Louis Zmich – Student Intern Farewell Address

CAUTION: This is a longer piece than normal. I have a hard time saying goodbye. Enjoy!

Here we are, the final weeks of my undergraduate career. It seems like everyone tells you, “These years will fly by so fast” and you think to yourself, “Yeah, whatever.” But five years later, and here we are. I remember walking into the main halls of Elmhurst College, working late hours as a custodian and thinking to myself how the days were dragging along. Fast forward to my first semester here at NIU, walking down the street from the boarding house, which I shared with 12 strangers on Augusta Ave., to the Art Building basement auditorium for Business Calculus.

Does anyone else remember that class? I seriously thought I would never pass, and I started having thoughts of changing my major because, if being a business major was anything like that class, I didn’t think I would make it. But something happened that made me work through it, and I’m not entirely sure what that “something” was.

Once I got my bearings of NIU, I started to feel like I was actually growing as an individual. I began to take more classes at Barsema Hall, classes like OMIS 259 and MGMT 217, soaking up as much of the College of Business as I could. I knew this place was going to be my home, and I wanted to race through my classes in other areas of campus, just to come to Barsema.

A lot of memories have been made here. I remember barely squeaking by in ACCY 206 and 207, literally getting a B by the exact number of points needed, in both classes! Man, I will never forget the moment I calculated my scores, what a rush of relief. Then came UBUS 310, the class that kept me, and many others, up late at night. This was the class that fostered my love for Marketing. From there, it seems like I blinked, and now I’m writing this. I got involved in a lot of different clubs and organizations and tried to volunteer my time whenever I could. The struggles, successes, failures, trips taken, countries visited, and competitions attended, all contributed to who I am today. In a way, the College of Business morphed me to who I now portray to the world. The College of Business helped me identify my personal brand. Wow, I never really thought of that before. I didn’t want to be left out of making a difference, which led me to Social Entrepreneurship, CAUSE, DSAB, DSP and my current internship, for which I am writing this article. These organizations allowed me to do so many things, and get involved in making others’ lives, and the world a better place. All of those organizations are more than just acronyms, they’re an opportunity, a chance to grow, learn, and set yourself up for success.

From sales role-plays to class presentations, every moment seems so small. Every obstacle seems to be a burden, and we tend to race to the finish line to then look around and realize we didn’t enjoy the ride. This last reflection for me as an intern is unique because I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many wonderful people. People, who come from all different walks of life, have different reasons for being at NIU, and most importantly, have different opinions and lessons to share with others. This internship has allowed me to meet the many individuals who have shaped my life. I urge you to press pause on your day and look around. Enjoy your little victories and relish in the beauty around you, what you have, what opportunities you should capitalize on; because if you don’t, you may run too fast and realize you didn’t enjoy how you got there. Or worse, realize you chose the wrong direction to go! Enjoy this journey, you have the opportunity to be whoever you want to be, so embrace yourself and who you are. I promise there will be other people who like the same things as you do. Don’t succumb to a specific agenda, instead, write your own and others will follow. Love the skin you’re in, and people will love you for you, and not a fake representation of you. You do this, and these next few years will be some of the best of your life.

I want this farewell address (wait, he’s not done?) to serve two purposes: to let me say goodbye, for now, to this position and the school I have come to love, but to also say welcome to those students who are new here, traditional or not. Yes, yes, your time will fly by, (insert any other cliche thing to say), but I want to let you know what college is all about. Well, from my perspective anyway, and hope you get something out of this. If nothing else, enjoy it here, don’t let the small things get you down. My biggest piece of advice, if you read nothing past this line, is to step back and ask yourself, “Does this make me a better person?” If the answer is no, don’t sweat over it and walk away. Naturally, you ask, “Well, does Louie’s article make me a better person?” I’m glad we both agree that you should keep reading.

 

Your competitive advantage

In business, we often times talk about competitive advantage, what do you have that separates you from your competition, and your answer cannot be a degree anymore. When you look around at graduation, everyone is on the same playing field, we all have our degree. What separates you are the things you do, what you were involved in, the jobs you held and connections you have made. You have a choice to make, and the only force stopping you is you.

The biggest resource you have as a student is just that, you are a student, not competition. Companies are more than happy to tell you what they know, offer up shadow days, and make connections. You never know when you’ll use those connections down the line. Find the time to contact companies and be proactive on going after new businesses. Once you go on those trips and meet those people, do the unexpected! When was the last time you received a hand-written letter? Or a thank you email, just for sacrificing your time for someone? Those things matter and they seem like common sense, but let me tell you, they are not common practice. Do the extra steps and buy someone lunch, or a drink, and continue to do small kind things for others. I promise it will pay off.

We all are creatures of habit, we get up, go through the motions and then, when it’s too late, realize all of the things we should have done. In funny memory of Shiah Labuff’s “Just do it!” video, he has a point. What is the advantage of sitting around? You never want to look back on your life and say to others that you should have done X, Y or Z. You want to look back on your life with accomplishment, something to hang your hat on, and be a role model for others to come. But I can’t convince you to do those things, you come to school each day, you have the student loans, you know your reasoning as to why you’re here, reading this right now. Battle through, take the time to do things right and do things once.

 

What if I fail?

Do it quickly and keep moving. Learn from your mistakes but don’t let them define you as a person. In fact, embrace failure! That’s the only way you get better. Ever met a perfect person? Me neither, so who cares! Be ready to run for positions and lose, be ready to volunteer an opinion and have it shut down, be ready to submit an assignment and get it torn to pieces! It’s life, and if you’re ready for it, embrace it, who can get you down? No one. Be yourself and embrace who you are, never live your life in the light of which another casts you in. If you’ve been labeled the “Lazy Person” in your friend group, prove them wrong, if your parents have said that education doesn’t match a well-paying job, prove them wrong. Invest in yourself today, so you reap the rewards of a great career down the line. You are laying the building blocks of your life right here and now. You’ll be glad you took the time to do so.

 

Closing Thoughts. 

Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to publish work and interact with all of you. This journey has been fantastic and completely turned my life in a new direction and had made the person I am today. There is so much I could tell you about college, but really, it boils down to being yourself, getting involved in as much as your can, and be curious. Ask questions and continue learning, even when you leave college. Keep improving yourself intellectually, and don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s never too late to go after your dreams, and just remember, the only one who will ever stop you from doing great things, is you.

 

Thank you again, and I hope to speak to all of you again, sometime in the future.

~ Louie Zmich (05/01/2017)

Why Come To Work Sick?

Editors Note: Just a quick post here, more of a thought than anything, on what went through my mind the other week when I caught the flu. I hope you enjoy! – Louie 

Did you get the bug that was going around? That seems like the phrase people use at least twice a year. Usually when the seasons change, right? So what happens when you do get sick? Maybe you go to school anyway and get your peers sick. Or, maybe you still go to school and are less productive than usual, as a result. Maybe you’re like me, and when you get sick you don’t want to do anything, so you don’t, but then you mentally beat yourself up because you feel unproductive. So, naturally, you try to get work done, but you’re not productive so you continue to be sick and get zero work done. If nothing else, this is a journal entry for myself. I faced this recently, and it took me about a day to realize that I should have just stayed home and rested instead of being unproductive for a whole week. Let’s explore this one a little further.

 

If you read nothing else

According to a Harvard Business Review article in 2004, the United States loses an estimate of $150 billion each year from employees taking off work for illnesses like heartburn, headaches, and fevers. This also seems to take into account the people who are unproductive because of their illness. It’s ironic, right? You come to work to not do work. But that’s the society we live in. We feel bad for taking time off to better our health. Instead of being unproductive for five days, wouldn’t it be better to take off a full day and get some rest? Apparently, some recent research is agreeing with that statement, as local public health doctors, according to The Guardian, are reporting that you should stay home with a fever for at least 24 hours. If you can afford to stay home for two days, you reduce your chances of spreading your sickness by 40%. Oh, and one more thing, wash your hands! More reports are saying that warm, soapy water rinses for at least 20 seconds are what will minimize your chances of getting sick in the first place. So, in short, you should try and stay home when you are sick, seriously, think about it. You get sick, you come to work and get three other people sick. Now four people are unproductive instead of one. I think most bosses in America would agree that you should take time off, especially if it means only one person is out instead of more. 

