Business students to get more opportunities


Senior Reporter

In the midst of a harsh economic recession and statewide unemployment near 10 percent, Oakland University’s School of Business Administration has established a program to help students network with local enterprises.

The SBA has created the Center for Integrated Business Research and Education in what SBA spokesperson Robin Michel said is an effort to connect local businesses and non-profit organizations with faculty and students. Michel said CIBRE will enable OU to take an active role in solving some of the dilemmas that affect industrial decision making.

“When there are as many companies as there are out there, they’re going to have some problematic situations when you look at the economy they’re facing,” Michel said. “What we’re able to do is work together across many fields — engineering, business, education — to have a whole different viewpoint in what is going on in a business as opposed to just sitting back and saying ‘Oh, we don’t know what to do about such and such.'”

CIBRE was also created to provide students with the opportunity to develop connections with local employers. Lori Crose, director of operations and development of SBA, said a main mission will be to “re-educate the workforce so that they will be more competitive.”

Crose said she will be working with local business leaders and economists to detect future trends and paradigm shifts in the economy.

“It’s going to be more focused on current needs,” Crose said. “It will hopefully be more reactive to what’s going on in the economic environment to keep this pool of businesses moving forward.”

Crose said CIBRE is also working with Michigan WORKS to assist OU alumni who have either lost their job or taken a pay cut because of the recession. She said alumni suffering because the skills they honed at OU are no longer in as high demand will be eligible for programs that will re-train them for a more lucrative field.

As for students still trying to earn their bachelor’s degree, Michel said CIBRE will make it easier for students to network with employers, thus making the post-graduate job search less strenuous.

“Opportunities for learning are going to be expanded at companies,” Michel said. “It will be in [the businesses’] best interest, because students are young, they are energetic. Businesses need interns and students need internships.”

The idea for CIBRE was spearheaded by SBA director Dr. Mohan Tanniru. Tanniru was on vacation and could not be reached for comment, but he expressed eagerness for the new project in a press release.

“This is a place where business leaders, researchers, professionals and students come together to share resources and ideas to … support economic development in the community and the world,” Tanniru said.

CIBRE has already begun a collaboration with YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit to help teach children about financial literacy. Crose said financial illiteracy often shows up when students graduate from college and are not ready to make financially independent decisions.

“A lot of people just don’t have a clue what they’re looking at when they go to apply for a loan or things of that nature,” Crose said. “We want people to be as prepared as they possibly can be, and a big part of that in financial literacy.”