Dr. Mark Meehan, Associate Professor of Business
Through close mentoring, multiple internships, and project-based courses, Rivier business majors uncover their passion and purpose.
Knowing Your Goal is His Business
Some majors and degree programs have clear and specific paths; others, like business, offer an incredibly wide range of opportunities. Associate Professor Dr. Mark Meehan makes it his business to help students find their purpose.
One-on-one advising, mentoring, and connecting: These are some of the ways Dr. Meehan helps students determine, then reach their goals.
Crafting a Course for Individual Goals
“What is it that you want to do? I mean, where do you really think you want to go?”
Dr. Meehan says asking that two-part question—and getting an authentic answer—is key to “terrific advising.” Finding a more specific goal within the broad field of business can direct a student’s choice of elective classes and internships.
An example of this approach would be how Dr. Meehan guided a freshman who knew her vision was to be in business but also likes equine science.
“She grew up with horses and wants to work with horses for the rest of her life. So we sat down and created a program,” he explains. Online equine science courses from another institution and intentional internships would supplement the finance, accounting, and strategic management knowledge gained through the business degree.
“This personalized path was possible because we know her, because we believe in what she wants to do. And we’re willing to come alongside students and see it happen,” says Dr. Meehan.
Another student—a drummer with a creative, artistic side—couldn’t quite figure out what majoring in business could do for him. Throughout many meetings, they discovered the student’s passion was in craft beer. Dr. Meehan helped him find a craft beer seminar to attend to gain industry knowledge; and they spent three months making calls and visiting craft breweries until they found the right internship. That student is now nearing graduation, and Dr. Meehan says he’s able to pursue opportunities in an industry he loves.
“That’s Riv. That’s because we got to know him,” explains Dr. Meehan. “We found his passion. We connected him to it.”
Interning … More Than Once
Gaining real-world experience in a professional setting is essential for skill-building, but an internship also helps students better understand their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. All of this can inform career goals.
“The internship program is an exciting thing at Rivier,” says Dr. Meehan. “Our business students have opportunities for three internships over three years.”
The planning for the internship, though, begins during freshman year. Dr. Meehan explains that in his business communication course, students explore thought-provoking questions such as “What is happiness?” and “What is work?” They also interview others about their careers.
“It’s from that context that they begin looking for internships. They write cover letters, they create resumes, and they get prepared,” he explains.
When a student is ready to pursue their first internship, Dr. Meehan says faculty advisors might ask, “Who are you now?” or “Are you a big company person, or a small company person?” Not knowing the answers to those questions is OK. That’s why Riv offers multiple internship opportunities. Dr. Meehan finds value in what he calls “comparative internships,” in which students take a similar role at two very different companies.
“The really fun part is then sitting down, talking with them, and having them compare the two,” he explains. He’ll ask questions like, “Do you love the chaos of a small startup? Or do you need the order of a corporate environment?” or “Where did you see yourself come alive? Where did you find yourself feeling bored or unchallenged?”
Comparing these two experiences, Dr. Meehan says, allows students to be more intentional about choosing their final, senior internship.
Building Businesses that Benefit the Community
Dr. Meehan’s work impacts students individually, but it also reaches beyond campus. His popular entrepreneurship course takes students into the real world. Students, divided into teams, are charged with creating a “double-bottom line” organization: a business that is both financially sound and contributes directly to the community in a positive way.
“It’s not enough to just have a profitable business. It’s a profitable business that impacts people’s lives,” he says. “We see students do it every year, and it’s absolutely remarkable.”
The course ends with a live pitch contest, in which students have five minutes to share their concept with a panel of local business leaders. The winning team receives a startup package of cash, office space, and advising services valued at $20,000 to move their business idea forward.
The close-knit community of Rivier allows for this personal academic and career guidance.
“We know who you are when you walk in the classroom. We know your dreams, we know your hopes, we know your vision,” says Dr. Meehan. “And we create a program that really works for you to realize that dream,” he says.
Learn how Rivier’s B.S. in Business Management program can help you reach your goals.