Student of NIU Business – Student Intern Louie Zmich

 

As some of you may know, it has been my job for the past two years to find, interview, and write articles on the various students of NIU Business. I thought it would be a wonderful idea to find students who really embody the meaning of scholarly education, and have them voice their stories, with the goal to inspire others to keep making themselves, and the world, a better place. So far, I personally think our efforts have been quite successful.

Naturally, given the scope of the project, I was avoiding doing an article on myself. However, I have decided that the first Student of NIU post of the semester would be of myself given the demand for such piece, and the fleeting time I have left in this position. Below is a summary of my advice for those who are currently or will soon enroll at the College of Business for class. This is simply my opinion, but advice non-the-less. I look forward to producing my last semester of content to those who will read, and I wish the best of luck to all of you in the New Year.

 

Louis Zmich
Marking major
Social Entrepreneurship minor
CoB Marketing and Social Media Student Intern

“I think that everyone should pave their own personal path through life, confronting the difficult times in order to make way for new, innovative, and personalized experiences. That’s what’s great about living in today’s world; we have incredible resources at our disposal that so many of us get to take advantage of every day. Some people have taken these opportunities and vastly succeeded, but some of us simply don’t have access to said resources. With that in mind, I find it imperative to soak up every last bit of knowledge we can, because it truly is a gift.

You know, I’ve heard a lot of quotes that have really stuck with me over the past five years of college, one of which was said by Warren Buffett, “We only truly learn from mistakes, but those mistakes do not have to be our own.”

How profound is that, right? Collaborating and pooling your networks with other like-minded people, is the perfect way to continuously learn without facing the sometimes-harsh misfortunes life can bring. One of my biggest recommendations is, find a mentor and surround yourself with good people. But be honest with yourself. Do a personal inventory and really evaluate whom you associate with. Sometimes we make excuses for those around us who bring us down, but your life is too valuable for that. Make the most out of it by reading the words of those who you admire, and surround yourself with people who will help you grow and support you when you fall.

The next bit I could offer is to take every day as a new opportunity for growth. Make yourself a better person when you go to bed, than you were when you woke up. Set the building blocks today, so you have confidence in yourself when adversity comes your way. I think a lot of us lean on others to find happiness, which is great, but I believe that true happiness comes from within. If we can all be happy within ourselves, then finding others who provide positivity is the right path to pure joy. Continuously try to be the best version of yourself, each day. If you can achieve that, you no longer will be comparing yourself to others, you will start to only see you for who you are, and love yourself in the process. Too much time can be wasted worrying about what others are doing. As a result, we never stop to see who we really are.

In The Book of Joy, The Dali Lama explains how human beings only know how to be humans, by other humans. We simply cannot survive in this world without each other. He goes further into the explanation with an example. Without the help of outside elements, a flower could never be a beautiful piece for all to see. Without proper, constructive human interaction, we could never thrive either. So make sure the interactions you have are the proper ones.

And lastly, I leave you with this. Do yourself a favor, and stop worrying about things you cannot control. Now, worry and anxiety are simply emotions triggered by the fact that you care about what is currently or has happened in the past. If you didn’t feel a sense of worry, you probably didn’t care much about what was going on. So, look at those feelings as a token of your appreciation for what is happening. We worry about failing that exam because we care about our potential grade in the class, but what sense is worrying when the exam is over? Are our worries going to fix the situation? Unfortunately, no, as I’ve found out often enough, unnecessary stress is certainly not an ingredient to success. If we worry less, we will think clearly and get angry less often. Only worry about what is truly worth your time, control your emotions and make the right decisions in order to keep moving towards a prosperous future.”

Of course, this is easier said than done, but I think we all have things to learn from each other. Which is why I am excited to continue to meet other fascinating people throughout this semester. I hope this can relate to some of you out there, and until next time, have a wonderful start to your 2017!

– Louie

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.

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!

Celebrating 2015 & Propelling Forward into 2016

 

Editor’s Note:  Happy 2016 from NIU Business!  The academic semester begins January 19, 2016.  (Don’t forget NIU Business scholarship applications are due January 20, 2016!) Before that time we want to briefly celebrate some of the significant things we achieved in 2015 — together!

 

NIU BUSINESS:  YEAR 2015 IN REVIEW

1.  New Program in Entrepreneurship.  The Mike & Kristina McGrath Entrepreneurship Initiative was created with a generous $1 million investment from Mike & Kristina McGrath.

