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Guide to Ohio University Business Cluster – Everything Students Should Know

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ohio U chapter.

I just recently finished up project one for Integrated Business Cluster in Ohio University’s College of Business, and I have some things to say about it and some advice to bestow.

First Impressions

Business cluster can be scary at first, especially if you don’t know much about it, or in my case, barely anything. You hear horror stories from older students who have taken it before you; no one can possibly get an “A”, that you will hate your group, that you will have no idea what is going on, and countless more stories that will cause you to dread the semester before it even begins. These statements have partial truths, however, in my experience it wasn’t so bad.

Meeting your group

Chances are, you probably won’t hate your group, but probably won’t know anyone in it. It can be scary starting a group project with people you barely know, but as long as everyone cares about getting a good grade and everyone gets along, you will probably end up appreciating your group more than you think.

The CATME reviews will be your best friend, unless you don’t do your work. I’m not entirely sure I understand every aspect of the CATME scores, but I do know that it will keep your team on track and encourage your team members to do better work if they get a bad score. If you don’t know what CATME is, basically you fill out a survey after every “deliverable” or piece of the project is due, and you rate your team members performance, and give them feedback on what they can do better. Some people hate it, but personally, I found it very helpful. I am a pretty non-confrontational person, so this really helped me to tell my teammates what I think would make the team stronger without having to voice it verbally.

If you want to become closer with your teammates, it might help to actually discuss things out loud and create an environment where it’s okay to ask “stupid” questions and throw out ideas without much judgement. As long as everyone is contributing, you should get along with your group just fine.

Starting the project

Starting the project is going to feel like a pile of bricks was dropped into your lap. It feels like you have been dealt a great deal of responsibilities in a short amount of time, and you might not get the best grades you’ve ever gotten, but you will get through it. It can be very confusing. You get thrown a bunch of resources and a whole project without a ton of direction at first and a lot of different opinions from a lot of different people. It can feel hopeless, but I know you can do it.

It can be hard to want to do the work and keep going once you start. You might feel like the senior partners (professors) are all giving you different answers to the same questions, but as long as you do every deliverable, and fill out every aspect of the charge to completion with as much detail as possible, you will likely do well. The minor details might be annoying, and you might not want to do more and more research, but I promise the senior partners notice when you have extra attention to detail, and your grade benefit from it.

When completing each deliverable, make sure to listen to everything your professors say during class, and TAKE NOTES! I cannot tell you how many times taking notes during class, especially when they show examples of past projects, saved me and even gave me some clarity as to what the finished product should look like. The senior partners, though they may be confusing sometimes, are ultimately the ones grading you, so listen to everything they say and be sure to meet with them outside of class.

Meeting with the senior partners

Ideally, your group should attempt to meet with every senior partner during each deliverable. The senior partners want you to meet with them. Meeting with the senior partners will not only make your deliverables better, but it might offer some clarity as to what direction your project should be going in.

Make sure to contact your senior partners as soon as you can when it comes to meeting with them. Find a time that everyone in your group (or at least most of them) can meet with the senior partners, then email them about when you can meet. The senior partners are pretty busy themselves, and if you can’t find a time to meet with them because you waited until the last minute to meet with them, that’s on you. Even if everyone in your group can’t be there, it is still incredibly beneficial for at least one person from your group to meet with a senior partner and take notes on what they have to say, what you should add, and what you should change.

To prepare for these meetings, make sure you have questions prepared in advance. This is actually good advice for any meeting or interview. Having questions pre-prepared can make the process much smoother and less painless and make it easier to get the conversation started. It also helps to already have some of whatever deliverable you are meeting about finished, that way you actually have a product to discuss.

Moving through the project

As time goes on, you might get a little burnt out and wish it was over. Creating detailed deliverables every week can be hard, but just remember to take care of yourself. I just kept telling myself that it would all be over soon, and eventually, it was. Make sure to check in with your group members and work with them on everything. The senior partners will probably tell you not to split up the work, and to work on everything together. This is because the final report is supposed to seem as though it was written by one person, but, as you will see when you get to it, one person might go crazy writing all that by themself. The whole group must work together on every part and give each other feedback. This will also help during presentations, because then each person in your group will know about every section.

Communicating with your group is vital throughout the whole project. If you feel like something in the project wasn’t done right or that you aren’t getting to contribute what you want to contribute, SPEAK UP. In some groups, it is easy to get bullied into social norms and just go along with whatever your group wants, but you need to remember that this is your project too, and whatever grade you get on it will reflect on all of you. It is important to say what you are thinking. It is also important to remember to ask for help when you need it. I know how hard it is to trust other people and ask for help, but it is so much easier for you if you do.

Final report and presentations

Once you hit this point, it can be easy to get in the “I’m done” mindset and try and coast to the end, but remember that it’s important to stay motivated. This is the most important part of the project, where all the information you’ve gathered so far culminates into one final report and you create recommendations for the industry based on it. This is where is it most important to meet with all of the senior partners, because they will all be there for your presentation, they will all have a hand in grading your report, and they will ALL have different opinions about what to include. Like I said before, the more detail the better. Especially when it comes to the recommendations, the senior partners will want as much detail and explanation as possible. For the presentation specifically, the best advice I can give is to be super energetic and excited about your recommendations, and know what you’re talking about. My group had an issue with not knowing all the terminology we used in our presentation, so definitely make sure you know what everything you talk about means.

Final Thoughts

Basically, it won’t be as bad as you think it will be. As long as you give it your all and take it seriously, you will do a great job. Good luck!

I am a Sophomore majoring in marketing and business analytics with a minor in PR and advertising. I am excited to be writing for HerCampus and sharing my thoughts with y’all! Some fun facts about me are that I enjoy crocheting, watching movies, music, thrifting, theater, and pretty much everything tbh. Happy reading😘😘