Each fall, the Department of Accounting partners with Career Development to invite alumni from several major accounting firms to campus to talk to students about internships and careers in accounting. Last year's panel featured alumni from CohnReznick, Ernst & Young, Baker Tilly and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Williams School works with faculty in its departments and programs to host a series of special events throughout the year. These events are intended to supplement classroom learning and are open to all students, regardless of whether they major in a Williams School discipline.
The liberal arts environment allows students from many different backgrounds and majors to learn and consider principles of marketing and advertising. Points of on-campus engagement with marketing and advertising are hardly limited to students studying business or communications; the different academic disciplines offered at W&L allow students to approach these opportunities with a variety of perspectives.
Each term, the Williams School participates in the Council on Foreign Relations' Academic Conference Call series. The series provides students the opportunity to interact with a CFR fellow, Foreign Affairs author, or another expert in an hour-long teleconferenced discussion. Calls take place every other week during the term and are dedicated to different topics related to international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. Background readings are distributed prior to each call, and the audio recording is posted afterward.
The Business Plan Competition takes place at the conclusion of both the fall and winter terms and recognizes innovative student business plans. The program was launched in 2010 and has quickly become a cornerstone of the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship, helping students bridge the gap between what they learn in the classroom and what they will need to know in the real world.
The Entrepreneurship Summit is a two-day conference sponsored by the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. The event takes place each fall and provides an opportunity for students, faculty and alumni to come together, exchange ideas and develop valuable connections for current and future entrepreneurial endeavors. Each year, about 100 alumni come back to campus to participate in the program.
Once a semester, the Williams School invites someone who has excelled in business to return to campus as an Executive-in-Residence. The Executive-in-Residence spends several days on campus meeting with students, visiting classes and providing one-on-one career mentoring. As a part of the visit, the Executive-in-Residence also gives a public address on a topic related to his or her expertise.
The H. Parker Willis Lecture Series was founded by Emeritus Professor of Economics John M. Gunn '45 to honor the first dean of the School of Commerce, H. Parker Willis. Willis served as an economics advisor to Congressman Carter Glass of Virginia's Sixth District and was often called "the father of the Federal Reserve System." He was also a consultant to the House Banking and Currency Committee in 1912 and 1913, during which time the creation of the Federal Reserve System was being considered.
Each semester, students in Professor Drew Hess' Strategy Capstone class compete in the MikesBikes online business simulation. This six-week, team-based simulation offers students the opportunity to compete against each other in a format that simulates the cross-functional and interdisciplinary nature of business.
The Williams Schools hosts an annual summit on Social Entrepreneurship. Started in 2014 by Professor Drew Hess, the summit is devoted to fostering student-led social entrepreneurship. In addition to a keynote address, student teams pitch socially conscious startup ideas to judges, who award prizes based on style and content.