Indiana State University Newsroom

Meis Center helps business students hone skills

December 4, 2013

Amber Kemp locked eyes on the employer in front of her, rapid-firing answers to his questions in a friendly and upbeat, yet non-hurried manner as best as she could. She knew she had just minutes to leave a memorable impression to make her stand out.

Seven minutes later, the Indiana State University senior did it all again.

Kemp, a business management major from Terre Haute, met with multiple Indiana State graduates and potential employers during a speed networking event in the Scott College of Business. The Meis Student Development Center organized the event to give students the chance to network with professionals while helping them think and react quickly to questions posed to them in an interview-like setting. The Meis Center has developed an array of programs to help students hone the professional skills they need to be successful in the workplace, as they do not develop all of those skills in a traditional academic setting.

"There are all kinds of events that that Meis Center provides that you don't necessarily have in the classroom," Kemp said. "Once you learn the skills in the classroom, then the Meis Center teaches you how to apply all the other things that make you more marketable and a stronger candidate in the business world."

The Meis Center offers events ranging from the speed networking event to workshops on topics such as making ethical business decisions. The center features the Catapult Professional Development Program, a series of events for business students that Scott College professors can use to help their students develop additional skills.

"The Catapult Program is partnering with Scott College of Business faculty members to incorporate student professional development into their course curriculum," said Rebecca Wray, assistant director of the Meis Center who helped develop the program. "It's a professional development program where we provide the students with suggested events and activities to attend.

"By participating in the Catapult Program, Scott College faculty members can engage their students in developmental activities and initiatives that supplement their education without having to forfeit valuable class time," Wray added.

More Scott College students have been participating in Meis Center programming. More than 625 students took part in workshops during the 2010-2011 academic year; last year, the Meis Center recorded over 3,600 student interactions through Center events and programs . This semester, the Catapult Program teamed with 22 professors collectively teaching 42 classes of students.

"We have built more involved partnerships with faculty," Meis Center director Kim LaGrange said. "We've had quite a bit of success in getting students to come to events and workshops, but we want to go the next step of not just getting students to attend, but encouraging students to apply what they're learning at the workshop or the networking event, so that they'll get more out of it."

LaGrange, who also consults businesses and executives through her consulting company, Prime Resources, worked with Wray and Meis Center members Sara Williams and Kelly Wilkinson to expand the center's services, including the Catapult Program.

James Buffington, associate professor of management information systems in the Scott College, requires many of his students to attend multiple Meis Center events through the semester before writing reflections on what they learned from the event they attended. Most students write that they understand the benefits of the programming, and that they realize that they get more lessons out of the events than they do in the classroom, he said.

Students also get involved in the presentations. Kemp, who has attended Meis Center programs since her first year on campus, recently presented with Scott College professor Bill Wilhelm and another student about making ethical business decisions. Nearly 50 students attended the presentation.

"The presentation we gave wasn't for any specific major in the Scott College of Business," Kemp said. "The topic of ethics is something everyone needs to have a hands-on knowledge about, because one wrong decision can either harm your career or hurt your business."

Photo: Indiana State University senior Amber Kemp talks with a business professional during a speed networking event hosted by the Meis Student Development Center. The center, housed in the Scott College of Business, hosts events and presentations throughout the semester to teach business students learn the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. (ISU/Sam Barnes)

Photo: Indiana State University MBA student Yuxia Li participates in the speed networking event this semester. The Meis Student Development Center organized the event to help students hone their networking skills. The event featured multiple seven-minute rounds in which the business students would introduce themselves to Indiana State alumni and business professionals, who would then ask them questions about their experience and background. (ISU/Sam Barnes)

Contact: Kim LaGrange, coordinator, Meis Center for Student Development, Scott College of Business, 812-237-4580 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or