Participants of the Junior Executive Business Program for Diverse Students at Ohio University stand alongside College of Business Dean Hugh Sherman (front row, center), program director and academic adviser Beatrice Selotlegeng (right of Sherman), program supervisor Ebony Porter (right), and Tyrone Carr (second row, left), representing the Office of the President. (Ben Siegel/Ohio University)

Participants of the Junior Executive Business Program for Diverse Students stand alongside dean Hugh Sherman, program director Beatrice Selotlegeng, program supervisor Ebony Porter, and Tyrone Carr, representing the Office of the President.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

College of Business Dean Hugh Sherman speaks to the students in Copeland Hall on Monday.

College of Business Dean Hugh Sherman speaks to the students in Copeland Hall on Monday.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

A group of students intently learn about college navigation strategies that will ultimately help them in their job search after graduation.

A group of students intently listen and learn about college navigation strategies that will ultimately help them in their job search after graduation.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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High school students eager to learn at Junior Executive Business Program for Diverse Students

Eight-day program showcases campus, fosters business and college navigation skills

Twenty-seven high school students from the biggest cities across Ohio, and one student from California, eagerly listened to presentations delivered to them in Copeland Hall earlier this week to showcase what Ohio University and the College of Business has to offer as part of the 10th annual Junior Executive Business Program for Diverse Students.

Sponsored by KeyBank and the College of Business, students interested in pursuing a business major are spending eight days living on campus and immersing themselves in marketing strategies, attending classes, completing a complex business consulting project, and learning about organizations and educational opportunities offered at Ohio University.

“It’s an exciting program to be in and it’s been held 10 years,” said Tyrone Carr, who represented the Office of the President during the program’s welcoming remarks. “You guys are a special group because we’re celebrating 10 years of the program. It takes eight days of your time, but when you leave, you’ll be a smarter individual in terms of what you want to do with your college career. There are so many things for you to learn about, and you get to experience those things on your own and work through the process and with student leaders.”

Carr also is executive director of Interlink Alliance and executive director of alumni relations for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and encouraged students to make the most of their time in college by joining groups that fit their professional and personal interests.

College of Business Dean Hugh Sherman outlined three steps he believes students should follow in order to successfully find a job in a highly-competitive employment market. Interning to gain experience, joining student organizations to develop leadership and sound team skills, and obtaining a degree from a college or university that’s accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, such as OHIO, are essential pieces graduates should fulfill in order to set themselves apart from hundreds of other applicants applying for the same job, he said.

“You know that the world has gotten to be much more competitive,” Sherman said. “It’s really true that it’s a global economy. Companies are recruiting from wherever in the world they can go to get the highly talented person. They need a global, diverse workforce in their organizations and are looking for talented, diverse people. You can develop your skills to fill the kinds of positions that are opening up.”

Sherman, who speaks with alumni at corporations across the nation, gains an understanding about what current students should accomplish in order to be recruited by companies. “Every recruiter I talk to say they will not hire a college graduate without having an internship or internship-type experience,” he said.

Developing experiences that are enjoyable help develop a resume that’s attractive to employers, he continued. “It’s not enough to just go to classes and go home,” Sherman emphasized. “The value of a residential experience is that you can do things to develop yourself outside the classroom time. We in the College of Business have a lot of different centers that develop skills and create networking opportunities outside the classroom.”

Students eagerly listened and asked questions about everything ranging from financial aid to academic programs to student organizations and OHIO sports teams.

Helping to answer some of their questions was Misty Milstead, an academic adviser for first-year and sophomore students. Milstead highlighted the majors, minors and certificate programs offered through the College of Business and mentioned what sets the college apart from others.

“We have a lot of nationally ranked programs,” she explained. “The sports administration graduate program is number one in the world, the accounting program is nationally ranked, and the management information system program is 11th in the nation.”

Leading the Junior Executive Business Program as director is academic adviser Beatrice Selotlegeng, who said one measure of the program’s success is the number of students who are admitted to OHIO. Five students from last year’s participants have been admitted to OHIO and awarded scholarships. She’s hoping some students from this year’s group also will be admitted when they apply to OHIO.

“I can tell that you are already thinking beyond your senior high school year,” she told the group. “That’s why you’re in a college setting, so that you can gain information and knowledge that will definitely set you apart by the time you finish high school. I’m very encouraged by the questions you have about college.”

