Fifth Third Bank executive talks with student team in class
 Hand writing note on yellow paper
 Fifth Third Bank executive welcomes teams to headquarters to make presentation
 Student member of FYIC team speaks at final presentation
 Student looks over another student's shoulder as she works on laptop

Head Start to Success: First-Year Integrated Core

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Becky Crews
Program Director, FYIC

The First-Year Integrated Core Curriculum Builds a Strong Foundation for Farmer School Students.

Business is searching for new hires who can think critically, creatively and conceptually, can understand coding and computational work, and can thrive in a constantly changing environment. Employers believe that college graduates are not adequately prepared in:

  • Ethical Decision-Making
  • Analytical and Research Skills
  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Working with Diverse Groups

We reviewed academic and practitioner literature and talked with our valued business partners. Then we researched the other top 50 business schools to see how they were helping students develop these key skills within their curriculum.

We learned that while some schools might work with students on an “as-needed” basis, no other school has an integrated core curriculum in the first year that is specifically designed to build the skills needed for student success in the workplace.

The eight credit-hour integrated core, which consists of four courses - Foundations of Business; Foundations of Business Communication; Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; and Introduction to Computational Thinking for Business - is required for all Farmer School first year students. Students move through these classes in teams, working together from the beginning of the semester to the end, culminating with a final client project.

The integrated core allows students to individually build critical skills and to work collaboratively for a real client, while working with real data. Students learn skills, apply knowledge and present their creative, computational and analytic findings to senior executives.

Impact of an Integrated Core

"A huge part of my interview was telling the hiring manager about the client project and explaining our process and final solution. She was very interested in everything the First-Year Integrated Core entailed and was extremely impressed that we had such an amazing opportunity as freshmen." - Catherine, FSB Class of 2020