Universities have long served as an incubator for the business world. It’s where people go to learn the skills that they put into practice in their careers. The stronger the partnership is between schools and companies, the more our workforce will thrive. These are five ways we can see that happen:

1. From interns to mentorships

The internship experience for students is a given now, but our young talent is developed best when we take a proactive role.

“As part of our curriculum, we want every undergrad to have a mentor,” explains Kevin Stevens, Dean of the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola. “You can tutor them, explain what the career paths are … and when we get someone like the CFO of the Chicago Blackhawks in here, they like our students.”

Mentorships provide students with real-life experiences like dealing with a difficult boss or a layoff and better prepare them for a career. Schools like Loyola are even offering mentorships to disadvantaged kids, giving them opportunities into life-changing careers.

2. University think-tanks

Where better for businesses to find the highest-level consultants than at our nation’s universities?

“We have an alumni that started a nonprofit in Guatemala,” Stevens explains. “She was taking abused women to safety. They live on a commune, making handmade jewelry. That’s been a project in our marketing classes — how to develop the website, get on social media.”

From supply chain solutions to maximizing efficiencies, having an academic knowledge base can be invaluable to universities.

3. Targeted degrees

When universities work with businesses to understand their needs, they can offer further specialization.

“We also do a lot of training — at our school or onsite — with project management and analytics, particularly for big accounting firms,” Stevens explains. “We have a new certificate program, 10 weeks of the summer.”

4. Global connections

Loyola is part of a large international network of Jesuit schools. Universities can use their networks to provide business solutions, like corporate study abroad to bring global staff together in one place or to do research on new parts of the world for expansion.

“If you wanted to business anywhere in the world, we could put you in touch with another Jesuit business school,” Stevens explains. “It’s really quite powerful.”