 

Why is this even a question?

Working on a weekend, holiday, when ill, are all norms for us at this point. We literally are working ourselves to death! The BBC has pulled some studies of their own and reported that people tend to go into work when they are sick as sort of a “Show and Tell”. We’re essentially showing people that we truly are sick, justifying to ourselves the need to take off the following day. “Look how sick I am people, you should now have no reason to think my day off tomorrow is unjustified” is what we say to ourselves. Whether it’s having a strict payroll team breathing down your back, or the constant build-up of group projects, homework, and group activities, sometimes it seems like staying home from work and school is more work than it’s worth. I mean, who likes to come back to school with more to do than when you got sick? No one.

 

How can you combat this?

In all honesty, this is going to be up to your own judgment. It’s often tricky because you are the only one who truly knows how you feel. You have to be the one to decide what you should do. Sometimes, you are just too sick to go to class and pay attention for long periods of time, but you can still work from home. Working from the comfort of your own home can do you wonders and still keep you productive, but if you choose to stay home, make sure you get work done. We all know the day, we choose to stay home, and we eat, sleep, and lounge around. All of a sudden our roommate comes home from class and we look at the clock to realize it’s 6:00 pm and we’ve done nothing! Working from home can keep your colleagues healthy, and also get work done in your pajamas, but let’s all vow to actually work if we feel up to it. Deal? Deal. 

 

Lastly, if you just feel awful, get some rest and eat some soup! You would much rather prefer to rest one day and then be productive the next, instead of being unproductive for a whole week. We all know that point where we’ve had enough, but we also know that point where we can work and just feel a bit crummy, but you have to make that decision! In the end, don’t feel bad if you have to take time off, after all, we’re all human, just make sure you keep killing it when you’re healthy! 

Reflection – A Student’s View

Editors Note:

My perspective on meditation has completely changed from being a waste of time to being vital to our success as business people. This realization came when I volunteered in Mexico as part of a social entrepreneurship class. We meditated for an hour each morning, forcing us to utilize other senses, connecting our mind and body, reflecting on our past days, while mentally planning for the days ahead. We were required to rid our minds of all the violence, hate, and harm in the world, and instead focus on what we did right, what we did wrong and how we can get better. I encourage you to celebrate the little victories throughout the day and find some time for you. Find some time to relax. I hope you enjoy!

 

We are all busy, there’s no way around it. Work, school, group projects, organizations, family issues, and extracurricular activates. At times, it seems like too much. In reality, it probably is too much. We essentially are required to do more than what is asked of us.  One of the most popular questions beyond the standard interview list is, “What have you done that you are proud of, beyond your school activities?”

“What? More?! More than what I am currently doing?” Is probably what you often ask yourself. But we do it, we press on, pulling all-nighters and run on three cups of coffee and a Red Bull every day just to get by. What I can positively say is, we learned how to manage, squeak by, figure it out. We learn the beauty of balancing everything and make our degree more than a piece of paper, it is now a visual representation of how we managed to juggle so much and still perform well in school. Our degree represents so much more than education, it represents our ability to survive in the adult world, the world of business.

But could you have missed that perfect opportunity? Are you working so hard in school, yet you still don’t see the opportunity in front of you? Job searches are coming up blank, but why? I struggled with the same things. I never found fulfillment in what I was doing. This is why I want to talk about reflection. The power of a personal detox, the ability to step back and think about yourself and the day you just had. The power of meditation is essential in gathering your thoughts and making time for yourself. Sitting down and pressing pause on your life is necessary for determining your goals and the direction your life is heading. We get so busy throughout the day that we forget to think about the opportunities around us, and which align with our priorities and which do not. If you’re blown away at the thought, the possibility of making some time for yourself, please read on.

 

If you read nothing else

If you do not have time to read this entire piece, I want to make some points for you here. Meditation can come in many forms, and really can be anything that puts your mind at ease. I would argue that we often call “me time” is used incorrectly. I used to consider “me time” as the point of the day when I was alone, but that’s not enough. Furthermore, if you are anything like me, you will only justify leisure activities when you feel productive enough, but guess what? You will never be satisfied. You will always find some new assignment or project to tackle. You should take some time to ease your mind. Some good things for me to do is to journal, read, listen to vinyl records, draw, play music or meditate. This allows a few things that I will touch on in more depth soon. But in short, easing your mind will allow you to evaluate what you did well that day and what you fell short at. You gain insight on your life, who’s in it, and evaluate if you like the directions you are heading. Often we never appreciate the journey, we only want the finish line to arrive. But when that time comes, we wish we had more time to soak in the experiences we had along the way. Isn’t that odd? We rush to get things done, but then wish we did things differently. So if you cannot read on, I understand, but do yourself a favor and allow some time for you, just make sure you use that time wisely.

 

Relax Productively

Now the first thing that comes to my mind when I read back over the statements above is, “Well, I can just sleep or zone out, that can be my ‘me time’.” Here is my counter argument to that. In my opinion, we should all have this determination to continuously make ourselves better people. Become better human beings when we go to bed, then we were when we woke up. Our meditation and reflection time should still be productive in that we are detoxing our minds from the clutter from the day and seeing how to tackle tomorrow in a productive manner. There are times and places to relax and have fun, and I completely agree that those activities are healthy as well, but from a student in school’s perspective, evaluating your week, or your day is not only going to destress you, but it will prepare you for the uncertainty that could possibly come your way. In order to grow as a scholar, as an individual, we need to be self-aware of what we do well, and what we can improve upon. Keeping a one-sentence journal, for example, is not only a good way to start journaling, but this allows you to zero-in on one thing, a sentence about your day. Clear out your entire minds worth of thoughts into one sentence. Then, after a month, four months, a year, you can look back and see your previous thoughts blossom into a collection of your journey.

 

Okay great, how?

How can one possibly learn to unwind when we are literally wound-up all day long? My recommendation is to take an hour of your day and dedicate that to you. For example, I wake up at 6 am every morning. I am a morning person, I know, gross. But the morning is wonderful for me. I seem to get more done when the world is asleep. Anyway, I use my mornings to go for a run, make breakfast and lunch for the day, and read/listen to the news that happened the previous day/early morning. My morning routine is about 2 hours, and those hours are strictly dedicated to my thoughts on the previous day and the hours ahead. By forming this routine, I have developed more awareness in my day-to-day activities, and I also have found that my competence in and out of class has increased. I feel like I have removed the junk from my head, and made space for useful information. Not a morning person? You’re not alone, but find at least an hour in your schedule to do something for you and relax. Even an evening walk down the block can be enough to go through the decisions you are making/going to be making in the future, and realign them with your values and priorities at that point in time.

I’ll give you another example. It wasn’t until my final semester of my senior year that I decided to change career paths. My whole life I never thought about going into education, but this semester I dedicated every morning to me and my thoughts. Through those morning routines and the mentors I have formed around me, I decided that the path I was headed down was not going to allow my dreams to come true. I realized that I had all of these resources and opportunities in front of me, that I never capitalized on. It wasn’t until I took some time to take a deep breath and think, that I saw the opportunity in front of me.

 

Lastly, make it a habit.

Okay, you’re feeling good and looking forward to starting your morning meditation routine. How do you keep it up? That rush of a new habit is going to fade and you will be at the crossroads of continuation and abandonment. I remember all of those broken New Year’s resolutions… dang. You must choose if this is a short-term or long-term goal. If this is for the long-run, I strongly encourage you to form your routine into a habit. Repetition is the only way to form such a tight bond. You should be dedicated enough to push through those slacking days. Eventually, you will get into a path that can’t be broken, because you are seeing results. Habits are hard to form, and good habits are even harder to maintain, but learning to build time into your day for yourself, will produce dividends in the form of sanity, happiness, and productivity.

 

Oh, one more thing. 

All I can offer you is an insight into my day, but what I can tell you is to trust the power of your mind. We are complicated, wonderful, complex beings and our mind can be the catalyst to your success, but it can also bog us down, limiting our productivity. We get into this GO! Mentality, and forget about resetting. Our bodies need to recharge, rest and recover. Our mind is no different. Think about all the possibilities you could have in your life if you simply find some time to relax. Don’t go through life wondering what you could have done differently. Instead, take the initiative into your own hands and make a change you think is right. Make a change to be a better you.

