Author(s): Karin Pafford Roland and Kadir Yalcin
With average student loan debt tripling to more than $1.6 trillion since 2006 and the average student graduating with nearly $30,000 in student loans, college students expect both engaging curricula and skills development that ultimately result in long-term financial health. Concurrently, employers actively recruit students who have been exposed to technology systems and understand how individual decisions affect the whole and that a team-based effort for organizational decision-making is essential for financial success. This paper measures selfefficacy of career readiness and competencies when students participate in experiential-based learning, technology-enriched curricula. More importantly, the paper evaluates the effect of this curricula on minorities. Empirical evidence supports that experiential education leads to a deeper understanding of the subject than without, a capacity to think critically and apply knowledge in complex and/or ambiguous situations, and the ability to engage in lifelong learning both within and without the workplace. Autodidactic assignments are designed to provide students with both independent and team-based learning opportunities with progression from typical to complex. Successful completion of which develops critical thinking, problem solving, communications, collaboration, leadership, and intercultural skills in addition to technological proficiency. The curricula target undergraduate learners in a university where slightly more than one-half of undergraduate students are self-reported minorities. A Likert item survey was distributed across business disciplines in these technology enriched courses; Likert items were aggregated into two Likert scales. The results of this paper show that the curricula improved learning outcomes and thereby positively impacted employment options with no disadvantage to minority participates. Thus, the curricula overcame any initial dispersion in knowledge and readiness between minorities and non-minorities. (Finance, Data Analytics, FinTech, Experiential Learning, High Impact Educational Practices).