MBS Externship Exchange Poster Session

By: Jhanani Ramesh and Jen Reiseman-Briscoe

On April 30, after weeks of hard work, externs representing nearly every MBS concentration displayed the semester-long fruits of their labors during colorful and interactive poster presentations held in the CoRE building lobby.

           

MBS student externs set up their poster presentations in the CoRE building lobby.

Addressing faculty, fellow students, and corporate mentors, externs discussed how they applied their advanced, science-based knowledge to tackle a range of non-hypothetical, real-world challenges for companies including Conrail, Citi Ventures, Siemens, OrthoClinical Diagnostics, the Food Innovation Center, the New Jersey State Police, Nielsen, and DARPA / the Department of Defense. 

Working in groups of two to seven students for roughly eight to ten hours each week, externs developed social media strategies, built web platforms to improve user experiences, evaluated cyber-vulnerability, mined data, and—among other endeavors—analyzed data on topics ranging from supply chain sustainability to New Jersey gun crime. (Click here for a complete list of projects) Each project was mentored by both an industry expert and Rutgers faculty (under the direction of Dr. Christie Nelson, Externship Coordinator); students reported to their mentors on a weekly basis.

The MBS Externship Exchange, now in its third year, mutually benefits both students and participating companies. By pairing students with corporate-sponsored small projects, the exchange allows externs to gain valuable, on-campus work experience while allowing employers to evaluate the potential company impact of the projects through the externs’ research and proposed solutions.

Students can request projects directly related to their majors—allowing them to explore how their education applies to their intended careers—or they can select projects completely unrelated to their academic concentrations, which allows them to investigate different industries and career paths. For the latter group, says Dr. Karen Bemis, assistant program co-coordinator along with Dr. Rupa Misra, “it can be a way to shift the direction of their careers.”

Most importantly, the students’ work has practical application, says Citi Ventures’ Andrew Wegrzyn, who mentored three teams of UXD majors tasked with helping Citi improve user experience for customers in three disparate geographic locations: Boston, Jersey City, and Detroit. “The groups were each very diverse in their approaches,” says Wegrzyn, Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships, “but all addressed same issue.” Wegrzyn adds that the students’ perspectives and solutions will help Citi Ventures with internal design processes. Of particular value, he noted, was “looking at each pathway—at all of the different pathways—you can take to address the same problem.”

The externship opportunity was also extended to a limited number of Rutgers Honors College undergraduates who lent their own unique perspectives. While not as far along in their education, says Bemis, “they contribute considerable enthusiasm and pull their share of the work effort.”

The event provided a great networking opportunity for MBS students—enabling them to interact and connect with company mentors.

The externship opportunity is open to students of all majors during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. For students or companies interested in the program, please contact Dr. Christie Nelson, Externship Exchange Coordinator, at cnelson@dimacs.rutgers.edu.

           Spring 2019 MBS externship