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“Connecting the Dots” – making the connection between my internship with an early-stage business analytics company to my life as college sophomore.
As a digital native generation, my world-view has always been filtered through a lens of connections. My mobile phone and laptop are connected to the “world” and are natural extensions of my body and my mind.
Not only did I grow up in this generation, I was raised in Atlanta, the high-tech and digital hub of the southeast. It seems fitting that when it was time to go to college, I would migrate toward a major in analytics and digital marketing. Following my freshman year, I had the opportunity to work as an internship at Orbit Reporting + Analytics. This blog post is my attempt to “connect the dots”. I want to try to do that by answering the following questions:
The first connection that I noticed almost immediately is in the area of human resource management, or human capital management. The more I considered it, the more I realized how much the business world can learn from a university.
Managers are paid to drive business improvement. A company that makes a product, such as an aircraft engine, focuses on the aircraft engine. They work for years to perfect a product, it’s all they think about and all they focus on. Managers use their resources and previous experience to produce the greatest and highest functioning product that they can.
In order to do this, managers must ensure that their company works in a goal-oriented environment. Through my work, I understand the need for companies to maintain common performance metrics, capture individual goals and consistent performance reviews, as a way to not only get the best out of people but also to support employees in their careers.
“Managers” at a university are the administration and professors. They are paid to graduate students. Professors work day in and day out to teach and test students, to give them learning experiences, and to expand their mindsets. Often, professors are given significant resources to assist their students in this growth. As a freshman, a day did not go by without checking on my goals, performance and priorities.
At Auburn, we use a campus-wide site that uses analytics software to collect and analyze real-time data gathered from weekly assignments, evaluations, and assessments. We are able to have generated reports on our progress and highlighted adjustments in our learning plan. I have been able to focus my studies and zone in on the sections giving me trouble, improving my learning abilities and future outcomes.
When I made the claim that businesses can learn so much from a university setting, this is what I mean. Allowing my education to be dictated by these analytics has given me an increasing number of quality and individualized learning opportunities. In a successful goal-oriented company environment, these same individualized opportunities are presented through progress and performance reviews and employee goal setting and have shown to be crucial to the growth of employees in return.
Imagine the impact that this type of mindset can have on the business world. Imagine a mindset of constant learning and improvement, cultivating growth even beyond the business world.
As a member of the future generation of leaders, I encourage existing leaders and business managers to incorporate a continuous feedback loop, using analytics to meet the heightened expectations of my generation and to help your employees grow and build a progressive learning mindset. To assume the role of teacher when appropriate and necessary. Becoming a facilitator of growth and learning, beginning with employees resulting in the growth of the company as a whole.
Natalie Colehower is a rising sophomore in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business at Auburn, majoring in marketing with a focus in digital marketing and information systems. This summer, Natalie has been working as a marketing and research intern for Orbit Reporting and Analytics.
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