Business Connections Serve Drury Students

Students who study at the Breech School of Business are expected to study business theory and retain what they learn in their classes, but being a business major at Drury also goes beyond learning in the classroom.

Dr. Michael Shirley, director of Breech, emphasizes that students need to take what they learn and put it to the test—out in the professional world of business.

“When you talk about studying business it really doesn’t work well if you do that just as to theory,” Shirley said. “You’ve got to combine theory with practice. You’ve got to make that connection to the business world. It has got to become real.”

Connect through internships

One major goal at Breech is to prepare students for the real world. Breech does this in a few different ways.  One way Breech prepares its students is by requiring an internship for them to experience.

Students commonly undergo an internship during their junior or senior year of school. Usually students receive an internship with the help of faculty at Breech, who have connections with business professionals. They can also find an internship through the Career Planning & Development office at Drury, where they organize and manage all internships. In addition, students sometimes find an internship through someone they know or through what they are interested in.

Breech students have received internships in a variety of places in the past.

“We had a young man do an internship with the FBI this past summer in Washington D.C.,” Shirley said. “One of our more interesting internships occurred last summer when two of our students did an internship in Malaysia. They satisfied their study abroad requirement and their internship there. We have a lot of different places where the students will do internships.”

Connect with professionalism

Another requirement Breech has is a professionalism class. This is a one credit hour class that students usually take while they are doing an internship.

“Our thought there is that when we’re teaching students the various business disciplines of accounting or finance or management, that’s very focused in on that business discipline,” Shirley said. “It’s not—however—focusing in on how it is that one conducts themselves when they’re out in a professional setting.”

The class looks at various issues that may happen in the workplace. Then they talk about how they would respond to that issue, in a professional manner. Some examples include communicating with co-workers, solving conflicts in the workplace, what is appropriate to wear to work or what is expected from a supervisor.

“What we want our students to appreciate is that there is etiquette in the workplace and you want to be appropriately prepared for that,” Shirley said.

Connect with business leaders from all over

Breech also offers other ways to connect its students with the business world. Faculty try and have students interact with other business leaders—whether that be through a business meeting or a taking students to visit a corporation.

“We want our students to not just be connected with the local business community, but also with the regional, national and international community because our mission is really to prepare that next generation of ethical business leaders in a global world,” Shirley said.

Studying abroad is also a requirement in Breech, as it allows students to be able to make connections with business professionals from other countries.

Shirley emphasizes that making a business connection is not just a local, but it is important to have business and cultural experiences in other places. Students study abroad because business is global.

These are only some opportunities Breech offers for students to make business connections throughout their time at Drury. Success cannot happen without these connections, according to Shirley.

“You normally don’t see success in isolation; it’s normally a part of connections, it’s normally a part of other people, it’s normally a part of a team,” Shirley said. “Highly effective leaders are only as effective as the team around him or her.”

For more information about Breech or about opportunities offered through Breech, contact Michael Shirley at mshirley@drury.edu or visit room 100 in the Breech building on campus.

Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.