While many of our students are off serving terms as interns in the business world, it would seem that the MIS gears slow to a halt during the summer months. In reality, the hustle and bustle of our Tuscaloosa office is as tangible and frenzied as ever. One reoccurring activity that absorbs much of our attention is the recruitment of our future generation of MIS super stars – Enter the Capstone Business Leadership Academy or CBLA for short. CBLA is a program that recognizes achievement from rising high school students and invites these students to visit our campus for a few weeks. During their visit, these students are given the opportunity to sit through many different lectures and provided with information about many of the business majors they could pursue, should they choose to enroll at UA. In many ways the CBLA mimics football recruitment here on campus, but instead of the recruits touring our workout rooms and practice fields, they are being fascinated by our computer labs and honors programs.
Our interaction with the program is to convey the power and culture of our MIS program, in only two nights with the recruits. The first night is an advertisement for our “work hard, play hard” motto, and we give the students a night to relax with Facebook, ice cream, and Xbox. The second night is where we then try to dive into what MIS is really about and this is where our Power of Information Game is introduced. The Power of Information Game is a mock scenario of a car company who it seems their only goal is to build a single car, assumingly so that they may then drive said car out into the sunset and live out their days in paradise. The students are split into about 13 teams, and are given virtually no instructions for their first round of play. Each group of students, whom acts as an individual car company, is given a list of parts they own and a list of parts they must acquire to complete their car. The first team to collect all car parts, in as few rounds as possible, wins. The game is designed to be played in three rounds and full of chaos. With each incremental round, each team gains understanding of the rules and the students are also provided with more information about other teams’ car parts. By the end of three rounds the students get to see how much more efficiently they completed the task, thanks to the additional information about their business environment. This game is very effective in teaching the students what we do, in the little time we get to spend with them – and our hope is that this understanding will lead them to choose MIS as a major down the road.
The hectic filled nights are very rewarding for us that get to take part. In many ways these young students, whom are usually naïve to the reality of our true impact on business, bring up many very high level questions and do well picking up the importance of our game. In order to continue to raise the bar on recruitment, CBLA offers the perfect opportunity to reach highly talented kids. Next semester is teeming with its own assortment of recruitment activities, but we will be eagerly awaiting next summer’s chance to once again enjoy the Power of Information game.