Part 4: Students of NIU Business

Editor’s Note (Louie here):  Here’s Part 4 of “Students of NIU Business,” our new and ongoing initiative project modeled after Humans of New York.  Remember if you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured in “Students of NIU Business,” send an email to Social Media & Marketing Intern extraordinaire Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!!

Part 4: Students of NIU Business 

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untitledMaria is a transferred junior Business Administration major, with a Fashion Merchandising minor. She’s from Palatine, IL, and this is her first semester here!

She was really excited to have the opportunity to go to and transfer from, a community college before deciding on a major. Here is what Maria had to say about her transition to NIU, “When I got out of high school, I thought I was going to go to California, to a high-end fashion school. I decided to switch to business because I felt like fashion wasn’t the best fit for me to grow as quickly as I wanted. I was thinking of going to Minnesota or Indiana, but then I looked at NIU. When I was on the initial tours of the campus, Barsema Hall completely hooked me into the college. I picked Business Administration because it has all the aspects of business, funneled into one degree. I think the College of Business is going to personally fuel my goals by trying to get involved with Women in Business, Delta Sigma Pi, and CAUSE. I want to take the skills I learn and become a CEO of a company some day. My main goal there would be to reduce the carbon footprint the company leaves on the world. I want to be among the many women that have already achieved major success in the business world, I get that passion from my step mother Bobbie. She encourages me to be an empowered woman in business. So that has always been really important to me. My advice to others would be to take the initiative to do something today! Oh yeah, and a fun fact about me, I love cats!”

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Senior Accountancy Major, Sarahsara-woo Woo! Sarah took the time to share her story on how she came to NIU, and what kind of tips she could offer other students before she graduates.

“What really interested me at NIU was the Accountancy program here. It was always ranked in Business Week’s top Accountancy programs. When I came to visit NIU, I really got the sense that this is a community that helps develop the student body. When you compare universities of comparable competitive standing, professors have a focus solely on research. However, here at NIU, research is certainly important but the development of the students was the highest priority. That was immediately evident, and I was impressed by it.

As far as what I am up to now, I wrapped up my internship with BDO USA, LLP last semester. They asked for me to come back for a second internship during the spring semester and then offered a full-time position upon my graduation. I have accepted that offer, and I couldn’t be more excited to get started! I really commend the Accountancy program, the career fair, and the classes here, as they give me the tools to be able to find these opportunities for growth and success, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

My first internship was in audit, and the second internship will be in tax. The firm was really flexible in offering different accounting opportunities and they ultimately gave me the choice of what my full-time offer will be in, and I am excited to start my career in public accounting with them.

As I leave NIU, I think there are a few things I could say to those who are in or just entering the college. The College of Business offers so many rich opportunities for students to explore. One very important thing to do is to dive on in and get involved. Get involved with the student organizations around you and get to know your peers. These people are going to be your greatest resources and your largest support groups. Also, get to know your professors; you never know who could possibly be your next role model. The professors here really have impressive backgrounds. They all have accomplished really important and great things, and I’ve found they’re all willing to share their experiences. Ask questions, stay curious, and have a positive attitude. If you do that, nothing can stop you.”

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cordnei-gibsonCordnei is a Sophomore Business Management major and is planning on getting the Sales Certificate. Here is what Cordnei had to say about her life, and how she came to NIU!

“I’m from Canton Michigan, and a lot of people have asked me why I came to NIU, with all of the other universities around my hometown. The cool thing about NIU is, the school reaches out to a lot of students in the US, and the world for that matter, reaching a much greater audience. So, I checked out the website and it was really easy to navigate! The virtual tours and student resources were a huge help for my friend and me, and as a result, we both ended up applying. I called my dad all excited and visited campus 3 times to make sure it was the right decision. I ended up falling in love with the atmosphere here, the campus is gorgeous and the entire time all the advisors talked about internship opportunities at the COB. At NIU, the College of Business gives you hands-on, real-world experience and I couldn’t pass that up. I definitely made the right decision; it’s impossible to fail here. Anyone will be successful here, I’m confident in that.

I honestly feel like I have a leg up on people at other schools, simply because I’m in the College of Business. The opportunities they give us here are phenomenal. The way the COB does orientation is very uncommon, they make their students feel comfortable in all areas. Anyone is willing to sit down with you and go through your career plan. I haven’t seen that with any other college, so early in your college career. I’m only a sophomore, but I feel comfortable with my career choices, moving forward.

In high school, I was really involved, and that’s when my dad explained what project management was to me. He saw the leader inside of me, and how to achieve goals in teams, so I researched it immensely and decided that I should major in Management to fulfill my passion for driving people to achieve their goals. Management is going to allow me to motivate people and get team objectives completed.

After joining PSE, they encouraged me to network with others and gave me opportunities to meet managers and recruiters right away, my freshman year. That opportunity was and still continues to be an amazing experience. It’s always nice to get out and meet business owners and managers, no matter where you are in your professional career.

Here’s a fun fact for everyone: my mom decided to name me Cordnei to match my twin brother’s name, Cordell. We were born on Valentine’s Day, and we are two minutes apart (he is the oldest, and he never lets me forget that). And another fun fact is that we were both born on Valentine’s Day.”

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kenzie

Kenzie Niestrom is a senior Business Administration major with a minor in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship! Louie had the chance to sit down and discuss all that she has accomplished in her time here at the CoB!

“When I first got out of high school I went to a different college and then transferred to College of DuPage after my first semester, so I could continue working. When I was at COD, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I chose Business to get the most out of my career. NIU has a lot of partnerships with community colleges, including COD, which means if you get your associate degree before transferring to NIU, you don’t need to take your Gen Eds. I really liked the transferability here; other schools were not as accommodating. I only applied to NIU for this reason. It worked out perfectly, I’m from Lisle so it was close, and I liked the accreditation and prestige the College of Business here has.

I choose business administration because it seemed like I could do so much with the degree, and once I got settled in; I realized I could get just about any job with the skills I would be obtaining.

When I got here I joined BASA (Business Administration Student Association). At the time there were about 5 members, 4 of whom were graduating that year. I was the only member left, so there was a lot of motivation to rebuild the organization and give Business Administration a voice. I helped rebuild BASA and now it has a full e-board with 35 members strong. I had to essentially redo everything last fall; I made a new vision and bylaws while working with Brittany Buis (my academic advisor) a lot to get everything finalized. We marketed it and with the help of BA majors being funneled into the same classes, the organization grew. By having all Business Administration students in one area, the organization had a chance to have people strengthening the major and getting to know each other at the same time.

Overall, my time here has been really awesome. I’m in BASA and MBSAB (Management and Business Administration Student Advisory Board). I’m also on DSAB (Dean Student Advisory Board) and Women in Business. Being involved in all of those has helped personalize my experience at NIU. I was able to network with so many people, which can be difficult when you come in as a junior. I love the classes I’m taking and the professors have been so supportive throughout my time here.

As far as my career after college, I am working in the professional development labs at Abbott. That was fostered in the ELC program where I worked for them and then landed an internship. I loved that internship, which ultimately led to my job there.

I’m a Business Administration major who went into IT, and I know of BA majors who went into retail, sales, logistics, distribution and a few who went into IT as well. It’s so cool how we can be marketed to so many different areas of business, simply because we took such a wide variety of classes.

If I had to reach out to students who are not ready to go away to college or do not know what they are going to do, so ultimately you go to a community college first; I would say that it’s okay not to know. College is scary and some people are ready to go away and some are not, it’s okay to not have a concrete plan. It’s okay to figure out what you like and what you don’t like when you take a wide range of classes, now you are better versed and immersed in so much more than you would be if you only had your mind set on one major.”