2.  Scholarships.  Available NIU Business scholarships totaled $650,000.  In 2015, more than 20 new scholarships were created and included:  The Robert and Catherine Rothkopf Leadership Scholarship, and the Dr. Denise Schoenbachler Leadership Award in MIS/SAP Integration, created by honorary alumnus Chris Millington and his wife Lorraine.

3.  National News Coverage.  Last year, 14 national news stories featured the excellence of NIU Business faculty research and the college programs.

4.  Student-Created Conferences.  Year 2015 saw at least three student-created conferences, all of them high profile and high impact.  They are:  the Social Impact Summit; Pitch with a CAUSE, and; the BELIEF Week series of events.

5.  Partnerships.  NIU Business entered into 5 partnerships with community colleges to offer a joint business degree designed to help working students and non-traditionals earn their degree.

6.  Guest Speakers.  More than 200 guest speakers — all highly accomplished professionals from a variety of organizations — shared lessons learned with NIU Business students.

7.  Abundance in Faculty Excellence.  

    • 2015 Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Dean
    • Fulbright Specialist for International Peace
    • Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship
    • Top 50 ranking for top-tier research productivity
    • Editor-in-chief of an academic journal
    • James E. Thompson named professorship

8.  Spectacular & Uncommon Students

9.  Sharing Lessons Learned

10 Best in Class – Rankings

  • NIU Business has ranked favorably for more than two decades, since the beginning of the U.S. News list
  • Part-Time MBA ranked among the best programs by U.S. News for 3 consecutive years
  • Master of Accounting Science ranked #9 nationally by Accounting Degree Review
  • Undergraduate and Graduate accountancy programs ranked among Top 25 nationally by Public Accounting Report
  • NIU’s SAP TERP10 exam students achieved a 70% pass rate, exceeding the national average

 

We could list MUCH more.  Instead, we invite you to share your top NIU Business happenings in 2015!  List them in the comments section of this post, and we’ll update our 2015 highlights!

NIU Business Teaming with Friends

Editor’s note:  During the busy-ness of finals week, take a breather between exams and studying and check out this guest post from senior management major Daniella Vintika. Daniella (pictured in the center, below) describes one of the most meaningful things she’s experienced in the NIU College of Business:  building true relationships and friendships. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Daniella, and congratulations to you and your friends on graduating in just a handful of days!  

by Daniella Vintika

I started at Northern Illinois College of Business two years ago.  I came from a community college, so I entered NIU as a junior.  It was the first time I took courses at a university.  I decided to commute to NIU because I live about thirty minutes away, and it just made the most sense with my finances. NIU was an intimidating place for me at first.  I was a little scared and nervous because I didn’t know a single person at the College of Business, but luckily that was going to change for me.

The first semester was challenging, taking courses like UBUS 310 and 311 together.  This is something you’ll hear from almost every business student who has taken the courses.  I learned fairly quickly that I was going to have to do a lot of teamwork. Basically every class I took had at least one team project if not more during the semester and some team assignments lasted all semester long. I knew that if I wanted to be successful during these next two years and get good grades I would need to make friends with the teammates in class. I was nervous at first relying on a group of people I had never met before and I knew nothing about their work ethic to do well in class (and I’m sure the same was true for them!) but being able to work with people you don’t know is a must for success. I will say I was pleasantly surprised with the results the majority of the time.

Throughout the semesters, I made genuine friends with individuals on these teams. They became more than teammates.  They became people I could talk to about things other than school and get advice from about any subject in life and count on them for help when I needed it. Not everyone in every team I was in was a great worker or a great friend, but I could count at least one person if not more from each group who I would want to work with again in the future or continue a friendship. The relationships that didn’t end up working in some teams taught me how to handle different situations and that’s also very important. It was exciting to feel like I wasn’t alone at school and that I had true friends there with me along the way.

As friends we would look out for each other and really cared about each other’s progress. We would always check up on one another to make sure everyone remembered when due dates were coming up and give each other tips on how we could do assignments better. We worked together a lot through the semesters, creating study guides as a group to make the work load easier. We were all going through the same thing, day to day, and knew that helping each other out really helped us all out in the end. Although, it was hard work most of the time through the semesters here we also had alot of fun as well. We would hangout outside of school, go out together and let loose after long weeks of school work. We would work hard and play hard, even though it seemed like we were working more than playing. The friendships I created here have made my college experience at NIU truly a really great one.

