SBDC Allows Students to Apply Education in Real-World
by John Mielke
Kevin Carp, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, knows the value of his educational experience – and he learned that in the real world. “I don’t think I would have valued the quality of education here at UW-Parkside if I didn’t get the opportunity to apply it,” Carp said. “It’s one thing to learn concepts in the classroom, but it is an entirely different matter to apply them in a real business situation.”
Carp is participating in an internship through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office in Racine, Wis. The SBDC is coordinated through UW-Parkside’s Center for Community Partnerships, which has local offices in both Racine and Kenosha, Wis.
Cory Mason directs the Racine office and he, too, knows the value of student participation. “I’ve received many accolades from clients about the work Kevin has done,” Mason said. Kevin has worked directly with the CEO of a $1 million company, and together they developed a plan to take it to a $4 million company in three years.”
The projects Carp is working on give him the opportunity to apply skills he learned in the UW-Parkside classroom. “I’ve developed marketing strategies, written full marketing plans, learned a great deal about the financials of businesses, gotten more involved with technology, and even used some of my background in information systems,” Carp said. “Our clients cover the entire business lifecycle, so I must understand all aspects of it. To be effective I am forced to know about all aspects of their businesses.”
Kevin Carp (left) discusses plans with Small Business Development Center clients in Racine, Wis.
Mason is understandably enthusiastic about having a student intern work with the SBDC, he’s also well aware of the eventual outcome: At some point the internship ends and a quality student, like Carp, leaves. “Kevin will be a much more valuable hire to a company because of these experiences,” Mason said. “I wish I could be at the interview when the question is asked, ‘Can you describe a situation where you were part of a team and what did you accomplish?’ This is a very powerful model of learning and then doing, when it’s for keeps.”
When the final day of the internship arrives, Carp will leave with more than just exposure to businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. “Cory is my mentor,” Carp said. “This has been the most productive learning experience in my life. No doubt!”
For more information on academic programs offered through the School of Business and Technology, including business management, please call 262-595-2280 or visit http://www.uwp.edu/academic/business.