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phillip-wilsonPhillip Wilson, om&is major

“Junior operations and information management major Phillip Wilson of Chicago, IL, had a different start to his college career, due to the influence of his mother. Wilson went to work immediately after graduating from high school and was successful in his job, making good money. But even with this success, his mother continued to push him to enroll in college and to pursue the path of a higher education. ‘I thought I’d come out here and be a middle of the road student,’ Wilson said. He hadn’t excelled in high school and had mediocre grades. But things are different for him at NIU. ‘I didn’t think I’d be getting a 3.4-grade point average and joining honor societies.’ He maintains a high-grade point average and is going to be a mentor for incoming freshman through the John Henrik Clarke Honor Society. If it wasn’t for his mother, Wilson admits that he would have probably stayed where he was, doing the job he was working at, for the next 50 years. His mother is happy to point this out to Wilson. ‘She brings it up as much as she can,’ he said. ‘She drops it in every conversation.’”

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Learn what Prajakta Kale is up to after graduating with an MIS degree in 2015 from the Department of OM&IS! Presently, Prajakta is Lead QA Analyst/Business Analyst with Duluth Trading Company, in Belleville, Wisconsin.

“Grad school is far more academically intense than undergraduate study. Whether you’re a recent undergraduate student or a mid-career professional, you’ll need to set aside some of the preconceptions you have about college lifestyle and prepare for the rigorous and rewarding experience of grad school. While my peers and I were going through this life changing experience of grad school, I witnessed that the staff in the OM&IS Department made extra efforts to smooth the transition for students. The faculty were dedicated to helping all the students achieve excellence. I appreciate the way the department designed the curriculum to match industry standards. The knowledge you gain definitely makes you an efficient employee and gives you an extra edge over your colleagues. I am grateful to the OM&IS department — they were always concerned and committed to bringing out the best in every student. In terms of what the experience helped me learn about myself, I would say it brought out my confident side. I learned that if I want something, I shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, raise concerns, and most importantly, realize it is okay to say ‘I don’t know.’ During my OM&IS project seminars, I understood that “the best way to learn something is having to explain it to someone else.” No matter how clear you are on a subject in your head, you always gain a new perspective on it when you try to explain it to a peer/colleague. I also found out that I can be more patient than I ever knew, work excellently and multitask under pressure.”

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Find the complete list so far of “Students of NIU Business” in posts labeled Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3,” and so on!

If you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured, let us know!  We love learning more about each and every participant!  Send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!

 

Impact Beyond DeKalb

Forward

The Social Entrepreneurship program at NIU is one of the most innovative, progressive, value-added sets of classes I have taken in my collegiate career. As part of my Global Social Venture Consulting class with Dr. Christine Mooney, we received a fully immersive education, unmatched to what you can learn through a textbook.

The class is divided into three teams who are assigned a company with a social mission of some kind. “Social Mission” being that the company has a double or triple bottom line consisting of profit, but coupled with people or planet. For example, TOMS Shoes has a double bottom line of profit and people. That company then gives a few business issues for the teams to research, ask questions about, and ultimately provide recommendations for the client to enact at some point in time if they so choose.

The class also includes an international trip to one of the companies, and this year’s client was Entreamigos, who operates in San Pancho, Mexico. This article is about what I learned from this trip and the lessons learned with the underlying psychological realizations uncovered from my experiences.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this article and at the very minimum, choose to think about Social Entrepreneurship a little more than you did when you started reading. After all, this world is one that we all share, and problems that we may not be effected by initially, certainly are worth acting on. For our actions today can work towards giving everyone the same opportunities to succeed, that some of us take advantage of every day.

Thank you, and enjoy – Student Intern: Louis Zmich

Louie on the beach of San Pancho, Mexico

Louie on the beach of San Pancho, Mexico

A Whole New Outlook

It’s incredibly easy to overlook the problems that affect today’s world. Our lives are increasingly busy; we have so many ways to become distracted from what is going on around us. Too many times are we rushing to class, hurrying to a meeting and studying profusely for an exam, it’s completely understandable that social issues are overlooked. (“Social Issues” Include, Poverty, Hunger, Climate Change, etc.). Why wouldn’t they be? People simply do not have time to read deeply into an issue as broad and complex as poverty, hunger or education. Media today portrays these issues in such a brash and intimidating light, it’s much easier to swipe past the negativity, instead of accepting it and making changes. So, if these issues are broken down into digestible, daily changes to our everyday lives, we can slowly start improving the broader picture. This is why Social Entrepreneurship is so important.

The goal of a Social Entrepreneur is to innovate and exploit these issues in a cohesive and friendly matter, where the busy person can stop and learn something new, continue with her day and then when shopping for her daily items that night, make decisions that are socially responsible and end up helping those in need at the same time. That, in my opinion, is what progression is, not changing the status-quo entirely overnight, but showing people that small tweaks in our daily habits can eventually make tremendous headway on the issues that lurk overhead.

That being said, we are all busy in our own endeavors, we have to take classes in order to graduate, or check another thing off our mental to-do list. So, if this is a requirement for our graduation and ultimate career success, why not take a class that provides the credit we need, but also makes an impact at the same time? That’s where Global Venture Consulting comes into the mix. This Fall, myself and 9 other classmates were split up into teams and are continuing to help consult and provide recommendations to their business issues. Consulting is inherently a face-to-face interaction, thus part of this class involved going to Entreamigos in San Pancho Mexico to speak directly with Nicole Swedlow, CEO, and Founder, on these issues, while she showed us the reasons why we need to think more intensively on the issues that are at hand.

One of the first beautiful mural walls you see when entering San Pancho, Mexico.

One of the first beautiful mural walls you see when entering San Pancho, Mexico.

 

The Destruction of Tourism

When you have a community, rich in heritage and tradition and close to the water, you inherently attract tourism. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it often leads to communal destruction. When anyone foreign settles in a place like San Pancho, they immediately fall in love with the culture and the people. This love will naturally cause people to want to buy property, and they can do so for a very reasonable amount, something you could never do in the United States for example. But this could end up being toxic to the social structure. The way the social structure works in these small towns is started with your great ancestors who first move there, and the cycle is as follows:

  • You buy land when you first enter the town, or when the town is first established.
  • As you have children, the land you own is distributed equally amongst your children.
  • The children then use that land as a source of income; farming, fishing etc.
  • When they have children, that land is split up in the same fashion previously mentioned.
Diego, standing in front of the recycling center at Entreamigos.

Diego, standing in front of the recycling center at Entreamigos.

This continues, all the while skills are being passed down from generation to generation. That is the form of income and education that has made these small towns thrive for so long.

This cycle will continue and as someone’s business continues to grow they will buy up more land and so on. As previously mentioned, the importance of education stretches only as necessary for your job. Sure, there are people who are educated, but it’s in their own profession, which is fine until they give up their land.

When a tourist comes in and offers more money than some of these people have ever seen, for their land, these people rightfully so, jump on that opportunity and are left with a lot of money and no way of making anymore. When education is lacking and you sell off your only asset, it’s hard to find another job because all of what you knew was rutted in your property. This has led to people in these towns thinking that anyone who is a foreigner and is making money in their village, must be corrupt and must be taking advantage of the locals. When looking at it in this light, it’s easy to see why people who travel to these villages are looked down upon.

Entreamigos

“Everyone has something to learn, and everyone has something to teach.” This is the motto and notion behind Entreamigos. Here in the United States, education is engrained in our culture. What people are doing after high school is most likely something that has to do with more education. Beauty School, Trade School, Community College, Universities, it’s all the same premise, continuous education. In a town like San Pancho, what measures success is owning a local business or being a successful fisherman and this model works, but only as long as the town stays a secret to everyone else. As explained before, when tourism hits towns like San Pancho, business like Entreamigos can’t be trusted by the locals.

Main entrance to Entreamigos

Main entrance to Entreamigos

Thankfully, Entreamigos was able to break through this stereotype and over the past decade and has built nothing short of a communal movement. Everyone we talked to in this town, simply loved Entreamigos. Besides Nicole, everyone who works there and studies there are all locals.

Everyone has a gift, so why not teach others what you know? People who come and tour the facility, instantly want to help in some form, teaching the staff about leadership, or teaching children a new useful skill. This model brings the town together, and everyone feels invested in each other. It works, and I got to see it firsthand. I was even able to teach some children English while I was there, and in return, they taught me Spanish. Skills we both know fairly well but never have the chance to teach in our home countries, it was truly an opportunity for growth, and one I will never forget.

Morgan, in the black t-shirt on the right, is laughing along with the children at Entreamigos.

Morgan, in the black t-shirt on the right, is laughing along with the children at Entreamigos.

