BIT Showcase gives students opportunity to solve real-world business problems
The 2016 BIT Showcase was recently held in the Pamplin atrium. Each year, this showcase gives junior and senior BIT students the opportunity to present interactive project demonstrations they developed through class. Projects range a wide variety of topics, often relating to business problems that the sponsors of the showcase have. Altria and CarMax sponsored this year’s showcase, while several other companies attended to assess and engage with students. Each class was given one hour to present their projects to sponsors using laptop demonstrations and posters.
Professors Alan Abrahams and Michelle Seref organized the event, and acknowledge the value sponsors add by exposing students to real-world business problems and clients. “We are grateful to our sponsors CarMax and Altria for their generous support as our junior and senior students showcase their BIT semester projects,” said Abrahams.
Joe George, IT Director at Carmax commented on the level of students' engagement as well as his own, “We were privileged to see many students engaged in the real world business problems that we deal with every day. The amount of participation in our business exceeded my expectations. The students were very proud of what they accomplished and were anxious to share it with us,” said George. “As an Alum, it’s always great to go back to campus and interact with students who are going through a similar journey by building their skill sets and looking for their first opportunity for full time employment”.
Jocelyn Blanchard, IT Team Manager at CarMax also commented on the enthusiasm that participating students displayed, “I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the students pair their creativity and their technical skills to solving our real business problems; I really felt all the passion the students had around their projects.”
Altria Team members Stephanie Austin, Stacey Johnson, and Art Bell emphasized, “The BIT Showcase is a great forum for students to not only show their newly acquired skills can be applied to solve business problems, but also to practice selling their solutions, further developing communication, networking and presentation skills,”
Walter A. Griggs, III, Vice President for Business Intelligence at Lawrence Transportation said attending the event gave him and co-worker Nick Grant the opportunity to think about how future showcase projects could impact the company. “We spent the entire drive home thinking of our business challenges [the] students could turn into projects.” The students were pretty amazing. We were extremely impressed with their skills and engagement in their projects.”