The Senior Experience is a rare and special offering, not often found in most programs.
Our Senior Experience was conceived from the following multifaceted goals:
- Provide all honors students (regardless of major) with content not already available in the traditional curriculum to further promote their attractiveness and competitiveness in the employment marketplace
- Employ an option customizable to the needs and characteristics of this group
- Integrate with the senior capstone (MGT 491)
- Offer an immersive environment for individual and team application of specialized content
- Be professionally useful and applicable in the future
- Showcase a unique capstone option in recruiting efforts
- Include a celebratory end-of-program/graduation component
Additionally, it addressed alumni feedback to further prepare students for middle management, rather than simply entry-level employment. Specific topics for inclusion were culture, leadership, & dealing with “workplace political red tape”.
Our current Senior Experience is an integration of the required, case-study based, business capstone course (MGT 491 – business strategy and decision-making) with a custom Disney Institute program. Disney Institute is the professional development branch of The Walt Disney Company used to train, develop, and share best practices with business and their executive leaders, many from Fortune 500 companies. This experience provides an immersive learning opportunity, applying The Walt Disney Company as one of the many case studies employed in the course. The Miller Business Honors Program is one of just a few undergraduate programs in the country to employ the expertise of Disney Institute.
During fall semester of the students’ final year, preparations begin. Faculty and staff work with Disney Institute facilitators and content development specialists to create the annual program. Students read and analyze articles about The Walt Disney Company, including its history, its applicable business decisions and transactions, as well as its corporate culture. Additional readings focus on Leadership of Self and Leadership of Others.
Soon after the MGT 491 course begins in spring semester the group travels to the Walt Disney World Resort® in Orlando, Florida. This multi-day experience includes
- participation in full-day Disney Institute facilitated workshops, seminars, speakers, & examination of implementation of in-park business practices
- analysis of on-site, third-party companies
- ·observation of corporate culture
- examination of on-site business decisions and comparison/contrast with local, known businesses
- MGT 491 integration debriefing
- reflection of Disney practices in application to individual student career experiences, goals, and industry-specific functional areas
- celebrations at an evening reception
- ·optional additional student-funded day of freedom
The Disney Institute on-site facilitators are Disney veterans who are accomplished business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, and executives who use dynamic stories and demonstrations to explain effective business models and concepts.
Upon return to the university students complete a faculty-directed individual &/or group project. The Senior Experience is virtually the only component of the Honors Program that has a nominal fee.