 

Changing Lives Through Education

Entreamigos goes one step further and offers opportunities for people anywhere to sponsor a child in Entreamigos. The sponsorship allows children to receive a proper education in the public schools and universities surrounding these villages. We had a chance to meet the man who was sponsored by Dennis and Stacy Barsema, while we were in San Pancho. Christian was a phenomenal person, and after receiving his education, he came back to Entreamigos to give back to his community and continue the circle of education for the younger generations in his town. The opportunity to talk and spend time with someone who had benefited directly from another person two-thousand plus miles away was not only touching but inspirational too. The role-models that we have in class, are the same people making a change in the world,

Mural drawn by local artists, in the courtyard of Entreamigos.

Mural drawn by local artists, in the courtyard of Entreamigos.

 

Closing Thoughts

One of the biggest takeaways I brought back with me was the concept of happiness. It certainly is subjective, but we all have different standards of it. As a whole, technology Is intended to bring people together, separate the distance between us and constantly keep everyone up-to-date, but it may seem that these luxuries actually push us apart. The people in San Pancho were so happy, eager to help and never complained about the things they didn’t have. Instead, they cherished what they do have, a roof over their head, food on the table and a healthy family surrounding them. That’s happiness, and it was emotional to think that success and happiness to some, is judged internally by the amount of money we make, or the title associated with our names.

Everyone has their own definition of happiness, but I think there is something to be said about appreciating the big things in life and not sweating the small stuff. We get so bogged down with the things we don’t have, and continuously compare ourselves to everyone around us, never stopping to self-reflect and look in the mirror. We seem to be so focused on impressing others that we actually forget to love and understand ourselves and those who matter the most to us. I often, on this trip, stopped and wondered what life would be like if we all took some time every morning to self-evaluate and be thankful for what we have. Unplug for just a moment, and connect with our inner-most thoughts. Maybe, if we took the time to connect internally, our connections externally will become exponentially stronger, more genuine, and last longer.

Overall, San Pancho completely changed the way I look at, not only my life but the lives of others. Doing the right thing isn’t often the easy choice, but making steps to impact the lives of others is something we all should have at the forefront of our conscious decisions. When it comes down to it, being born in a developed country is not only luck, but it’s statistically improbable. So I think the important statement is one said by Warren Buffet when talking about humanity and our quest to help others, “If you’re in the luckiest 1 percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”

Photo on site of the location the entire class got to stay.

A photo on-site of the location the entire class got to stay.

Students of NIU Business – Alumni Edition: Jeff Kamholz

I had trouble thinking of a way to integrate alumni into the posts that we do for students, here on the blog. When reaching out to young alumni, a lot of their stories are rather compelling and, on some level, can relate to a wide variety of students. I thought about doing an interview style of questioning over Skype or Facetime, but that seemed too scripted. I wanted people to simply talk, and I would listen. Then it dawned on me, this is just like the Student of NIU posts! So, we have decided to create the Students of NIU: Alumni Edition and the first entry is a recent alumnus, Jeffrey Kamholz! – Louie Zmich: Student Intern 13686626_1225983507425336_6391579270793294833_n

When I was a senior in high school, I started looking at colleges. I was on my own to pay for school, so I knew a mix of scholarships and work opportunities was a criterion I needed when looking for good business schools. I was also looking for a school relatively close to home that was simultaneously going to allow me a chance to succeed, as well as the opportunity to graduate in the best financial position possible. It was then that I found NIU and learned about the opportunities this university provides. I knew that I wanted a school with a good business program, and the proximity to home and financial opportunities on top of that were simply bonuses for me.

My first week on campus, I joined about 5 clubs. While I certainly didn’t stick with all of them, I found a few that welcomed me in and with which I was hooked. One of these clubs was Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity. That was truly the first step in my professional development. I met many of the people I was closest with through Delta Sigma Pi. Serving in other roles such as an ambassador for the college in the Northern Lights Ambassadors and on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, I tried to find ways to help the college in any way I could. Even as a freshman and sophomore, the college had given me so much. I got to know former Dean Denise Schoenbachler very well, and she is one of the people who I consider to be my personal mentor.

I was extremely fortunate to have experienced so much during my time as a student. By getting involved in five clubs, working three jobs, experiencing two study abroad programs, and completing a research fellowship, I found myself with quite a few memorable experiences under my belt…and I was only a rising junior in college. I eventually declared marketing as my major with a specialization in sales. I chose marketing initially because I thought it would get me close to advertising, and I was fortunate enough to get to know and work with some of the faculty I originally met as a freshman. Their impact on me was profound enough for me to declare my major as marketing. As I progressed down the marketing career path, sales seemed like the best option in which to start my career; it allowed me the most freedom in a customer-facing role.

“Throughout my senior year, I was fortunate enough to interview with many companies. The sales program not only gave me real-world experience selling products but also taught me how to market myself in order to show the value I bring to companies.”

Throughout my senior year, I was fortunate enough to interview with many companies. The sales program not only gave me real-world experience selling products but also taught me how to market myself in order to show the value I bring to companies. Drs. Ridnour, Peterson, Groza and Professor Howlett all taught with different styles but similar messages. With everything from mock interviews, the sales Corporate Golf Outing, to bringing in dozens of real-world sales professionals to network with, the college’s sales program truly prepares its students for success.13227000_1176521745704846_3470934632335728426_n

I highly recommend that students interview with more than one company; only by speaking to employees of those companies and doing things like shadow days will you be able to realize truly what a ‘day in the life’ is actually like. While it certainly helps to have an idea of the industry you want to get into, it is okay to not know for certain. Interview with a few companies, and figure out where you think you would fit best.

Fast forwarding to present day, I’m in the middle of a year-long sales training program with Bloomberg BNA. Because of the experiences I had during my time in the College of Business at NIU, I was able to stand out enough and put myself into a position to succeed. I have been extremely fortunate to find a company that has been willing to invest so much in me. I chose Bloomberg BNA because of the career development opportunities and the long-term career potential. I felt that the year-long training was unmatched; additionally, the company’s commitment to its employees is rather unheard of at this level of business. I have always looked for that “something more” in a company, and I found it at Bloomberg BNA.

So far, I have directly used skills and techniques that I learned in the sales program. Anyone who has gone through the sales program recently has read both The Challenger Sale, as well as SPIN Selling. I have so far applied the principles of both books in my mock sessions. (Yes, sales students, you should actually read the books!) Learning how to ask the right questions and listening to what the customer says are two of the most important skills that I have developed so far.

“Moving across the country and knowing very few people in a new location was a step I didn’t think I was going to take. Once I thought of it as an investment into my own future, the idea began to grow on me.”

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Jeff, third from the left, with all of his colleagues in training.

Bloomberg BNA’s home office is located just outside of Washington DC, which meant I had to relocate for a year for the training program. Even though originally I had not anticipated leaving the greater Chicago area, I chose to accept a position that I felt was going to set me up for long-term success. Moving across the country and knowing very few people in a new location was a step I didn’t think I was going to take. Once I thought of it as an investment into my own future, the idea began to grow on me.

Recognizing the potential in the opportunity, I knew it would be the best decision and the best place to start my career. I view this year not only as an investment in my professional future but also in my personal life. Aside from a few months spent in Europe, I had never been away from Illinois for an extended period. I never thought I would be relocating- until the right opportunity presented itself, and I could see myself at that company.

If I was to give a bit of advice, it would be the following: It is okay to not know what you want to do; once you figure it out, however, be relentless in pursuing it. Overall, this was the best career move for me and for my future. While moving away from home certainly wasn’t easy, I knew that it was something I had to do in order to meet my own definition of success. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone in order to set yourself up for success.”

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Part 3: Students of NIU Business


Editor’s Note (Michelle here):  Here’s Part 3 of  “Students of NIU Business,” our new and ongoing initiative modeled after Humans of New York.  Remember if you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured in “Students of NIU Business,” send an email to Social Media & Marketing Intern extraordinaire Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!!