These friendships opened me up to new things and always caused me to think about things differently, from a different perspective.  Having these teams in college prepared me for the future, because I am much better now at opening up and creating relationships. I now know how to deal with different group situations whether they are good or bad. I recognize being able to handle this is very important in any career.  I’ve learned from professors and guest speakers that you will have to work as a team many times in your life and I feel prepared and much more confident to do so thanks to the real life experiences I have had here at NIU’s College of Business. These semesters would have been much more difficult if I wasn’t able to have these friendships and I feel so thankful for that.

I graduate this December and now I have a great network of individuals who I call friends. Some of my friends are looking for jobs and some have jobs already and have offered to help me get at job at the company they work for. I think that alone tells you that they are a good friend because they want to see you succeed along with them. I cannot stress enough how important it is to build relationships wherever you go in life.  I didn’t realize the significance of this when I first entered NIU but I know how this is really true.  It will teach you a lot no matter what the experience itself is like. This learning experience has been the best part of being a student here at NIU and although I am sad to leave and everyone is going their separate ways I hope that I can keep contact with my friends and continue to build these friendships even more and long after graduation.

 

 

Discover the Greatness Within

Editor’s Note: Hello! It’s Jacob Ferguson, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business. Do you ever wonder what you were put on this world to do? Do you ever ask yourself if you are living your life to its fullest potential? What I intend to provide you with in this post is aid in helping you better answer and understand those questions. What this post will not provide you with is the answers. If you would like to learn more about me please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.

What makes you great?

What makes you great?

Most of us wander through life wondering what it is we were put on this world to do. Some figure it out sooner than others and some never figure it out at all. What follows are some thought provoking ideas that will make you think about who you are and who you want to be. Here goes nothing…

Accept yourself for who you are. You can’t begin living until you have fully accept yourself and all your insecurities. You are who you are and there are some things that can simply not be changed. The sooner that you realize that the better off you will be.

Being perfect is a sham. The idea of being perfect is unrealistic and quite frankly quite humorous. It’s something that one can strive for their whole life and never achieve, much like a dog chasing its tail. Focus on being the best you that you can be.

Ride with the tide and go with the flow. Embrace everything that happens to you whether good or bad and more importantly find the lesson in everything you do. Work tirelessly to change the things you can but don’t be discouraged by the things you can’t.

Find your balance. Discover what energizes you, what makes you happy, and how you connect to yourself. If you do this you will never work a day in your life.

Use those around you as a mirror. Surround yourself with people that you have things in common with and would like to be like. Chances are if you are around a person enough you will pick up on certain things that they do and adapt them as your own.

Connect to your core. Find harmony between who you are and what you do. Take what you’ve already learned about yourself and transform your life.

Strive for greatness and never settle. When you’ve fall down, pick yourself back up. Don’t be average, but most importantly be yourself.

If this post did nothing more than make you think about and reflect upon yourself than I would deem it a success. As the end of the year approaches and the number of blog posts I have left dwindles down, I will do my best to write about what I am thinking about as a student because I can only assume that a lot of you are thinking about the same things and going through the same changes as I am. Until next time!

 

Letter to Future Self: College Edition

Editor’s Note: Hello! It’s Jacob Ferguson, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business. I am happy to declare that the end is near and it is bittersweet. As a senior with graduation and the rest of my life approaching I thought to myself about what advice I might have for my future self. With all the stress and excitement associated with this milestone here is what I came up with. If you would like to learn more about me please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter.

Hello Jacob,

So you’ve graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Operations Management & Information Systems and completed your year of service as a City Year Chicago Corps Member, now what’s next? I cannot answer that question for you, but I know what I can do. I can and will provide you with a handful of tips and advice not only to help you succeed, but also to help you stay true to yourself.

  • Family and friends come first. When you are down and feel like you have nowhere left to turn look to the people that you have surrounded yourself with because they are there for a reason.
  • Follow your heart. If there is anything I have learned it is that if you dislike something enough the money will never be worth it.
  • Achieve financial freedom. Having the ability to walk away from any situation without having to think about the financial implications is a power few have, but many want.
  • Find time to disconnect. You don’t always have to be plugged to be social.
  • Just because an opportunity has presented itself does not necessarily mean that it is worth it. Realize that you can’t do everything.
  • Get and stay involved. Find an organization that fits you and that will help you develop both personally and professionally.
  • Focus on your health because you sure didn’t in college. A little bit will go a long away here so start eating better and hitting the gym.
  • Find a way to earn passive income. If you could receive income on a regular basis with little effort, why wouldn’t you?
  • Greet the janitor with the same respect you greet the CEO. You never know how small gestures like this will pay off and if they don’t at least you will feel a lot better about yourself as a result.
  • Remember to stay in touch. Send an email or give a call to those from your past. You don’t have to talk everyday with someone to have a good relationship.
  • Take risks and fail fast. You are at a point in your life where you are young enough to bounce back.
  • As important as you think it is to have the newest phone or the nicest car there are more important things in life that can’t be held in your hand or driven.
  • Be grateful and appreciate what you have because it can be taken from you at any moment.

