First started in the fall of 2013, the Nebraska Business Honors Academy attracts high-ability students who want to experience a four-year, cohort-based enhanced business education program. On average, 26% of academy graduates attend graduate programs while the others work in selected fields earning $10,000 more than other graduating seniors.
“Our students bring exceptional skills and achievements coupled with the desire to challenge themselves and find ways to positively impact the academy, the College of Business and the university as a whole,” said Erin Burnette, director of the Nebraska Business Honors Academy. “Participating in the academy enhances their Nebraska experience and contributes to their academic growth in the classroom, leadership exploration in student organizations and campus activities, and deep individual discovery. Each year, I continue to be pleasantly surprised by our students’ willingness to be inquisitive about both themselves and the world around them. They are eager to learn how they can be the best version of themselves and use those skills to create positive change in the communities they will serve as a person and professional in their future careers.”
The 40-45 students selected into the academy each year come from across the country. They complete most of their foundation and core business courses together using action-based learning focused on the development of critical thinking, technical and communication skills.
“As an out-of-state student, I was worried about finding my place at Nebraska, but the academy made the university feel much smaller and was my home at Nebraska,” said Molly Olander, a senior honors academy student and actuarial science major from Burnsville, Minnesota. “From day one on campus, I had a group of students who would be beside me for the next four years. Through classes, study sessions, group projects, social events and simply spending time together in the College of Business, we have grown up together.”
The academy courses, taught by top faculty, allow students to discuss and develop solutions for real-world business problems and create the social and intellectual bonds necessary for the ever-changing business world. Outside of the classroom, students create a strong social community, discuss leadership trends and topics with campus and community partners, and visit with business leaders and corporate executives from across the country.
“From networking with partners and leaders, I have sharpened my communication skills and learned how to better market the programs I am a part of and myself. The power of connections and networking is often underrated, and it is important to give back and take any opportunity you are given,” said Olander.
Through individualized coaching and mentorship from Burnette and Rebekah Neary-DeLaPorte, assistant director of the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, and non-competitive relationships with their peers, academy students quickly immerse themselves into all that Nebraska offers. They are involved in student organizations and campus activities.
“Experiences like the Leadership Challenge Event placed me on a team to solve an abstract problem by working together to find a creative solution,” Olander said. “At the Travelers Actuarial Case Competition, I got hands-on experience working on a problem I would see as an actuary.
More than 60% of academy students intern at two or more businesses or nonprofits. After graduation, 62% of academy alumni work outside of Nebraska.
“The business knowledge and skills developed have been helpful in preparing me for life in the workplace after graduation. I gained leadership skills, expanded my worldview, learned to work with teams to reach common goals and became close with an outstanding group of individuals who have pushed me to be my best self every day,” Olander said.
To learn more about the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, visit: https://business.unl.edu/honorsacademy.