Providing Students with the Tools to Move from Backpacks to Briefcases
February 12, 2020   //   By:   //   Campus & Community

Elizabethtown College strives to prepare its students for life after graduation, and the business department is creating new ways to do just that. With requirements towards business exposure, career preparation, and leadership and engagement, the business department’s new Backpack to Briefcase program is providing students with events and programs that will better prepare them for the future. With the help of its current students, the business department developed a program to provide Blue Jays with vital skills that they can use in their future careers.

Beginning next fall, this program will be required for all business students and will be added to the existing requirements of the curriculum. Students will be strengthening the skills that employers will be looking for in future job applications and interviews, giving them a leg up over their peers that may not have completed a program such as this.

“The program is intended to increase students’ soft skills, such as professionalism, written and communication skills, leadership, networking, and ultimately, to prepare students better for their careers,” says Dr. Cristina Ciocirlan, Chair of the Department of Business.

The program is split into three categories, and each is targeted towards a different aspect of the professional world. The business exposure category aims to show students different aspects of business and what professionalism means through attendance at seminars, events, or conferences on campus. The career preparation requirement is meant to engage students in career development activities on campus such as career fairs, career services events, or internships. Finally, the leadership and engagement requirement will develop important leadership skills in students and requires one leadership position for all students. “Making attending a certain number of these events a requirement will help students utilize the vast opportunities provided to them, which will benefit their future careers,” says current business student Hannah Hall.

When students complete their requirements, the program will be recorded on their transcripts. “Students could use learning from this program to market themselves better to a potential employer after graduation,” Dr. Ciocirlan says. Senior business student Jeremy Eberly states, “the Backpack-to-Briefcase Program is a fantastic opportunity to expand and make aware the vast number of opportunities available to business students to meet employers, gain new perspective-shaping experiences, and facilitate the transition from college life to the ‘real world’.”

There is also great potential for this program to move outside of the business department, as the skills students learn through this program are essential to anyone moving into the professional world. As Business Administration major Will Patterson puts it, “This is something I think has tremendous potential to develop for departments besides business. What Dr. Ciocirlan is proposing is more than a program; it is the beginning of a tradition within the Department of Business at Elizabethtown College.”

A full description and list of requirements for the Backpack to Briefcase program can be found at

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