 

Part 3:  Students of NIU Business

Kayi Lawson jr mktg majorKayi Lawson, marketing major with plans to earn certificates in interactive marketing, professional selling, and information systems

“My two older sisters and my parents were born in Togo, West Africa. My parents did not have it easy when they moved to America and had to work really hard to give us what we have now. My dad received his graduate degree from the NIU COB in Information Systems. Also, my mom obtained her undergraduate degree in Information Systems while pregnant with me and caring for two young children. My father and my mother have always told us that success was not an option, it was mandatory. My oldest sister is now getting her MBA at Standford University, and the other is getting her masters in Molecular Genetics at the University of Birmingham, which is in the United Kingdom. I am a semester ahead and, in my future, I want to also get my MBA. In the end, I will owe my success to my family always pushing me to do more than what is expected.”

 

Dalton Stokes jr accy major and minor in mktgDalton Stokes, accountancy major and marketing minor

“Out of both my parents, I am the first one to go to a university. My real parents got separated when I was a little kid. It was rough not having my real father there for me. My mom has always pushed me to do my best and to always be out there doing well. I held that close to me, and tried to never disappoint her. This is a great opportunity to be in a university. Since I’m here, I can now get to where I want to go, all thanks to my mom. So I push myself to my limits to make her feel like she is accomplished, with my success. It’s a tough road getting there, and I’m happy where I am now. If you have the opportunity to go to college, take it. Big opportunities like this only come once in a life time, so take it and run with it.”

 

Ilsa Chaudhri jr accy major and minor in finance and economics

Ilsa Chaudhri, accountancy major with double-minors in finance and economics

“I think that it’s very important to pass on what you have learned to high schoolers, because we’ve been in their shoes. That was me three years ago. I wish I had more exposure or more insight from people in their transition to college. I want them to know that it’s okay to be out of your comfort zone. It’s okay to not know what you want to major in or what you want to do for the rest of your life. Just jump in and get involved! Get involved with friends, classes, and organizations. Network. Grow as a person, it’s not just about your GPA, it’s about finding out who you are and finding out what you’re passionate about. Everything else will follow.”

 

Jenee Carlson freshman business major with certificate in social entrepreneurshipJenee Carlson, freshman business major with plans to earn a certificate in social entrepreneurship

“Well, I grew up in the small town of Sycamore. I was rather sheltered, and with my dad as the principle that didn’t help much. But all joking aside, growing up my dad was always my role model and emphasized doing the right thing. I had my first job with an after school program that helped a lot with at-risk youth.

So I wanted to be a Social Worker until that job, when I realized that, emotionally, I could not handle it. That being said, I knew from then on out I want to help people in my life. So during my senior year of high school, I was introduced to the Business Leadership Academy which was run through Kish. That organization was managed by Bruce Griffith, and he became my mentor through my senior year. I worked really close with him. He introduced me to the business world, and showed me that its more than just making money. Rather, it’s about ethics and helping people, through business.

After that program, I realized I was going to be a business major, and since NIU has one of the best business schools in the country, it was a no brainer coming here. From there, I had some friends who were in Research Rookies, so I heard about it through them. That’s how I got involved with Research Rookies and the opportunity to work on the research project I’m on now. The research project is “Food Insecurity Among College Students.” We want to know if hunger is a chronic issue on campus here, and that’s what the survey is going to tell us when it goes out on the 22nd.

I really think this is an important issue to confront, as some people might not think about hunger on campus with meal plans and all. But it’s an issue that, I think, if we address it, could help out students significantly. I think it’s important to realize that if you don’t know where your next meal is going to be, it’s rather hard to be expected to perform academically. So having that perspective on this potential issue will really help the student body grow closer together.”

 

Rachel Lapidus jr mgmt major

Rachel Lapidus, management major and Business Passport student advisory board member

“The thing I am most excited about this semester is Passport Palooza week this April because I am helping to plan fun events for the college. In my free time, I like to sing, play guitar (I’m not very good yet though), watching Netflix, and cooking. Also, not a lot of people know this, but I speak Russian! I actually have found a couple people in my OMIS 351 class that do as well, which is really surprising to find in DeKalb I feel. If anyone sees me around Barsema, I basically live here, please say hi!”

 

Megan O'Brien jr accy major and marketing minorMegan O’Brien, accountancy major and marketing minor

“One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for students is to remember to take a little time for yourself every day. I think that we often get so caught up in different organizations and classes that we forget to take time for ourselves and the things that we truly enjoy doing! Whether it’s taking ten minutes to reflect on your day or taking an hour to catch up on Netflix, we all need to make sure we are allocating time for ourselves and taking a break from the stress of everyday life as a student. I wish that I had figured this out sooner in my college career because it makes such a difference in my mindset. We are busy students, but we deserve a break once in awhile too.”

 

Samantha Larson jr accy major

Samantha Larson, accountancy major

“I am always grateful for the opportunity to be studying Accounting at NIU. My parents and sisters are my big motivation. I want to be someone that my sisters can look up to. I would encourage everyone to get involved in college and find something they are passionate about. At the same time, I think students need to make time to enjoy being in college and enjoy themselves.”

 

 

Corey Meredith jr accy major and social entrepreneurship minorCorey Meredith, accountancy major and social entrepreneurship minor

“The biggest adventure of my life so far was when I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. A year ago I had the opportunity to spend a semester at the University of Economics in Prague. While I was there I took courses on International Business, Marketing, and even an introductory Czech language course. In order to adapt, I had to immerse myself into a foreign environment and culture. This was difficult at times, but the lessons I learned about life and people were priceless. I was able to travel around to 15 different countries during the 4 months I was abroad, and the main lesson I took away was that we are all not so different. People all around the world have similar wants, dreams, and aspirations for their life. This realization has inspired me to look for the best in others, and encourage everyone to follow their dreams. Never take anything for granted because not everyone has the opportunity to do what they love!”

 

Stephanie Aboutar mgmt major and mktg minor

Stephanie Aboutar, management leadership major and marketing minor with a certificate in interactive marketing

“My check-list for success:

– Always conduct yourself in a professional manner and show respect to others.

– Keep your options open and be open minded.

 

– Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you.

– Live in the moment and do not dwell on the past.

– Treat others the way you want to be treated, you do not know their story.

– Follow your heart and dreams and make them a reality.

– Take on stress by changing the way you think about it, or removing yourself from the situation.

– The anchor holds in spite of the storm.”

 

Faith Young

Faith Young, Human Resource Management major.

“I am a big advocate for getting involved in student organizations and in the community! As a transfer student, I came in with the goal of being involved in at least one student organization. I started my first semester at NIU as an executive board member for Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and as a Student Representative for the University Honors Program. I have continued my commitment to student involvement by being selected as Co-President for SHRM, member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, and Event Coordinator for Sigma Iota Epsilon, National Honorary Management Fraternity. In these roles, my main focus is to encourage other students to get involved and be leaders in all that they do! My advice to other students would be to take risks and set goals for yourself; you’ll never know all that you can achieve!”

Find the complete list so far of “Students of NIU Business” in posts labeled Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3,” and so on!

If you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured, let us know!  We love learning more about each and every participant!  Send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!

It’s Time To Register For The 2016 Social Impact Summit Hosted By CAUSE

CAUSE Logo

Register Now For The 2016 Social Impact Summit!

The founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention will be among the featured guests Friday, April 8, at the Social Impact Summit, located in the Barsema Alumni and Visitor Center starting at 8:30am!

REGISTER NOW! REGISTRATION CLOSES APRIL 1ST!

The event, hosted by the NIU-based Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs, is intended to educate students (and others) about social entrepreneurialism, to inspire them to increase their societal and environmental impacts and to create a forum where individuals passionate about changing the world can network.

Tickets are $5 for NIU students and $20 for all others. Registration is available Social Impactonline. The event is sponsored by Product Development Technologies (PDT).

The event will include presentations by social entrepreneurs, including Katie Hilborn as the keynote speaker. Katie is the founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention, an international nonprofit dedicated to keeping mothers and children together through social entrepreneurship, education, and a clean birthing program.

Katie HilbornKatie grew up in St. Charles, Illinois and spent most of her adult life in the Colorado ski town of Breckenridge. Because she lived in a seasonal environment, she had the opportunity to leave the country during the off-seasons. Since beginning to travel the globe in 2006 after she graduated from university, she always incorporated a volunteer project. Now twenty-seven countries and six continents later, she has seen first-hand how the developing world lives and has made it her mission to change that.

