by Erica Baumgardner '16
Economics major and business minor, Jinjie (Matt) Song '15, learned first hand about business and the challenges of urban living during the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Chicago Program. Song took temporary residence for the spring term in the heart of Chicago where he divided his time between classes, an internship, and exploring the busy city.
ACM Chicago was an opportunity for Song to further explore his studies. "Things I learned during the program reinforced all of the concepts I learned in business classes here at Knox," he said.
Students interested in any academic discipline can participate in the program, which has three main tracks: Chicago arts; urban studies; or business, entrepreneurship, and society. Each week, all students participate in the same core courses but branch off in groups for seminars in one of the three tracks.
During core class sessions, students focused on different components of the local community. Classes consisted of neighborhood tours, researching local businesses and their interaction with the local community, and evaluation of the cost and quality of the Chicago public school system. "The program offered me a chance to be a short term citizen instead of a long term tourist," explained Song.
On alternate days of the week, students focused on seminar classes for their specific track. Students in Song's track, for example, were responsible for working with peers on a start-up business proposal, which they received feedback on at the end of the program, and toured companies like the well-known couponing website Groupon.
In addition to these classes, ACM places students with internships based on career goals and interests. Because of his interest in the sports industry, Song was placed with Big Fan Mail, a startup that issues e-mail domains to sports fans. During the internship, he worked to drive customer awareness of the company using social media tools and created a marketing campaign.
"I got hands-on experience that I desperately needed," said Song. "The program helped shape my idea of what I'm capable of doing and things that I can improve upon."