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College of Business & Technology to offer new Essential Business Skills course

Northeastern State University wants to better equip its students for the real world. The College of Business & Technology is introducing a new course in spring 2016 called Essential Business Skills a class to help students land their dream job after graduation.

The beginning of this course started over 10 years ago when Dr. Ken Jones, assistant professor, implemented the “Get a Job” project in one of his classes, which required students to sign up for NSU’s Career Services.

He said utilizing Career Services allowed students to gain interview experience and develop their resume.

“In a four-year period of assigning the Get a Job project, over 70 students landed an internship, got a job, or got a promotion. All because they were ready and had more confidence. Students are logical and if they aren’t ready, they won’t go look for a job,” Jones said.

The project expanded as Jones invited NSU’s Alumni Association to get involved. He asked 22 alumni to come to his class and give presentations about their experience in “life after graduation.”

“You wouldn’t believe all the stories and all the backgrounds. Stories about living in poverty and working their way out with an education. It was the NSU story,” Jones said.

Alumni speaking directly to the students about their experiences made that connection between the education and getting hired.

“The fourth night I had alumni come in, one of my students applied for a job while he was in class and got it within two weeks.”

Jones and colleagues saw this as a great opportunity to develop a course that could address the specific needs of students today in the new emerging career marketplace. By utilizing Career Services and the Alumni Association, the EBS course was born.

Jones, Dr. Jim Phillips, professor, Dr. Ernst Bekkering, associate professor, and Dr. Denise Deason-Toyne, professor, put together an advisory council of alumni and students who came together and started discussing exactly what was needed to make this course successful.

“We started talking about this idea of getting more soft skill development. Teaching them how to network, how to seek out mentors, how to get the job skills they needed that will help them in a competitive job search environment,” Jones said.

The EBS course plan revolves around NSU alumni presenting topics that develop these skills. Presentations cover a range of topics including planning personal finances, evaluating job offers, and generational differences.

Angela Buchanan, vice president of Safety and Human Resources at Melton Truck Lines, is a member of the advisory council who helped shape the EBS course. She and the council strived to help students better prepare for the years ahead.

“I am hoping students will connect with real live graduates and gain skills to secure and flourish in their dream job. Understanding the reality of the business world, developing and enhancing communication skills and self-awareness, and gaining live examples will bring their other classes to life,” Buchanan said.

The course is offered completely online as part of NSU’s Blackboard Collaborate Ultra software and will be made up of 15 presentations. Presentations will be made available online for anyone to view.

For more information regarding the EBS course, contact Jones at 918-444-2945 or

Published: 1/20/2016 11:17:31 AM

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