Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dean Reinemund Shares His Vision With DC Alumni

By Buck O'Leary

Dean Reinemund outlined his vision for the Wake Forest University Schools of Business at a well-attended alumni event in Washington, DC, on Wednesday night.

Reinemund, joined by Andy Chan, the university's vice president for personal and career development, met with about 40 business-minded Deacon professionals off all ages and walks of life. The alumni had ambled over to the offices of law firm McGuireWoods.
Dean Reinemund eloquently presented his thoughts on the future of the graduate and undergraduate business programs and fielded a series of questions from parents, alumni and current students. He lit up when touching on the recent successes of the MA program, where the class size has increased tenfold, from 12 students at its creation to more than 120 in 2012. He described Wake Forest as the ideal place for liberal arts students to “find their fire.”

While the main goals of the fledgling MA program are diversity and job placement, Reinemund added that he was thrilled with the progress the program had made in a short amount of time.

Reinemund frequently reiterated that he believes anything less than a 100% rate of employment amongst Wake Forest business school grads is unacceptable. He spoke briefly about the advantages of combining the undergraduate and graduate business schools, at one point remarking that “the business school merger was done to make two good schools into one great school.” 

Wake Forest is also committed to improving the rankings of its undergraduate and graduate programs. “Our biggest challenge with the undergraduate business school is that students think it’s too tough," he said. "We’ve taken several steps to correct this problem which will hopefully have a meaningful impact on future classes.” 

Reinemund also discussed progress with the construction of Farrell Halland the uptown Charlotte campus, both of which he believes will set new standards for business school campuses aesthetically, functionally and technologically. He expressed confidence that Wake’s business programs will continue to climb in rankings. In the next five years, he believes it is well within reach for the undergraduate business school to be ranked in the top 10, the MS program to crack the top 5 and for the MBA program to break into the top 25. 

"Rankings are like market share; it’s important to have positive momentum," he said. “It’s important to us to make the high cost of education worth it."

Chan spoke about advancements in Wake Forest’s office of personal and career development. He said one of the great challenges for his office is to get students to start thinking about career development earlier on and to avoid a deluge of students scrambling to Career Services in January of their senior years. "What we’ve been wondering is how do we develop a system that helps kids think of their career trajectory earlier?” 

Chan also discussed the emphasis that Wake Forest has placed on Career Services in recent years, increasing staff in the office to 30 from seven, and adding several courses to teach relevant skills needed to excel in a tough job market. Though he conceded that some of the staff is temporary and that the school will need to raise more money to continue these efforts. He encouraged alums and students to join Wake Forest’s Career Connectors group on LinkedIn, which contains more than half of the student body and is being used to place students and recent graduates. 

All in all, it was a fun and informative evening. We can only hope that DC will have another opportunity to host Reinemund and Chan.

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