The program is quite successful in recruiting students to attend Ohio University. In fact, the supervisor of the program, Ebony Porter, was a member of the Junior Executive Business Program’s Class of 2006, earned her bachelor’s degree from OHIO’s College of Business in 2012, and is now pursuing a master’s degree here.

“Students in the Junior Executive Business Program learn how to allocate time and share responsibility. We guide them as counselors and teach them the importance of teams and how everyone has a role,” Porter explained. “It’s a beautiful thing seeing these students navigate through the frustrations, the joys and the entire experience. A lot of really beautiful friendships blossom as a result of this experience.”

Zainab Kazeem of Cleveland, a student in this year’s Junior Executive Program, said she thinks the week-long program is really helpful, and is teaching her about business practices. “Although it’s really rigorous, they are things that we need to know,” she said, noting that she wants to study international criminal law and business, with the hope of opening her own firm one day. “It’s a fun experience, because it can’t be too easy going for high school students.”

“It has the camp experience, but it’s also teaching me a lot about business and whether or not I want to go into the field,” said Ayobami Balogun of Columbus, a student in the program. “I never really knew Ohio University, and I only heard of it. So now it’s really an experience, and I actually attended college.”

Angela Woodward contributed to this report.

Program boasts a 10-year history of empowering aspiring business majors

By Angela Woodward

This summer marks the 10th anniversary of the Ohio University College of Business’ Junior Executive Business Program for Diverse Students – a program designed to empower high school juniors interested in majoring in business and to introduce them to the OHIO experience.

The Junior Executive Business Program (JEBP) was founded in 2004 under the guidance of the program’s director at the time, Mary Strother, and in collaboration with the program’s then-corporate partner, Cardinal Health. In 2008, Beatrice Selotlegeng, who was an executive-in-residence faculty member with the College of Business and who mentored students in the Junior Executive Business Program, became director of the JEBP.

The JEBP was developed with Cardinal Health with the goal of increasing the company’s ethnic diversity.

In 2011, KeyBank assumed the role of the program’s corporate partner. In addition to providing high school students with an eight-day collegiate experience that allows them to explore the College of Business’ 10 majors in a classroom setting and to gain financial literacy, the program also provides students networking opportunities with KeyBank and other corporate representatives.

Designed for disproportionately underrepresented students who are interested in majoring in business, the JEBP immerses its participants in the college experience – housing them in OHIO’s residence halls, exposing them to campus classrooms and facilities, and providing them opportunities to interact with the University’s students and employees.

“This program is absolutely fantastic,” said Selotlegeng. “We love it. We believe in it, and we are passionate about it because we see the results of the program and through the program we are changing the world for the better.”

Selotlegeng is deeply committed to the program, visiting high schools throughout Ohio’s metropolitan areas to recruit high-achieving students into the JEBP. Among the Ohio cities where her recruiting efforts are centered are Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Akron, Canton and Toledo.

“We are targeting a group of students where there is definitely a need and stressing the importance of going to college,” Selotlegeng explained. “One of the things that makes this program so successful is that we know we need to engage certain stakeholders – the students, their parents and high school guidance counselors. We develop relationships with those key stakeholders, and it’s a formula that works well for us.”

Selotlegeng said about 40-50 students apply for the JEBP each year, with about 25-30 applicants accepted into the program. To be eligible for the JEBP, students must carry at least a 3.2 GPA, but Selotlegeng noted that the program is also looking at a student’s leadership ability and potential.

Thanks to the JEBP’s corporate partner, KeyBank, there is no cost – outside of transportation to and from campus and spending money – for students accepted into the program.

And while the goals of the program include preparing these high school students for their futures and for making important decisions about their futures, Selotlegeng is also quick to note that the JEBP is a recruitment tool for the College of Business.

“We want them to come to Ohio University as college students,” she said.

Selotlegeng estimated that 25 out of 30 JEBP participants apply for admittance into Ohio University. Since the JEBP started, she said 34 of the program’s graduates have gone on to earn degrees from OHIO – be it from the College of Business or other academic units. In fact, of the 24 students who participated in the JEBP last summer, 19 applied to OHIO, 13 were admitted and five enrolled – four in the College of Business and one in OHIO’s pre-med program – and will be members of the University’s Class of 2018.
And Selotlegeng’s work with the JEBP students doesn’t end when they leave campus at the end of their JEBP experience.

"We invite them back for Sibs Weekend to see the University from a different angle when there are more students on campus,” she said. “It’s more than a one-week experience.”