North Texas Daily

PLP innovation helps develop analytical thinking skills

PLP innovation helps develop analytical thinking skills

March 06
22:27 2013

Daniel Bissell / Staff Writer

The Professional Leadership Program is developing a new concept that aims to help students cultivate and exchange ideas with their peers and professional companies.

“It would be what I’d call a pilot,” director Billy Johnson said. “The idea is to get the students that we have in place introduced to innovation. We want them to have a place where they have tools and can learn how to generate ideas, think critically and think analytically.”

Johnson said students in the program have gone on to work for major companies such as Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo, Fidelity Investments, Northwestern Mutual, Pepsi-Co, Frito-Lay, among others.

Student director and business computer information systems senior James Konderla said the PLP taught him professional skills that landed him an internship and a full-time job offer.

“I’ve become a lot more open since I became involved with PLP,” Konderla said. “I landed an internship because of the confidence in my skills and the chance to practice those skills that the PLP gave me, and through that internship I gained a co-op and a full-time job offer.”

Johnson said that the program will assemble an innovative team approach to develop analytical and critical thinking skills.

Assistant director in the College of Business Rachel Cleveland said the strategy will provide students with the chance to get involved with companies throughout the region.

“It’s kind of a new idea for us to get companies involved, and to give students a real-world case study,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland said the PLP is open to students of all majors.

“The skills the students are going to be learning may be business-oriented,” Cleveland said. “But these skills are applicable in any industry a student might get into one day.”

Cleveland said the innovative approach will give students invaluable skills as they enter the workforce. She said both the students and companies can benefit from the project.

“At the end of the day, not only are students getting a phenomenal opportunity to learn how an idea on paper becomes a reality of a business plan, a business model, or an action plan, but companies are also able to see that this generation thinks differently about certain things that they may not have been able to come up with on their own,” Cleveland said. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”

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