Ball State University Students Participate in Innovative Immersive Learning Program

(Indianapolis, Ind., Nov. 5, 2015) More than 200 Ball State University undergraduates participated in the second Executive Connections program delivered by a partnership between the Post-Secondary Workforce Development Task Force of Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, and Ball State University’s Miller College of Business. The students were among the hundreds to take part in the Conexus Indiana Logistics Council’s (CILC) newest program to provide insight to students about career opportunities in logistics with Hoosier companies. 

Executive Connections was designed by approximately 20 executives at Indiana companies with the support of CILC to educate students about logistics careers and give them face-to-face contact with logistics executives. The networking sessions also demonstrate leadership and personal and interpersonal skills to students, who hear from logistics executives about career opportunities and about how logistics plays a role in the everyday lives of Hoosiers. Before attending, many business students are unaware of logistics as a good career path, and this program introduces them to the opportunities.

“Through this and similar events at Purdue University, students have come in contact with some very engaged, top-level executives,” explained Nicholas Hoagland, COO and CPO of Backhaul Direct LLC and a member of the Task Force. “Those executives find this a unique and worthwhile opportunity to leverage the existing programs offered by the universities and drive new approaches to promote careers in logistics to students.”

Working with Ball State’s Information Systems and Operations Management Department, CILC brought top logistics executives to the campus to provide an immersive learning experience in supply chain optimization. Ball State University professor Brad Anderson joined the executives in presenting the practicalities of working in logistics and supply chain operations management, including entry-level opportunities, resume preparation, and the challenges and rewards the industry offers. The role of information technologies and systems in planning, managing and evaluating information services were discussed, along with computer modeling tools such as linear and integer programming, regression, heuristic methods and other techniques. Software, computer modeling and simulation, and even business ethics were explored as the students were provided opportunities to question and learn directly from the executives.

“Our goal is to introduce these students to careers they may never have considered, and encourage them on the path to a well-paid professional life right here at home in Indiana,” said Hoagland. “Logistics is an essential piece of Indiana’s future, and building and maintaining our position as the Crossroads of America and a hub in the global supply chain will grow our economy. We’d like to see the best and the brightest of these students preparing today for the real jobs they’ll want at graduation. And we want to keep talent here in Indiana to help our logistics companies continue to grow.”

The Post-Secondary Workforce Development Task Force also is working with Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management and Purdue Polytechnic Institute on a similar program and will host an event for students on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, at the Purdue Memorial Union from 10:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m.