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Enriching the LeBow Experience: An Interview with Assistant Dean Brian Ellis

January 22, 2015

While LeBow students may not traditionally think of themselves as a good fit for national fellowships, there are definitely programs interested in the skills and experiences of Business and Economics students. Brian Ellis, assistant dean of the LeBow College of Business’s undergraduate programs, and his leadership team (LEAD), are eager to help students find the right opportunities. “It’s all about building and developing relationships,” he says.

Drexel Fellowships Office (DFO): Why do you think it’s important for LeBow students to apply for fellowships? 

Brian Ellis (BE): The DNA of this university is experienced-based learning and [some] fellowships afford students the ability to gain different experiences academically and globalize their education in a number of ways.

Fellowships also allow students to pursue research roles in a supported environment, and with both academic and financial backing. Students also gain access to a broader group of scholars and possible travel opportunities. 

What would you say to encourage students to apply for fellowships apropos to your college?

BE: It’s all about taking advantages of opportunities. Fellowships afford students the ability to enrich the whole academic experience. 

DFO: What are common obstacles that business students might face — if any — in applying for fellowships?

BE: Many fellowships involve research. And business students may think that doesn’t apply to them. They think, ‘I’m not a scientist or engineer, so this isn’t for me.’ And there is a view that business is more about making money than studying it as an academic pursuit. 

DFO: How can those obstacles be overcome or mitigated?

LEAD: It’s twofold: Knowledge. Information. For both the students and advisors.

We need to evolve students’ perceptions of what business is and what is possible when business works towards the common good by stressing critical thinking, giving back to the community, and good citizenship. 

DFO: What advice do you have for students who’ve previously applied for fellowships and didn’t get them? 

BE: Try and try again. Take more advantage of opportunities here at the university level. Help create a better CV for yourself. Continue furthering your personal credentials. And then solicit feedback. Develop relationships with faculty. With advisors. With the Fellowships Office. It’s all about building and developing relationships.