Currently, she is working on a social entrepreneurship program to help eradicate child trafficking in Nepal. By investing in cash crops (chili and cardamom farming), her hope is that these income generating activities will help empower the marginalized indigenous populations.

For more information, check out her website, here.

This year, CAUSE will have a similar schedule with a few changes:

  1. 8:30 – 9:15am: Coffee and Pastries with opening remarks from CAUSE
  2. 9:15 – 10:00am: Keynote Speaker, Katie Hilborn
  3. 10:05 – 10:45am: Breakout Sessions #1
  4. 10:50 – 11:30am: Breakout Session #2
  5. 11:30 – 12:00pm: Lunch and Networking
  6. 12:00 – 1:15pm: Pitch With a CAUSE Competition
  7. Closing Remarks from CAUSESave The Date

There will be two rounds of breakout sessions, and guests can choose which panel to sit in on each round. Panels to choose from during the day will include:

Impact Investing Panel:

  • Somya Munjal, is a CPA, MBA, MAS and is the Chief Youth Servant at Youthful Savings.
  • Eric Wasowicz is an Investor and Advisor with Channel Clarity LLC.
  • Joe Parisi is a Co-founder of Guard Lama.
  • Greg Lernihan, is the Co-founder of Convergint Technologies.

Working In Developing Countries:

  • Katie Hilborn is the founder and director of Global Orphan Prevention.
  • Rich Johnson is the Cofounder and CEO of Spark Ventures.
  • Kurt Thurmaier is a professor and researcher at Northern Illinois University.
  • Nancy Economou is the founder and president of Watts of Love.

Technology:

  • Moira Hardek is the President and CEO of Galvanize Labs, Inc.
  • Abby Ross is the co-founder and COO of ThinkCERCA.
  • Mark Schwartz is the CEO at PDT.

Pitch With a CAUSE Competition:

  • Pitch With a CAUSE is a competition for anyone who has an idea for a business that makes a positive social or environmental impact. The competition is open to anyone who’s interested in making a submission- high schoolers, undergrads, grad students, non-students, retirees, kindergarteners, etc. Everyone is welcome. A panel of expert investors and social entrepreneurs will select the top 5 submissions to present at the Social Impact Summit on Friday, April 8th. Each group will have 5 minutes to pitch their idea followed up with 5 minutes of Q and A from the audience and panel of judges. The team selected as the winner at the 2016 Social Impact Summit will take home the $1,500 grand prize! Second place wins $1,000 and third place wins $500!

For more information on the Social Impact Summit or CAUSE in general, please email the CAUSE President, Ilsa, at ilsaachaudhri@gmail.com.

Part 2: Students of NIU Business

Editor’s Note (Michelle here):  While Louie’s on spring break, here’s Part 2 of his new and ongoing initiative modeled after Humans of New York.  Our riff is called “Students of NIU Business.”  Remember to follow the NIU Business Instagram page to keep up with the full Students of NIU Business so far, along with other pics Louie shares there!  And if you want to join in with this and be featured in “Students of NIU Business,” send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!!

 

Part 2:  Students of NIU Business

 

Loreal Taylor marketing major

Loreal Taylor, marketing major

“I am in my last year of college. I am receiving my undergraduate degree in Marketing. Currently I am an intern for Northern Illinois Athletics communication departments and I also have an internship this summer for Kohl’s. My career path is to be a retail marketing director. I love to help people achieve their goals with internship tips and interview advice.”

Please feel free to follow her on Instagram: @Iamloreal. Loreal is also on Twitter: @Lorealtokyo. If anyone wants to know more about Ms. Taylor or what she does, she has requested anyone to feel free to contact her through social media!

 

Jinay Shah jr accy with finance minor

Jinay Shah, accountancy major with finance minor

“I was born and raised in India and moved here around 5 and a half years ago in search of better education and career opportunities. Moving to the United States has been quite a rewarding experience as it has taught me to go beyond my comfort zone to meet new people, and learn the new culture. My goal is to start my own consulting/business intelligence firm to help manage risk in businesses, and with individuals in India and other developing nations. I look forward to the fun semester and a great senior year ahead!”

 

Donna Nguyen, 2015 accy grad and current LMAS student

Donna Nguyen, accountancy alumnus and current Leadership Master of Accounting Science (LMAS) major

“I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Accountancy from NIU. Immediately after I chose to attend the LMAS (Leadership Master of Accountancy Science) Program. The graduate program here does an outstanding job of preparing the students for the CPA exam as well as for the work world! I have already made so many more connections beyond the ones I had made during my undergraduate career. When I was still in undergrad, I landed various internships, attended multiple leadership conferences, and even signed a full time job with Deloitte in Chicago two years in advance. I would definitely say the time I’ve had so far at NIU has been worth it and forever memorable.”

 

John Nazorek, sr mktg major

John Nazorek, marketing major

“Feels like yesterday I was sitting in class just a few days into Freshman year, and graduation seemed like it couldn’t come soon enough. Here I am today, 3 months before actually graduating and wishing time would slow down. I’ve gone on a lot of adventures and met so many amazing people over the past 4 years that I can’t wait to see what the future has in store. Guess it’s true, time will fly by when you’re having fun!

Advice to incoming freshman and lower level undergrads:  1) Enjoy every moment. Go out, make new friends, and get involved. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  2) College isn’t always going to be a piece of cake. Expect the unexpected, go with the flow, and don’t stress yourself out.”

 

Shawn McGinnis, jr accy major

Shawn McGinnis, accountancy major

“I chose accounting because of my sister, she has been and still is a big influence in my life. She is a very successful accountant, so I feel like I need to do the same, and be as good as she is. When choosing a school, I wanted a university with a good business school. I was choosing between U of I and NIU. Northern stood out more in the Business and the Accounting program here. My final decision was made at an Accounting visit day. I talked to advisors and master students while getting a tour of Barsema. I was sold from then on out. Amazing Accounting program, and the career fair is bar none. Not to mention, the prep courses all have been an amazing help. With the help of ACCY 370, and all of the career fair preparation, I landed my internship with Plante Moran. I will be interning with their tax department in the Spring of 2017. A big thanks to the Accounting program and the Business school is needed. I’m doing what I want in life because of them. Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) is a great organization and I have learned a lot from the upper class Accounting majors. They really guided me in the right direction.”

 

Megan Howard, senior marketing major

Megan Howard, marketing major

“I changed majors a lot. I was in Architecture competitions in high school, where I designed a resort. I didn’t win but it was really cool. I didn’t want to be behind a computer 90% of the time, I knew that for sure. I questioned multiple things when I was getting my Marketing degree through a community college, because I couldn’t do any actual Marketing courses there. So I changed paths and got my Cosmetology license. When I found out how much I didn’t like doing that as a career, it took the fun out of it for me. So I went and became a full time banker and continued my education in Marketing here at NIU. I’m actually hoping to work for Red Bull in their Sports Marketing department, as they work with all of the extreme athletes. I fell in love with that department because I’m passionate about the extreme sports as well. I’m kind of a jack of all trades I guess. I balance everything by going to school only two days a week, then I work every other day. I do stress relief days by cooking, and now I’m getting my own place, so cooking will be easier to do. I know what I want, and I’m moving towards where I want to be. It’s that drive that really keeps me going. The best advice I could say, is to never take no for an answer, ever.”

 

Anita Iyer, jr accy major with minor in econ

 

Anita Iyer, accoutancy major and economics minor

“I chose NIU because the people I used to hang out with came here and told me all of their success stories. As for my major, I pursued it because of the influence my high school teachers gave me. The best way to succeed within NIU, personally for me, is to balance your social and academic lives. You really should join an organization that gives back to the community in some way. Service is an unbelievable way to feel accomplished and get involved at the same time.”

 

Jason Kaye freshamn marketing and OMIS double major

Jason Kaye, marketing and om&is double-major, NIU Presidential Scholar, NIU Honors Program

“I’m from Round Lake IL. I have three younger siblings, but I’m the first one in college. A big reason why I chose NIU was for the College of Business honestly. I actually took Sports Marketing in high school, and that’s kinda how I got into this career space. With that being said, I am a huge Cubs fan! The best decision I have made so far was joining Delta Sigma Pi and CAUSE. My interests are: Intramural sports, reading when I can, watching Netflix and playing video games. I try to get the most out of every day. I tend to reflect on what I accomplished each day and be proud of making myself better.”

