For more than a year, the University of Montevallo Stephens College of Business (SCOB) has partnered with Central State Bank (CSB) to provide marketing support. This partnership allowed the SCOB to broaden the practical educational opportunities for students, providing them access to real-world experiential learning opportunities.
The collaboration began with Stephen Craft, dean of the college of business, and Mitt Schroeder, CEO of Central State Bank, discussing how the bank provided practical examples of problems that students were learning about in the classroom and that the input of students could be very valuable as the bank attempts to compete for younger clients.
“It became clear that Central State Bank faces many of the challenges our students discuss in the classroom. This partnership allowed CSB to get real-time research and answers to their problems,” said Craft. “The partnership allows students to interact with a live client in the classroom where the students are able to provide novel ideas that might never have occurred in a bank.”
SCOB students have the opportunity to work in the classroom on real-world marketing projects, obtaining experience with problems that businesses encounter on a daily basis. Because of this, students of the SCOB learn the ins and outs of working with a client while in an academic environment.
“We have gained new awareness into the services and delivery methods we should strongly consider,” said George Henry chief operating officer of Central State Bank. “With the overall pace of technological change affecting Banking more quickly than in years past, the bank is using this information to modify strategic goals.”
The partnership also created opportunities for students outside of the classroom, and Craft expects it will allow for more internships while continuing to foster this relationship has strengthened both the college of business and Central State Bank.
UM student Danielle Roberts, who had the opportunity to intern at Central State Bank, found the experience gave her new insight into the fundamentals of marketing she learned about in class and has been one of the most valuable in her time at UM.
“I cannot imagine another university which strives so earnestly to support the success of its students in such a personalized way,” said Roberts.