The School of business fosters a strong sense of community among its learners. We try to make our students comfortable and at ease in their first week at the School. We aim to get you to know other students and to begin to understand some of the methods we use to enable you to learn while here.
For first years, this means doing a range of interesting and fun activities which get you in on the School of Business scene, get you to know us, and get you to know your classmates.
At graduate level, our aims are similar to those we use for our first years but we also aim at you getting to know some of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can use your time to enhance your personal journey.
School of Business First-Year Undergraduate Orientation
The School of Business at WIT has developed its first-year induction programme to help ease the transition into higher education (HE) for all commencing business students, be they traditional school-leavers, mature students, or international students.
It is widely acknowledged that entering HE can be a daunting and difficult time for most people. Thus the School of Business Orientation Day is designed to enable our students integrate not only from an academic perspective, but most importantly to integrate socially, be less anxious, and to develop an early sense of identity and belonging at WIT.
Commencing students are placed into their programme groups and engaged and empowered in a dynamic day of group-based activities with their new classmates, as well as meeting their programme leaders and first-year lecturers, along with School management and administrators.
The day is designed to be fun yet purposeful. Students familiarise themselves with their new classmates and lecturers, as well as physically and spatially orienting themselves to the WIT campus and key facilities and services, the School building and classrooms. The engaging, fun, and dynamic group activities help this familiarisation occur in a more natural and relaxed way, providing invaluable momentum and breaking the ice from the beginning of the academic year.
Some student testimonials illustrate the personal benefits of the School of Business Orientation Day:
" The day was a great opportunity to make new friends and the activities were fun "
(18 year-old Level 8 student).
" Groupwork ensures everybody is included and barriers come down quicker… by engaging in all activities every person got to know each other and the fear/nerves associated with starting college life were greatly reduced "
(18 year-old Level 8 student).
" Especially for a mature student… any form of activity that introduced me to the new environment in a fun and unpressured way was most welcome… the ice was broken… academia can seem like a foreboding place from the outside… getting to meet some of the lecturers was a relief for many… and found me looking forward to my first day of lectures "
(48 year-old Level 6 student).
Some photos below will give you a sense of the first day at the School.
Graduate Induction Programme
There is an Irish proverb that goes ‘tús maith leath na h-oibre’; a good start is half the work. The purpose of the graduate business induction programme is to provide students with ‘a good start’, however, claims that ‘half the work’ is complete may be excessive. All full-time taught postgraduate students in the department of graduate business participate in a week-long induction programme.
Inherent in any postgraduate business programme is an interactive classroom, a more independent learning philosophy and a greater emphasis on learning from your peers. We have found that for this type of learning to be effective, it is important that new students are aware of this new environment, develop the appropriate skills and get to know their colleagues. Consequently, you will need to acquire new strategies to help you to get the most from your time in the department of graduate business.
Your classmates will also be your teammates for some of your assignments, drawn together to achieve a common objective. Therefore, along with being a source of support and inspiration (and perhaps, at times, a source of frustration), it is essential that you get to know each other to establish good working relationships.
In addition, the department of graduate business attract students from a variety of disciplines and institutions: some new students will have come from non-business backgrounds, whereas others may not have previously studied at Waterford Institute of Technology.
The induction programme will introduce new students to the support services available on campus and the policies governing your studies. The week is also a chance to meet academic and administrative staff in a more informal environment before the ‘heavy lifting’ of the course work begins.
A key element of the induction programme is a discussion on the requirements of your programme. This is an opportunity to get to grips with modules, credits, weightings and award classification – turgid stuff, but essential when you are making decisions on where to allocate your time as the year progresses.
Induction week is a packed schedule of activities, workshops and presentations; an indicative agenda for the week is as follows:
Monday begins with welcomes and introductions. The great and the good of the School of Business in WIT will regale you with anecdotes of their youth (which becomes a more distant memory as each year progresses) while putting graduate education in a broader context.
The main purpose of Monday’s activities is to complete the final administrative elements of the registration process. This is important so that you can get access to all of the college facilities.
Next the requirements of your programme will be explained along with the choices that you may have to make where elective modules are being offered. The significant sections of your programme handbook will be described and any unique elements of the programme will be clarified.
One of the key skills that you will have to master on our programmes is an ability to manage your time effectively. This will be important across all your modules and we hit the ground running with a workshop on some strategies for more effective time management – ‘prevarication of the thief of time’, try not to let your time be ‘stolen’.
Tuesday is usually our off-site day (weather permitting). For this day you will be in a different environment to the more familiar classroom setting. The purpose of the day is to develop some key management skills and, more importantly, to get to know your classmates.
You will be asked to undertake a series of management team building exercises that will test your ability to communicate, innovate and work effectively in teams. While it is a fun day out, it does have a serious purpose and is an opportunity to see how you perform under different scenarios. Team dynamics come to the fore – the more successful are those that can arrive at a consensus quickly while bearing in mind the objective of the various exercises.
After a day in the outdoors, we return to the classroom for a workshop on ‘Working in Teams’. Having experienced some of the practical aspects of working in teams on Tuesday, in this workshop some of the key learning ‘takeaways’ will be explored. Skills that may prove invaluable later on your programme will be developed: including, setting group ground-rules, setting expectations, respect for others and conflict management. Indeed, these are the types of skills that are highly valued by employers.
During the induction week we invite a number of guest speakers to WIT. The speakers will be recent graduates and prominent business people. The recent graduates will talk about their experiences on their graduate business programmes and their careers to date while sharing some of the tips and pitfalls that they encountered along the way. The business people will discuss their businesses while reflecting on the attributes and decisions that made their businesses a success.
Thursday sees two workshops; one on academic writing and the other on graduate development and learning.
On some of your modules, it is likely that writing reports and literature critiques will form a major part of the assessment. Consequently, you need to develop skills that will allow you to perform well in these exercises. Business reports are written in a particular style that you will need to become familiar with. The purpose of the academic writing workshop is to help improve your writing skills so that you can score well in these types of assessments.
Moving from undergraduate to postgraduate can be a daunting prospect (although it is probably not as much of a culture shock as the move from second level to third level). Some of the learning strategies that you employed as an undergraduate may not be as effective as a postgraduate. This is because the learning can be less structured and more self-directed. Also the expectations of the academic staff can be higher.
The objective of this workshop is to help you with the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate, to make you aware of the differences that you are likely to experience and to help you to develop some new learning strategies.
On Friday, induction week closes with a careers workshop. For many of you, the reason for undertaking an advanced programme of study is to improve you long term career prospects. The purpose of this workshop is to present some of the potential career pathways that may present themselves as a result of undertaking an advanced level of study.
In addition, participants are encouraged to take a greater degree of responsibility for the development of their careers so that informed choices can be made. Advice on all aspects of the recruitment process is provided along with useful insights into the employer perspective.