Virginia Tech’s Calhoun Discovery Program Reimagines Traditional Undergraduate Education
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Inspired and supported by Boeing CEO David Calhoun, The Calhoun Discovery Program prepares the next generation of leaders for the realities of today’s workplace where teamwork, creativity and systems thinking approaches to problem-solving are as important as the specific disciplines learned in college majors.
“We are excited to welcome AFP to our team of partners,” said Thanassis Rikakis, Founding Director of the Calhoun Discovery Program, Virginia Tech. “From day one, Calhoun students are tasked with working in a team setting with industry mentors to address in an integrative manner technological, business and societal transformation aspects of real-world issues.”
Through this partnership, AFP and Virginia Tech have created a Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) for Industry 4.0 work cell that provides opportunities for students to break down traditional academic barriers by collaborating with students from other disciplines to tackle real-world problems alongside multiple industry leaders. AFP will select a small group of experienced FP&A professionals to participate in project identification and selection, and to mentor students throughout the academic year.
“The Calhoun Discovery Program is challenging traditional undergraduate education, which often falls short of preparing graduates for success in the real world,” said AFP’s president and CEO Jim Kaitz. “Our involvement in the program provides an opportunity for FP&A professionals to apply multidisciplinary thinking with students from business, engineering, industrial design, information technology, environmental policy, data analytics, communication and other majors, as well as industry professionals from other disciplines. Through AFP’s partnership in this program, we will redefine the role and expectations of the CFO function as a strategic business partner across the enterprise and develop the resources the finance profession needs to succeed in Industry 4.0.”
The multidisciplinary style of the Calhoun Discovery Program approaches problems by considering financial viability and technological feasibility, ecological and socioeconomic sustainability, and inclusive human capital development. The students of the program learn to advance solutions that address each of these four areas to ensure sustainable and equitable development.
Along with a full four-year scholarship and an experiential learning grant of $2,500 each school year, students have access to Industry 4.0 design and prototyping studios for engaging the problem spaces hands-on. AFP joins Boeing, Caterpillar, GE Appliances, GE Aviation, and other organizations as partners supporting the mission of the Calhoun Discovery Program.