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Four Year Experience

The Four Year Experience, initiated in Fall 2006, is designed to build academic and personal experiences through a year-by-year program. Each year (freshman, sophomore, junior and senior) has specific curricular objectives and other activities. In particular the Four Year Experience includes off-campus experiences designed to incorporate professional, cultural, and fun activities.

The Four Year Experience includes the following elements:

  • FLEX (Freshmen Leadership Experience)
  • First Friday Speaker Series
  • Travel Experiences
  • Hickingbotham School of Business Day and Luncheon
  • Mock Interviews
  • Career Planning and Professional Development
  • Free One Year Subscription to Business Week

Goals and Objectives:

  • Interact with business school faculty
  • Develop communication and technology skills
  • Meet successful business professionals
  • Engage in teamwork, leadership and confidence building activities
  • Survey the basic concepts and topics related to economics and business
  • Participate in freshman experience and trip

  • Examine accounting and financial analysis
  • Study basic economic concepts and issues
  • Explore personal financial planning
  • Develop analytical skills
  • Engage in applied business decision-making
  • Participate in sophomore experience and trip

  •  Examine the legal, social, and ethical business environment
  • Create a global business awareness
  • Begin business core / professional studies
  • Enhance interpersonal and social skills
  • Participate in junior experience

  • Launch job search
  • Integrate the core competencies and practices
  • Practice teamwork and leadership-building
  • Engage in business simulation model/competition
  • Complete professional studies (major/emphasis)
  • Participate in senior trip



The OBU Business Plan Competition primary purpose is to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship across the campus. Students first submit a written business plan which details the idea and provides support for its viability as a sustainable business; Five finalists are then selected to give an oral presentation before a panel of judges from the community who ultimately determine the winners. Prizes are awarded to the top three teams and are subsequently invited to participate in a joint competition with Henderson State University, and are ultimately encouraged to also apply to the statewide Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition. Winning teams have also presented their plans in other forums on campus such as the university-wide Scholars Day and the Executive Advisory Board meeting for the Hickingbotham School of Business.



The First Friday Speaker Series is a unique learning opportunity that brings together distinguished alumni, successful professionals, business owners, and executives to campus, and provides an engaging atmosphere for all students. The guest speakers share their experience in the business world, and lessons learned through their careers. As a result, students and faculty members gain insights about how these executives think and manage.



Each year, the Hickingbotham School of Business coordinates a trip for the Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior and Senior class to a nearby city. These trips are designed to provide out-of-classroom experiences for as many students as possible at no cost to the student. They provide a great opportunity to learn about different working environments and industries, and to network with executives, prominent alumni and friends of the university. A different experience is planned for each class.

Recent Trips:
Freshman Year: Three-day trip to Memphis, Tennessee
Sophomore Year: Three-day trip to Northwest, Arkansas
Junior Year: One-day trip to Little Rock, Arkansas  
Senior Year: Four-day Trip to St. Louis, Missouri

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