By Denton Josey, Features Editor
In only its second year in existence, the Global Apprentice program has already taken on ACU’s mission to “Change the World” and delivered.
Thirty eight students took part in the College of Business and Administration’s Summer 1 study abroad course that offered Business Statistics, Business Production and the Global Apprentice program in Oxford, England this summer.
Created by Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of COBA and associate professor of marketing, and Mike Winegeart, assistant professor of marketing, the Global Apprentice program was modeled after the television show The Apprentice. This summer, Dr. Darryl Jinkerson, chair of management sciences, and Dr. Phil Vardiman, associate professor of management sciences, led the group. “It’s built on the idea of Donald Trump’s Apprentice, except we don’t fire anyone,” Jinkerson said.
Before the Global Apprentice internship began, students took one of two classes; either business statistics or business production. Jinkerson said the classes began the same evening the students arrived in England. They completed an entire class worth three credit hours in just four and a half days. The final day of class lasted 13 hours.
“It was brutal, but we loved it,” Jinkerson said. “The students said they loved it because they could focus on just one class.”
In an e-mail from England, Ron Morgan, associate professor of history and director of ACU in Oxford, said the experience not only taught students many skills needed in international business but also fulfilled the ACU mission of leadership in the world. He said the Oxfam leaders have been thankful for the ACU contribution to their global mission, as well as very complimentary about the quality of student work.
Morgan said he was impressed with how quickly the students went into the local community.
After the classes were completed, the students traveled to France and visited Normandy and Paris. After the travel time, the students came back for the actual challenge, which was kept secret by the professors until the day it began.
This summer, the Global Apprentice worked in conjunction with Oxfam, a global non-profit organization based in England whose goal is to eliminate poverty in the world. One of Oxfam’s financial endeavors is its chain of merchandise stores.
The students were split into six groups, each named after an English soccer team and told to visit various Oxfam stores in Oxford and the surrounding area in order to provide consultation advice for the stores. The goal for the students was to see how they could improve the profitability for each store.
“Our goal was to see what we could do to move their shops into the 21st century,” Jinkerson said.
The teams were given two weeks to work on the project, and at the half-way point, they met with their client and discussed the progress made thus far and which direction to go for the final week. “This was real-life stuff; there was protocol they had to follow,” Jinkerson said.
The students analyzed the stores, did cost-benefit analyses and told Oxfam what was profitable to do. Luke Jackson, senior business management major from Fryeburg, Maine, said the most difficult thing was not knowing what the challenge was going to be. Jackson’s team, Portsmouth, created a WIKI for Oxfam, a blog-format Web site for the management of each store to communicate with each other. It is secure and can be updated constantly.
Jackson, along with Haley Dilling, junior marketing major from Vero Beach, Fla., went on to win one of two $1,000 scholarships for his exceptional performance in the program. “It gave me more confidence in my major choice, that I can succeed as a business major,” Jackson said. “Now I’ve actually seen what companies go through when they are solving problems. It really opened my eyes.”