I said it once and I will say it again, make the most out of these next couple years because you will never be as young as you are right now.  Strive for excellence and don’t forget where you came from. There will be times when life knocks you down, just remember to get back up.

Sincerely,

Jacob Ferguson

 

 

The Start of a New Beginning: My Journey to NIU

Editors Note: Hello everyone, I want to introduce myself before I start this article. My name is Louie Zmich, and I am a transfer student from Harper College, a community college in Palatine, before that I went to Elmhurst College. So this entry is going to be about my journey here to NIU and what it was like in the transition into a bigger school while transferring over credits from two different colleges. If you would like to know more about me you can follow me on all social media @LOUIEZMICH and check out my Beard and Mustache club that’s here at NIU on Facebook to find out what we’re all about, simply search “NIU Beard and Mustache Club.” Enjoy!

(I am the gent on the left.)

Transfer Student Experience - Louis Zmich

Transfer Student Experience - Louis Zmich

What was it like transferring to Northern Illinois University; honestly, I would describe the overall situation as being very smooth and welcoming for the most part. I am a firm believer in the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” That being said, NIU was always one of my top picks for schools, but when I graduated high school my number one priority was going to schools that offered me the opportunity to play golf, and was close to home in order to be close with my family. Elmhurst College fit the bill, as I was not only able to play golf, but I was also able to study Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy at a school that was known for those majors, it was perfect, until everything came to a halt. Elmhurst College was a private school and tuition was a monster to pay for. Not only that, but since it was so expensive, I had to commute an hour round trip everyday just to get to classes. It just didn’t even feel like I was attending a university because at the end of the day I was back in my parent’s house. From Elmhurst College I saved some money at the community college, Harper College, but I quickly realized that even though I was passionate in Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy, my personality was much more suited for the world of Business. I just loved the concept of meeting new people while being professional, and working my way into the corporate world was something that really got the gears turning in my head. It also helped that the majors I listed above were great assets to have to put towards the Business world.

Even though I had decided on Business, my decision was still not set on NIU. My gut feeling kept telling me NIU, but all of my friends were going to schools in the city, and loving the city life, so naturally I was pulled to follow my friends. I felt that universities in the city just did not match the needs I wanted. NIU is a big college but professors here do not treat you as just another number, they actually want to sit down with you and help you succeed. Any college can say that, but I experienced it first hand when sitting in on classes and talking to students at universities in Chicago. That reason alone spoke wonders about the staff at NIU, and that goes a long way in my book, after all isn’t that what you’re paying for? Plus, NIU has a wonderful bus system that will honestly take you anywhere you’re looking to go, even to the train station to travel to the city, so it was a win, win. NIU even has an app that is constantly being updated and shows you where the bus is, in real time, you cannot get anymore convenient than that. Right off the bat, the fact that the people on the phone and in the classroom were so accommodating to all my questions, along with transportation to visit my friends, left me excited to find out more about the school. When I came to visit, I was pleasantly surprised.

The DeKalb area felt very welcoming to me, some people do not appreciate these little things but I sure do; the little mom and pop shops, the small farms down the road selling their farm made produce, and all the old homes that have been here for almost a century. That stuff really pulls me in, and I had not even gotten to the school yet, so overall it had a small town feel with a big school atmosphere, everywhere you went, people were supporting the NIU Huskies, I loved that.  After our tour of the school I realized something very important to me, besides the cool places around campus, like comic shops, places to eat, and the old nostalgia the buildings had, to the beautiful new buildings on campus, I realized that NIU really took the time to make sure you got involved and fit In wherever you were coming from. Sure other schools do that too, but everyone I met, professors, and TA’s all gave me their Business card and actually made me feel like I could contact them anytime and ask questions, little things like that really resonate with me, and trust me, I have made connections with professors from contacting them and meeting with them. On top of that, NIU has a wonderful program connected to all the community colleges and Universities in the area, where your credits easily transfer over. I honestly didn’t have any credits get misplaced when transferring in, and as you may know, that is quite stressful not knowing if something will transfer over, NIU made that very easy to achieve.

