Summer program at LeHigh University empowers students to work with CEOs from major multinationl corporations.
By far the best WIL my students have ever experienced was the Global Village Program, a summer program at LeHigh University for students from all over the world, sponsored by the Iacoca Institute. Over a three-year period I was able to send six undergraduate students who worked with CEOs from major multinational corporations (like Mobil Oil, Harley Davidson, Caterpillar, Bank of America) on actual projects being developed by their companies - not just for a day or two but for five weeks. All of the stories I heard from my students when they returned to school in the fall were similar to the first I heard: A student was having breakfast alone on the first day of the program when the President of American Express joined him at his table and said "So Tony, what's it like growing up in Biggar, Saskatchewan?" Tony, of course, was awestruck. For the next five weeks Tony worked with the CEO and AMEX staff on a new product line. When Tony returned to our school in Calgary, his dream was no longer to own a Home Hardware franchise, but instead to get into finance. Last I heard, he was doing very well. For me, the key to a successful WIL experience is the opportunity to learn how to make decisions that are necessary in a standard business planning model. If the students are not making decisions, they are not learning what they are capable of accomplishing, and they are not learning how to change an idea into reality.