 

Cloe Pooler accy major

Chloe Pooler, accountancy major with community leadership & civic engagement and social entrepreneurship minors

“If there’s anything I hope every student learns during their time at NIU, it’s that nothing is impossible. You can rise to any challenge you face. Have a dream that seems too difficult to make a reality in your short time in the college? Enable and empower yourself by getting involved and connected and you can make anything happen; follow your passions and you can open doors to make progress on other goals. For example, I care deeply about giving back and through CAUSE and Social Entrepreneurship classes I have accomplished my other dream of studying internationally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers and faculty; we’re a Huskie family! Join groups inside the college and out, take on leadership roles, and, if you’re financing most of your education like me, apply for scholarships! Whatever you do, be fully engaged.”

 

Check out “Students of NIU Business” in posts labelled Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3,” and so on!

And if you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured, let us know! Send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!

Part 1: Students of NIU Business

Editor’s Note (Michelle here):  Like all NIU Business students, Louie is currently enjoying spring break.  So I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some of Louie’s excellent work, this a new and ongoing initiative he created and modeled after Humans of New York.  Our riff is called “Students of NIU Business.”  Check them out here in three separate posts so far.  Or go to the NIU Business Instagram page to keep up with the full Students of NIU Business so far, along with other pics Louie shares there!  And if you want to join in with this and be featured in “Students of NIU Business,” send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!!

 

Students of NIU Business

Amanda Zierden marketing major

 

Amanda Zierden, marketing major

Amanda is a junior Interactive Marketing major and has this to say about how she lives her life: “Hard work pays off, if you really want something you’re going to work towards it. It may be rough, but you have to follow through because it will be worth it in the end.”

 

 

Stephanie Sanchez OMIS major

Stephanie Sanchez, om&is major

“My father never went to high school, born and raised in Mexico. Mom was born here, some college but never attended a university. I’m not the first in my family to go to college, but it’s coming from that background of my parents not having a high level of education that created a lot of pride but also put a lot of pressure on my shoulders. No one was there to hold my hand and walk me through these pressures and occurrences that happen here at NIU. You jump in feet first and you figure out the world on your own. The pride however, came from being able to show my parents how their framework that they laid for me, really has paid off. My parents showed me I can do whatever I want in life. Growing up and seeing how my dad got so far without even speaking English, is incredible really. It’s honestly amazing being able to speak two languages and set myself apart from my peers.”hez, om&is major.

 

Devin Stompanato OMIS major and computer science minorDevin Stompanato, om&is major and computer science minor

“At first when I came in here I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to do om&is. Getting involved with Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) really helped me with what I wanted to do. Being around all of these motivated people in DSP, pushed me to do more, learn more and be better. It taught me not to settle for anything, that’s how I live my life now. You’re here and it’s so unique, some people don’t have this rare opportunity of going to college, think about that. If you can get anything just go for it, two majors, a double certificate, literally anything just go for it. I’ve used that motto to go and get involved and make me my best, no one else is going to push you forward anymore. This is all on you now, it’s real in college, it hits you right away.”

 

Jacquelyn Schueler OMIS major

Jacquelyn Schueler, om&is major

“Well, I am a junior OMIS major. When I first came to NIU I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I eventually found the College of Business and became an undeclared business major for a while. Then I chose Finance. It only took a few weeks of UBUS 310 for me to realize that number crunching was not exactly what I wanted to do. And that is when I made the switch to the OMIS program and I am so glad that I did. There is a bit of friendly competition within my family to do well because my sister is a student and my Dad, Uncle, and Aunt all graduated from NIU. And that definitely pushes me to do the best that I can. They help keep me driven and grounded when life gets chaotic. I know that if I ever have problems, I have a good support system to help me out. Which is really, all you need in life.”

 

Michael Palacios NIU Business major

Michael Palacios, NIU business major and active in the Foreign Language Residency Program

“I spent some time in Japan in high school, as part of a Study Abroad program with a company called AFS. The family I stayed with while I was there ran their own small business. Seeing the way that Japanese people conducted their business, and comparing it with the way Americans do business, I realized that there was a notable difference in the way businesses are run around the world. It really intrigued me. I think it’s important to understand that the United States isn’t the only country in the world, and that one can pursue a life anywhere. NIU and the College of Business do a really great job of promoting global awareness. I chose NIU, not only because of the reputation the College of Business has, but also because of the Foreign Language Residency Program. A global perspective is a very powerful thing, and I think that American students, especially, need to work harder to achieve one. Our school is doing a very good job of helping us to do that.”

 

Kevin Mui marketing major

Kevin Mui, marketing major

“This is my 3rd year here at NIU and it has been an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I would highly recommend transfers or freshmen to take advantage of getting involved on campus. For me, Joining Kappa Pi Beta was one of the best things I’ve done to help me transition into college. The organization definitely helped break me out of my shell. They provided me with a plethora of opportunities to develop myself into a well-rounded leader while still keeping an emphasis in maintaining academic excellence and time-management. It also helped me branch off to other organizations and take leadership roles in them. To keep me motivated, I always ask myself “Will I regret not taking advantage of these opportunities when I’m older?” My other motivating factors would be my parents. They moved here from China not knowing any english at all. They’re one of the main reasons why I grind so hard in school. They took care of me and sacrificed so much for a chance for me and my siblings to succeed and have a better future. I want them to know that I don’t take it for granted and I’ll be taking care of them one day. That will be the day I could finally be happy and relieved knowing that their sacrifices has paid off.”

 

Bhrianna Barker marketing major

 

Bhrianna Barker, marketing major

“I will be graduating this May 2016 and starting my career as an ETL with Target. Other than school and work, I enjoy reading, binge watching Netflix TV shows, and shopping for shoes. I am also a proud dog-mom of a maltese named Coco. My first language was Spanish and I will be the first person in my family to graduate college. Currently, I am the Target NIU Campus Liaison and helping find new interns and future managers for Target stores and Distribution Center. I am also President of the organization NABA, and we are still looking for spring members to join.”

 

Jeffrey Kamholz marketing major

 

Jeffrey Kamholz, marketing major

“The final frame, the ninth inning, overtime, you get the picture. I guess I want to tell a story. So, as a senior I was looking for a school that could have some scholarship opportunities and provide success for my future. The moment I stepped foot on campus I knew I had found a home. You know, I got as involved as I could my freshman year. I started to pledge Delta Sigma Pi, and joined a few organizations then right in the middle of it, I blew out my ACL. What I learned form that, 8 weeks in, I had surrounded myself with people that barley knew me but they still wanted to help out. The brothers of DSP didn’t owe me anything but they were great and helped me out. That was the theme of my time at NIU. Great students, great faculty, to great alumni. I have been able to accomplish so much because of everyone surrounding me. I guess looking back, you reminisce about everything. It’s been an incredible four years here and I hope to stay as involved as I can after graduation and as life goes on. I guess all I can say next is, Go Huskies.”

 

Sam Kusswurm finance and accy major

 

Sam Kusswurm, finance and accountancy double-major

“It’s hard to imagine, but in a few months I will be graduating from NIU and beginning my career at PwC. During every big transition it’s pretty common to think about the different choices that were made and experiences that were had. I’m really happy to say that I view my time at NIU as a great success and want to share some advice on how other students can make the most out of their time here as well. I think one of the biggest contributors to my experience at NIU was the decision to get involved, and specifically to get involved early. I wasn’t very involved in high school and wanted to change that in college. I found some amazing organizations to be apart of early on that helped me to develope as a friend, professional, and leader. Serving as President for both Delta Sigma Pi and NIU Investment Association has been incredibly rewarding. Both have given me some of my best friends as well as in the case of Delta Sigma Pi a family here on campus. I wouldn’t have received so much from them though if I hadn’t joined early, which is why I encourage everyone to try and get involved as soon as they get on campus.”

 

Check out more “Students of NIU Business” in posts labelled “Part 2,” “Part 3,” and so on!

And if you’re an NIU Business student who wants to be featured, let us know! Send an email to Louie at lzmich1@niu.edu!