Johnson MBAs Advise Undergraduates at Berea College

Partnership between Johnson and Berea College gives MBA students and alums the chance to serve capable students from impoverished backgrounds

Johnson MBAs Advise Undergraduates at Berea College

Five Johnson MBA students recently returned from the annual Berea Service Weekend at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Every year, Johnson students and alumni make the trip to Berea, as part of a partnership between Johnson and Berea College. Formed over nine years ago by Johnson alumnus Joseph Bridy, MBA ’04, and the president of Berea College, Larry Shinn, the partnership brings Johnson students to Berea College to provide guidance to its brightest students, as they prepare for their career search.

Berea is unlike any other college, because its students do not pay for their education, but serve the school during their time there.  The school provides access to education for those driven and motivated, but financially incapable of paying for college. In order to be accepted to Berea, the applicant’s family must be under the national poverty line.  
To become a participant in the Berea Service weekend, Johnson students send their applications to a committee, which carefully selects a team based on the applicants’ professional backgrounds and areas of interest. The committee strives to choose a group of students that will be most helpful to the unique needs of those at Berea. This year’s MBA participants were:
Giselle Balagat MBA '12, Elisa Dobbins MBA '12, David Brown MBA '13, Mike Weaver MBA '13 and Nora Hansanugrum MBA '13.
The service weekend also typically draws an impressive crowd of Johnson alumni. Many continue to return for years after graduation, and represent a wide variety of industries and companies. MBA students and Johnson graduates participated in discussion panels, met with students to conduct mock interviews, provided guidance on resumes, career goals, and academic goals, and enjoyed social time with Berea students.
“The students that I met with at Berea College have amazing backgrounds and are truly impressive. The fact that they all manage full-time work schedules with the rigor of a full-time college education is truly inspirational,” says first time participant Michael Weaver, MBA ’13. “I hope that the students I met with learned as much from me as I did from them,”
The February 2012 weekend was the second for Elisa Dobbins, MBA ’12, who says that her time spent at Berea was a humbling experience.  “I sometimes take for granted that I have always had the support of my family, that access to great education, and confidence in myself,” Dobbins says. “This weekend continues to prove to me that this isn’t the case for everyone.”

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