By Team 2018 Member
Experience learning is extremely underestimated as a learning tool in today’s college learning curriculum. Currently, professors provide class objectivities and over 4 months students sit in a classroom listening and take an exam to prove that they understand the concepts taught in class. Taking a test about what they learned is easy compared to actually trying to apply it in the real world. This was made very apparent while networking with WMU alumni at Amazon, Microsoft, and Dropbox.
While at Amazon, we met Sal Masco, alumni from Western Michigan University. Talking with him, he spoke highly about Western Michigan University and their business program in regards to the knowledge gained in the CIS department and how he wants to give back to the college by being a mentor for college students. Sal also shared his experiences after his time at WMU. These experiences included an instance where a co-worker questioned Sal’s qualifications for a promotion, because his degree was not from an Ivy League school. Sal was open and honest with us about postgraduate life with emphasis on some of the struggles we might go through; like trying to find a healthy work-life balance. A quote he gave us that I find profound is “I don’t need to know it all; I need to learn it all.” This quote has stayed with me since leaving Microsoft because as I start to job hunt for after graduation, it feels like I need to know everything before I actually start to work at a company. Sal’s quote made the whole job-hunt seem less intimidating. As long as I am willing to learn, then there is no job that I can’t do. Sal continued by saying if you are willing to learn, then that drive will take you a lot further in life then already knowing the information.
Sal had great stories to share and had I not been there in person to hear it, I would not have taken as much away as I did. I learn best when I can be hand on and there are no better hands on experience than traveling to new places, networking with new people, and learning about business as it is happening.
Traveling and gaining real world experience has helped me both academically and personally. I can only hope that as education evolves with technology that the importance of experience learning is explored more and made a requirement of all areas of academics.