Learn career skills for success.

led by Scott Cochran

The Institute is where college students and recent college graduates get prepared for the workplace by learning and practicing business skills. No matter what you plan to do after graduation, The Institute will help you stand out in a crowded job market and be successful in your career and in life.


President Scott Cochran


Career Search Skills

Find, Go After & Land the Job

– Create a Career Search Strategy
– Build a Network to find Opportunities
– Interview Skills
– Business Etiquette
– The Power of Storytelling

Business Skills

That Apply To All CAREERS

– Project Management
– Microsoft Excel Training
– Time Management
– Teamwork
– Design Thinking

Leadership Skills

For College, Work & Life

– Create a Personal Vision
– Goal Setting
– Develop a Leadership Approach
– Personal Brand
– Conflict Resolution

“During my 20+ years in business I met a lot of really smart people, but a significant number of them did not have the skills necessary to really shine. The Institute was my solution to help seasoned workers and college students learn the attitudes and behaviors that lead to career success.”Scott Cochran

Get a Unique Experience with a Real Company

ConsultingProjectAs an Institute participant, you’ll work with a small group of students as consultants for a business or non-profit organization. Your consulting project experience will put all of the skills learned during The Institute into practice and is an excellent resume builder for current college students and even recent graduates. In fact, a consulting project can be more beneficial that most entry-level internships because you’ll be able to show future employers a real-world solution you helped develop. It’s the kind of experience that employers will instantly value and appreciate.

Institute students have completed consulting projects in industries such as:

Automobile manufacturing

– Health care

– Municipal planning

– Performing arts and publishing

– Social entrepreneurship

– and many more



of employers want to see leadership and teamwork experience on a candidate’s resume


Of employers value interview performance more than GPA in their ultimate hiring decision


of employers prioritize applicants who have been referred by a current employee


The Institute includes:

– Accommodations on the Spartanburg Methodist College Campus
– All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
– All course materials (nothing extra to purchase)
– Guest speakers and networking opportunities

– Fun team-building social outings
– Professional-quality LinkedIn photo
– JobZology Career Assessment
– Post-Institute consultations with Scott Cochran and Instructors



ScottInstructorScott Cochran, MBA, founded The Institute fifteen years ago after realizing that his best employees shared a specific set of skills and behaviors – and that these characteristics could be taught to others. Since he started The Institute, he’s worked with the top leaders of Fortune 500 companies, employees across a range of positions and industries, and hundreds of college and high school students to help them develop into confident leaders, team players and problem-solvers.

Scott brings 30 years of experience leading global corporations and higher education organizations to his work for The Institute. He is a seasoned professional with a unique perspective on higher education’s value and limitations in preparing graduates to be successful in the workplace. He  is a deeply ethical and visionary leader with an energy and positive attitude few can match.

Scott has been the President of Spartanburg Methodist College since November 2015. Before leading the college, he held senior positions in the United States and internationally with GMAC, UPS Capital and most recently, Performance Solutions by Milliken, a unit of Milliken & Company. He draws upon those experiences for a monthly business column published by the Spartanburg Herald Journal.

Scott holds an economics degree from Wofford College and an MBA from Duke University. He served Wofford College for seven years as founder and Dean of The Space, Wofford’s professional development program. During his time at Wofford, he also taught courses in finance.

JDillInstructor3Jennifer Dillenger, MBA, co-leads The Institute with Scott. She has nearly ten years of experience developing internship and leadership programs to meet the needs of organizations and college students. She is a skilled networker and connector, and she has established relationships with numerous national and international organizations to provide employment opportunities for recent college graduates.

Jennifer has prepared hundreds of students to be successful job candidates by providing expert career counseling, career search strategy assistance, resume development, and intensive interview preparation. She is a poised and polished public speaker who loves teaching her skills to others. She is as generous with her time as she is with her desire to help everyone around her be their best.

Jennifer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Spartanburg Methodist College where she uses her networking, speaking and relationship-building skills to secure private and corporate donations to fund the college. Before coming to work at SMC, Jennifer served as the Interim Dean and Director of The Space, Wofford’s groundbreaking professional development program that she co-developed with Scott Cochran. She holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina. After earning undergraduate degrees in English and Biology from Wofford College, Jennifer started her professional career in hospitality management at one of Colorado’s leading resort hotels.

CourtneyInstructorCourtney Shelton, M.Ed., is an idea generator, strategic thinker and brand creator who pushes students and organizations to constantly improve and innovate. Her Institute focus is cultivating entrepreneurial skills, or “grit” in college students. For Courtney, grit is the passion and perseverance students need to be successful in any undertaking. She works directly with Institute consulting groups to guide them to innovative solutions for businesses and nonprofits using Design Thinking and a host of other cutting-edge tools.

After completing a Master of Education in Higher Education and four years experience in Student Affairs, Courtney was integral in the creation and branding of The Space at Wofford College. There, she directed Impact and Launch, a program in which college students from all majors and class years developed and launched nonprofit businesses, community impact projects and for-profit businesses. She taught the principles of design thinking, collaboration, the consultative approach to problem solving and professional skills such as public speaking, project management, marketing, social media and much more.

Since 2016, Courtney has brought her significant skill set to her role as Vice President of Professional Development and Design for Spartanburg Methodist College, where she is tasked with leading the college in the creation of innovative programs and career development services.


Contact Courtney Shelton | Email | Call/Text: 864-809-7931