Career Center Supports Entrepreneurship

Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura, Student Engagement Fellow, Career Center

To the Editors:

I write in response to Katie Lucey’s article last week (“College Lacks Opportunities to Study Business”). As a recent graduate and staff member of the Career Center, I wish to clarify some additional opportunities to study business and entrepreneurship and speak to Lucey’s insight into a fear of failure among students.

First, Lucey argues that Oberlin’s lack of major in business or entrepreneurship is a sign of limited opportunities to study these subjects. Oberlin actually created a program 13 years ago to help fill this gap: the Business Scholars program, which trains 12 students in business, finance and leadership fundamentals before sending them to learn firsthand from prominent alumni in a variety of industries. Previously a Winter Term project, Business Scholars was piloted for the first time as a first-module course culminating in travel to New York City over spring break. Two of this year’s scholars participated in LaunchU, reflecting institutional shifts to maximize student access to a range of resources for experiential learning. In addition, I would suggest online platforms, such as LinkedIn, TAPPAN and Switchboard, to reach out to Oberlin alumni and learn more about postgraduate pathways in business, entrepreneurship or any other field. Information on Business Scholars and online resources can be found on the Career Center website under the lefthand tab “Set: Programs and Resources.” You can also schedule an appointment with a member of our staff or come to our drop-in hours, 3 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, for more information.

To Lucey’s second point, I also view a reluctance to take risks and potentially fail as an obstacle to success at Oberlin and beyond. Having worked hard to enter a top-tier college as a gateway to a better future, we often feel real pressure to maintain unblemished transcripts and stand out on paper for the sake of future competitiveness in the workforce. In reality, the resilience developed through experimentation and potential failure is the most valuable asset you can develop in your undergraduate career. If you looked at my resumé, you would see a number of prestigious internships and scholarships, but you would not see the dozens of rejections and failures that eventually made those experiences possible.

Lucey is absolutely right that the Creativity and Leadership Program and its stellar work is, in many ways, isolated. Those who have seen Oberlin from different perspectives know such disconnect is a hallmark of this place. However, many students, faculty and staff are hard at work redesigning our educational model to foster creativity, cultivate experimentation and synergize student services and learning outcomes. In other words, there are prime opportunities for enterprising students to engage in institutional change and develop skills critical to business and entrepreneurship. Whether you’re interested in this work or simply looking for guidance in your own education, I invite you to contact me at [email protected] or stop by my office in the Career Center.

– Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura
OC ’15
Student Engagement Fellow, Career Center