College of Business introduces Mendoza SMART to assist students in discernment process
Ashton Weber | Thursday, March 21, 2019
For the past two years, the Mendoza College of Business has been building and testing a mobile app for undergraduate advising. The application, called Mendoza SMART, allows students to explore a breadth of opportunities and aims to help with the major discernment process.
Alison Levey, Mendoza’s associate director for advising services, said many students enter the college with predisposed ideas about what they might be interested in.
“We feel like a lot of students come in with a very predetermined idea of what they want to major in … and we often feel like they are under-informed about all of their possibilities,” she said. “Then they self-select out of events where they might hear the thing that makes them [consider other options].”
Levey said she hopes Mendoza SMART will encourage students to explore other disciplines within the college so that they enter fulfilling work after graduation.
“We wanted to try and find a fun way for students to get exposed to more things — both for making their major decision … and for doing things to prepare them for the recruitment process,” Levey said. “Really, this is about broadening our students’ horizons and getting them to look at all of their options so that they make an informed, intentional decision when they choose their major.”
The app presents students with challenges such as attending lectures, meeting with professors, updating LinkedIn profiles and engaging with student organizations. Upon completing these challenges, students receive points, which can later be redeemed for prizes. One of the most popular prizes that students can earn is preferential registration for one business course. In addition to challenges, the app also features advising alerts, Mendoza news and campus updates.
Mark Kimmet and Diego Wang, the app’s developers, said that a mobile app seemed like the best way to reach students who are already inundated with emails.
“Mobile apps are better in today’s world. … Students have smartphones in their hands that they always check, so we think this is a better tool to communicate with students [than email],” Wang said.
Levey echoed the sentiment that many students feel overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive, to the point that they may begin to avoid them. She said she hopes the app will give students a more streamlined way to receive information and that it will improve dialogue between students and advisors.
“[The app] is very user-friendly and straightforward and it keeps information out of email and in a compact, easy way to [access],” she said.
Kimmet said the app’s communication features have been updated so that the most recent version will strengthen students’ access to advising tools.
“This time around, we’ve added more availability for communication through push notifications,” he said. “This gives the undergraduate advising office the ability to send out some news about general advising and the challenges.”
Kimmet and Wang also designed the app so that it is integrated with the platform “YouCanBook.me”, which will allow students to easily book advising appointments.
Mendoza intents in the class of 2022 will be joining the app next week following meetings with their advisors. Levey said that, with next year’s dissolution of the First Year of Studies, the app will be used by the class of 2023 in the Fall to begin their discernment process even earlier than previous classes.