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Northwestern University

Getting an Edge in Business

The annual Business Bootcamp provides students with an essential grounding in key business concepts

When Weinberg junior Chris Bell ’15 decided to pursue a future in finance, he knew he would need to truly stand apart in order to get ahead in that highly competitive career field.

Bell remembered hearing about Business Bootcamp, a program run by the Harvey Kapnick Business Institutions Program, the previous year. He enrolled in this year’s program hoping to emerge with a solid skill set and professional connections.

Business Bootcamp is aimed at students across Northwestern who are interested in pursuing careers in business. It is designed to teach essential concepts and prepare students for professional positions, as well as highlight different career paths available to undergraduates interested in business.

“Students need supplemental programs to inspire them to investigate investment banking, consulting, asset management, equity research, private equity and other paths,” said Daniel Shedivy ’97, who worked with Distinguished Lecturer Mark Witte to co-found the bootcamp in 2002.

“If we introduce the fundamental concepts of business to them, they can take that foundation and set themselves up for success for the internship and full-time career opportunities that are best for them,” added Shedivy, who majored in economics at Weinberg College and went on to earn an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management in 2002.

An evolving program

Previously a one-day event that featured a few alumni lectures in accounting, finance and valuation, the Bootcamp, sponsored by financial services firm William Blair, evolved two years ago into a series of three sessions. The first two sessions focus on the rudiments of accounting, finance and strategy and culminate in a full day of small team cases that follow a fictitious company through different corporate events.

“The initial instructional sections were extremely helpful in that they allowed us to work through some financial principles at our own pace for a few days before the main bootcamp session,” said Bell, an economics and international studies double major who is minoring in Business Institutions.

Priyanka Melgiri ’15 said she also found all three sessions to be very informative, but enjoyed the third day of the program the most.

“It was a valuable learning experience that allowed students to put into practice the lessons they have learned in the classroom by applying them to real-world business cases,” said Melgiri, who is double-majoring in economics and political science and minoring in Business Institutions.

"All students are welcome"

While the majority of student participants are economics majors, the bootcamp always includes students from across the University.

“McCormick, SESP, Communications and even Medill — all students are welcome,” Shedivy said. “The mix is also healthy amongst the classes, as students realize that this can help them get an edge in internship recruiting, a critical step in identifying and securing the right long-term career opportunity.”

This year’s bootcamp included 75 students and featured more than a dozen alumni with exceptional business backgrounds from top investment banks, private equity firms, consulting firms and major corporations. The program generated so much interest that some students had to be placed on a waiting list.

“We would love to expand the program, allowing even more students to participate in the future,” said Amy Mynaugh, director of student-alumni engagement at Weinberg College.

Shedivy said the alumni who volunteer to teach the program often remark that they wish a similar program had been available to them when they were undergraduates.

“The alumni were among the best resources during the bootcamp,” Melgiri said. “Not only were they able to draw upon their varied and extensive work experiences to provide business insights during the case simulations, but they were also able to provide valuable insights to students looking to start off careers in business.”

Alumni interested in volunteering as team facilitators or lecturers for the 2014 Business Bootcamp should contact Dan Shedivy or Amy Mynaugh for more information.

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