October 5, 2010

Companies partner with Fisher to launch Industry Clusters

Corporate executives representing five major companies joined with Fisher faculty and undergraduates at Pfahl Hall to launch Industry Clusters, an innovative pilot program designed to advance students’ career prospects.

Health care and energy/sustainability are the first two clusters offered to the 47 students selected to participate in the pilot. Through coursework and projects led by corporate executives, experts in the fields and Fisher faculty, students participating in the pilot will have intense exposure to a specific industry during their junior year.

“I like to think of this program as the heart of our land-grant mission—focusing on industries that are pertinent to our economy and the future economic development of our nation,” Christine A. Poon, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business, said during the kick-off event. “You will learn from the best people who practice in those industries today,” she told students.

Cardinal Health and OhioHealth have partnered with Fisher to participate in the health-care industry cluster. Alcoa, Accenture and Dow Chemical will provide energy/sustainability programs.

The cutting-edge program is especially targeted at students who are not currently participating in Fisher’s three honors programs—cohort, contract or accounting honors.

“We want to bring the honors and MBA experience to more of our undergraduates,” Poon said.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this great opportunity for students to test drive the health care industry,” said Sally Curley, senior vice president for investor relations at Cardinal Health. “This is also giving students the opportunity to gain visibility with a corporation.”

Peter Giammalvo, vice president of organizational development at OhioHealth, said his company is looking to this program to support their recruiting efforts for both internship and permanent employment.  “This is a pipeline for us,” Giammalvo said.

Jennifer Seeley, a senior manager for Accenture and a Fisher alumnus, said her company has an interest in developing the skills Accenture requires from future employees.

“We’ve done a lot of work with clients to address the issue of sustainability,” Seeley said. “We think it’s important to try to educate those who are coming into the workforce so they can be prepared to address and immediately execute what businesses need to become sustainable enterprises.”

The Dow Chemical Company has been a strong supporter of Fisher, most recently the company has been active with Net Impact. "We love Ohio State and working with the great professors and students; we've had a great relationship with the business school," said Darren J. Gross, Global Supply Chain Director for Dow. "We know the cluster program is the right thing to do. We can see that this is going to be very successful, that's why we wanted to help and be a part of it."