So, I got accepted and I’m ready to move out, what’s next. Well, I need a job to pay my bills, and more importantly I need a place to live. This was my only gripe through this process, was finding a place to live. Quite frankly the housing on campus is just inconvenient for me, the price tag is just not obtainable for me at all, but I do have to say that I would have met much more people a lot sooner if I had stayed in the dorms, so maybe you’re also paying for the convenience. So, dorm living and apartment living in Northern View, was just not an option for me personally, but I would have loved to stay in the dorms to meet all the cool people and participate in the floor activities. After looking around at the local housing situations, I decided that I was best suited with a private company with a small owner. To me, it fit my needs because I was able to have a relationship with the owner and have a landlord that I knew personally after a while. That is just my style, but it certainly was welcoming to see so many housing options, there is an option for everyone’s living wants and needs. So once I made that realization, I then looked at the private companies around campus, and I could not have made a better decision. I ended up going with D & J Properties, a small company owned by Dan and Joe Sears. Cheap, close to campus, and the brothers live in the neighborhood, so anything that goes wrong, they are around within the hour, it really was a perfect fit, I could walk to campus and still pay for myself to live on my own.

My next objective before even coming to this school was to get involved and find a job. This section right here is what I think NIU strives, there are so many clubs and organizations on campus, you honestly will not be getting the full experience if you do not join something. Seriously, professionalism aside, get off the couch and join a club, you will be happy you did. There are so many choices for jobs and activates, it’s a bit ridiculous, but in a good way. I applied to a lot of jobs on campus, and they were all responsive in a timely manner, but I ended up taking a job at the Police Department on campus being a student patroller. The Chief of Police here honestly has done so much work over the last two years he has been in office. As students, it really feels like the officers are understanding at the fact that you’re going to go out on the weekend, so there are no questioned asked services like walking escorts home, and buss services like Late Night Ride, as long as you’re being safe and getting home safe, you’ll have a way back to your bed at the end of the night. Just for your sake, and the officer’s sake, be respectful and they will respect you. That’s so comforting to me, and I’m sure it’s comforting for your parents to hear as well. Everything is so close to campus as it is, so the walks home aren’t that long anyway, but a warm buss on a DeKalb winter night cannot be passed up, trusts me. The Police Department fit my schedule needed, as the job is overnight work, and it gave me a chance to move up in the company as next year I will be a supervisor on the team for Huskie Patrol, what a great experience.

Lastly I wanted to talk about clubs and organizations, there are seriously too many to choose from. An entire gym full of tables has rows and rows of clubs and organizations to choose from. Sports to hobbies and Greek life, you name it they have it. Well, maybe not everything, so why not start your own? That’s what I did, I wanted to create a club that taught boys how to be functioning men of society, to teach how to dress, speak, and treat women the way our grandparents did. So, I had the idea and ran with it! You only need one other person to back you up and you can start your own club, and boom, the Beard and Mustache Club of NIU was born. Now, it’s more complicated than that to have your club recognized by the school, but you can find that out on your own, you just need faculty members to get involved and most are accommodating. But seriously, join something, no excuses, when you join a club you are going to make friends who instantly have the same interest as you, and that is so valuable, trust me, sometimes it’s about who you know in life and what hands you shook, and you can only do that when you get involved. I personally joined the Ultimate Frisbee club, Bowling Club, and started my own club in a matter of weeks being here. Unfortunately the Ultimate Frisbee and Bowling Team did not really fit my schedule for the semesters, but along with scheduling issues I also decided to try and join the Profession Business Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi, I currently am a pledge and I can say it honestly has been the best time I have had at NIU so far, seriously, again, join something, make friends and just get involved. So many people probably have told you the same thing, but its true, I cannot stress enough how enjoyable my time here has been because of these clubs and organizations. With a little hard work you really can go far here.

So besides the small things I said about the school, I really only scratched the surface, I glanced over the fact that there’s tutors all the time ready to help you, and most of the professors are ready to jump by your side.  The campus is full of tools and just like anything in life, you get out what you put into it, if you come in here just wanting to coast by, you’re going to get an experience that fits the bill. If you try new things, meet new people and really get involved, you never know whom you are going to meet. More importantly, you don’t want to look back on your college experience and realize that you didn’t take advantage of everything this school gives you, from the surrounding town, to finances and activities, I am glad I transferred and switched my major, because the three years I now have here, I know are going to be some of the best years of my life. Good luck on your journey, and hopefully your experience is going to be just like mine, amazing.