Students receive hands-on experience with professional companies

Morgan Ball

The College of Business CyBIZ Lab program kickstarted with the start of the spring semester.

CyBIZ Lab allows students to work with professional companies to solve real life situations as part of their education at Iowa State.

Last fall, at the beginning of the program, CyBIZ hired four graduate students to set the layout of CyBIZ. Three undergraduate students have been hired so far, and the program is looking to have a total of eight students within the program.

The graduate students are essentially the team leaders, and they help with specific business projects while also managing the program.

There is a wide spread of skills on the team, as well. The students do not need to be a business major, but they do need to have interest and desire to participate in the program.

The undergraduate students tend to have more of a narrow skill of interest, and the grad students can assist them to help enhance their learning experience.

Business cases have been in the classroom settings for many years but the program allows students to obtain more experience.

“The program is great for students because there is nothing more rewarding than taking what you have learned in the classroom and applying it to real life,” said Zach Lenhart, junior in supply chain management.

Currently, CyBIZ is working with WebFilings, Iowa Arboretum, CH Robinson and Prairie Rivers of Iowa.

The projects vary depending on what the company needs. Iowa Arboretum and CH Robinson are two companies that have asked CyBIZ Lab to create a survey that will help pinpoint future goals and values of the clients.

Some other projects might include market analysis, industry research and financial analysis.

“CyBIZ allows for a more-relaxed and flexible schedule, so there is more time to serve the companies,” said Judi Eyles, CyBIZ program coordinator.  

The program is also a great way to help direct companies to specific services that may help them. CyBIZ allows a wider venue to help serve companies and students.

“The program allows us to organize the control in one central place,” Eyles said. “This gives more opportunities for projects.”

Both parties benefit from the program. Companies receive a fresh view on business issues and they tend to like working with students. The company has “new eyes” without having to hire a full-time employee.

“The program is a great benefit in networking,” said Alex Andrade, graduate in business administration. “The program may lead to internship opportunities, as well as full-time employment after graduation.”

Acceptance into the program has an intensive interviewing process along with summiting a resume and proving a general interest in business. The students do not have to be business majors because specific projects might need certain areas of expertise.

An example of someone who would be hired with a nonbusiness major would be if a business of a technical focus came to CyBIZ and asked for their help. A student from engineering might be hired to help with this certain project.

The team works every week on the projects, and they are currently working on eight different ones. The hours are flexible for the students and they typically work ten hours a week.

The main goal for CyBIZ Lab is to help students receive hands-on experience. The companies benefit from receiving ideas from sources other than their employees.

“I am excited for the new projects that will be coming in,” Lenhart said.