By Dr. Daryl Green, Dickinson Chair of Business
Students from Oklahoma Baptist University’s Paul Dickinson College of Business recently visited the Shawnee Regional Airport Nov. 10 to discuss operations management and how this concept applies in today’s businesses. The students are part of the production-project management course.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s economy added 161,000 jobs in October, fewer than expected. The final jobs report, which was released Nov. 4, showed that the unemployment rate returned to 4.9%. In this economic climate, current and future college students need to be prepared for the future ahead.
The City of Shawnee owns the Shawnee Regional Airport, which was built in 1953 as part of the national defense for the nation. Keenan English, assistant airport manager, welcomed the visit by students because the interaction is invaluable.
“Our operations are about as specific as it gets…the tools students will learn in any management or business degree program will apply to just about any industry regardless of specialization,” English said.
He then explained the benefits of these activities to college students. “As valuable as the college classroom environment is, there is no better substitute for learning than real world hands-on experience.”
Current research advocates engaging students in the learning process so that they can develop meaningful skills like problem solving and critical thinking. Thus, showing them how their university studies connect with the real world is invaluable.
Dr. Daryl Green, OBU assistant professor of business, promotes the interaction with students and businesses.
“In the process of academic life and the daily grind, I feel students get disconnected from the real world,” he said. “Problems are not easy. Businesses struggle to find the right solutions but often times not according to the textbook.”
Green understands the value of practical experience, being a former government engineer. In 2016, he retired from the Department of Energy where he worked in the Environmental Management Program for more than 27 years. Before his 30th birthday, he had already managed more than 400 projects, estimated at $100 million dollars.
Students agree on the benefits also. Senior Brandon Garrett, a management major, explained, “They [visits to businesses] are beneficial because students get a real life look at what the actual business world is like.”
Jill Shipman, a senior management major, agreed. “I really enjoyed the visit to the airport. It allowed us as students to understand on a realistic level how operations work at an organization. The visit also allowed us to meet with a professional who can provide us with inside information on how operations work and what we will need to know before we enter the workforce.”