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Parker College of Business bolsters MBA program with new Professional Enrichment Plan

The MBA Program in the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University is offering experiential learning opportunities to its students through the new Parker Professional Enrichment Program (PEP) which connects students to engaging business and civic partners. 

Through the PEP program, students are presented with opportunities to expand their professional network, cultivate lifelong commitments to professional and personal growth and development, and prepare to be high-functioning, effective leaders. 

“I think for many students, particularly at the [graduate] level, there is an interest in guest speakers and professional development,” said Kevin Joyce, current MBA student. “In most programs, these types of events are extracurricular and require time that may otherwise be spent on homework or studying. By directly incorporating professional development events into the program, we have the opportunity to learn from business and community leaders without having to make a conscientious decision to sacrifice time elsewhere.”

Through the Parker PEP, students are connected to the real world in four primary areas: self-care, career planning, professional development and community service. The program began in September and has made a positive impression on currently enrolled students.

“I have been very impressed with the balance of the program — it has been well thought out,” said Kristin Karam, current MBA student. “I started this program because I wanted additional professional options and choices, but I have found myself looking forward to class and interacting with the professors of the program. I already have a master’s degree, and I have been very impressed with the contrast of how this program is set up. There’s a strong focus on development that is layered on top of the learning objectives and outcomes.”

Jeff Bush (ECON, ’13), Parker College of Business alumnus and president of The Parker Companies, was the first in the PEP Executive Speaker Series. During his presentation, “Seize the Moment,” Bush focused on keys to success, stressing the importance of surrounding yourself with mentors, creating value for your organization, building a good reputation, trusting yourself, seeking and recognizing opportunities, and setting a high bar for success. 

Students will participate in additional workshops on body language and stress management, led by Perfectly Polished, an etiquette school founded in 1986, and Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero, respectively.

“My biggest take away from Jeff Bush’s presentation was that opportunities exist everywhere — even locally,” added Karam. “Every person you meet may lead to a great opportunity, and you need to be ready to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Students also have access to workshops on topics such as emotional intelligence. Caitlyn Cofer, assistant director of career development in the Office of Career and Professional Development at Georgia Southern, worked with students on emotional intelligence training and an EQ-i 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment. 

“I have had the opportunity to take similar tests during my time in the military and was not surprised by most of the results about my strengths and weaknesses,” said Joyce. “However, what I learned through the EQ-i 2.0 assessment is how to better address those areas holding me back from an overall higher level of emotional intelligence.”

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