Program offers mentoring and coaching to juniors, seniors and graduate students of all majors to become the next generation of leaders in the profit and nonprofit sectors for the global marketplace. It requires a year-long commitment from students, who are matched up with mentors in the marketplace.

The program's alumni now lead or operate businesses and organizations across the U.S., many in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Graduate journalism student Felicia Davis is a current member and says the program has given her a competitive edge.

"I've learned valuable skills, from negotiating salaries to connecting with professionals," she says. "I feel more confident."

Take Flight

UNT students learn about health professional careers at the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth during the winter break as part of the Career Center's Take Flight job shadowing program. (Photo by Nicole Lyons)During winter and spring breaks, UNT's Career Center organizes Take Flight, a job shadowing program that gives students opportunities to observe and network with varying professionals to investigate a career field, clarify career goals and function in a real work environment. Take Flight hosts, from more than 50 companies and organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area ranging from health sciences to business, welcome students from all majors. Over the winter break, graduate accounting student Apolonio Molina visited Fidelity Investments and now plans to apply for the company's co-op program.

"At Fidelity, I was able to see how mutual funds are priced, how to verify that a sale was made and how stocks are valued in different countries," she says.

Innovation Greenhouse

This winter, the Innovation Greenhouse opened in Sycamore Hall as a resource for students who have innovative ideas to create jobs for themselves and others. To help make their ideas come to fruition, the greenhouse provides planning, networking opportunities and workshops. It also refers students to other on-campus resources such as the Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship and Discovery Park.

"We want to help students apply what they learned in classrooms, to leverage the resources on campus and resources in the North Texas region to create their own successes," says executive director Nancy Hong.

Emergency administration and planning senior Henry Boston and accounting graduate student Warren Dane won first place in the greenhouse's Startup Weekend competition in January for an idea to use Xbox Kinect technology to help business owners with tracking and marketing opportunities.

"Students can bounce business ideas off each other here," Boston says, "and develop a professional network."