strengthening the student experience

strengthening the student experience

The Experience:Academic and Student Life
Magazine 0509 Focus Academic 260x186


Junior Consultant Program Builds Clients, Portfolios and Confidence
“The interviewer wasn’t interested, so I whipped out my ‘life preserver.’ It turned things around,” grins Nicholas Verrochi ’09. His “life preserver” is his portfolio. It’s bursting with evidence of the academic knowledge he’s gained in the Providence Campus’ College of Business (CoB). It highlights work from his internships at communications firms, a nuclear energy center in New York, his on-campus job in University Marketing and contributions to JWU’s Advertising Team, which competes nationally, and Junior Consultant projects.

Through JWU’s Junior Consultant program, upperclassmen earn academic credit by helping business-owner clients solve problems. Verrochi developed marketing tactics for nonprofits, tech firms, even an environmentally friendly catering company. He recently analyzed financials and marketing operations, re-designed the logo and created a direct mail campaign for a fledgling pottery art gallery. JWU junior consultants receive a certificate at project completion and letters of reference. “I love the interaction,” he says. “It’s rewarding to help, and it’s broadened my perspective — what I can do; what I bring to the table.”

That’s why Associate Professor John Krupa conceived the program — so that students gain maturity and learn the realities of business. “It augments their résumé and gives them an edge,” says Krupa, while nurturing potential, accountability and credibility.

Having the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center (RISBDC) on campus allows Krupa to “marry their client’s needs and expectations with our students’ skills and abilities.” The RISBDC is inundated with organizations hungry for resources. Krupa’s brainchild is in its second year. Repeated success has lured non-SBDC clients and led to projects across academic programs. “Students negotiate terms, I coach so they’re not overwhelmed,” and he pushes whichever entity in the equation needs it.

David Mitchell, Ph.D., Providence dean of the College of Business, likens it to a stairway. “It begins with classroom case studies and alumni speakers, ascends through co-ops and these experiences to ongoing career progression.” It also underscores JWU’s commitment to community.

Higher education authorities demand we’re “accountable, effective and efficient,” Mitchell says. Here students gain knowledge, experience and confidence. “Employers do gauge a candidate’s ability to contribute by reviewing their portfolio.” Particularly important for graduating seniors like Verrochi who are doing all they can to stand out in a tough economy.

Top: JWU’s Advertising Team includes marketing communications seniors, Nicholas Verrochi, left, and Bruce Millard Jr., center. Along with other students and Professor Oscar Chilabato, right, they prep for regional and national competitions.