If you are a student looking for work experience, IDS 297R, The Applied Learning Project, might be a good opportunity for you. Students learn leadership, project management, and teamwork skills that benefit their future careers and lives. The Applied Learning Project is completed through ALPS | Basic, a program created by the Research and Business Development Center (RBDC). Each semester, different companies submit project requests to the RBDC, and students are matched to a project based on interest and ability. Students then work with a group of their peers to complete the project.

The students in each group have diverse backgrounds. Some are international students, others are business and communication students, and of course there are Interdisciplinary Students with a variety of emphases. This creates a wonderful dynamic in the groups where people are bringing their best to the table to create ideas and solve problems that no one student would be able to achieve alone.

It may be daunting to jump into the business world for students with no business industry experience or education, but keep in mind that this class is designed as a sophomore level internship so “we don’t expect you to have any expertise,” says Brother David Palmer, the professor for this course. “It’s not strictly business although it’s definitely business oriented. There are no prerequisites. So, we don’t expect you to have any [specific] skills coming in.”

“There is a place and a need for all students interested in learning.”

So, what majors would be the best fit for this class? While the projects are often focused on human resources, business management, and other business-related topics, there is a place and a need for all students interested in learning. Recently, one group of students was assigned to a project to improve the social media marketing for a company, which was a topic they knew nothing about. “So, they learned lots of stuff!”, says Palmer. “Everything there was to know about how to come up with a schedule, how to create content in advance, and how often should it be posted.” Ultimately, students are encouraged to “be ready to learn!” Everyone’s perspective is needed in this class. IDS 297R is all about learning the skills needed to complete the project at hand.

“IDS 297R is all about learning the skills needed to complete the project at hand.”

“Even if you have a bad experience. Even if your project flops…Those are valuable experiences to include on your resume,” Palmer explains. “It’s not so much the development of skills as it is a gathering of experiences in teamwork, leadership, ownership, understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, and taking a challenge and seeing it as an opportunity for growth.”

This is a no-risk class for students. All that is required is that you are willing and able to put the time in to learn. This is a wonderful way to have job-applicable experiences and to make an impact on the business you work with. For interdisciplinary students, this class gives you the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary team and apply your course work to the real world.