Letter to Past Self: College Edition

Editor’s Note: Hello! It’s Jacob Ferguson again, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business. I hope you all survived your first week and are looking forward to the summer just as much as I am. The goal of this post is to not only reflect on the past, but also share with all of you some of the advice I would give my past self or someone just entering college. If you would like to learn more about me please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jacob-ferguson/49/121/998 or follow me on Twitter: @JacobFerguson53.

Jacob Ferguson - Senior Year of High School

Jacob Ferguson - Senior Year of High School

Hello Jacob,

This picture brings me great joy because it captures you on your last day of high school. You thought you had it all figured out. You thought you had the perfect plan. Little did you know that plan was about to change. I am glad to tell you that you are better off for not following that plan and wanted to give you some advice for your journey ahead:

  • Get involved as early on as possible, it is truly what makes the next four years of your life bearable. You will meet most of your best friends this way and will develop yourself both personally and professionally in ways that you never thought were possible.
  • Focus on your GPA and doing well in your classes more than you would like to admit your first couple of years. With that being said, I am not telling you to not focus the last couple years…just that classes will get harder and that you might catch a common case of senioritis.
  • Don’t forget to call home. You might be busy and get caught up in life but that is no excuse to stray away from the people who have always been there for you and always will.
  • When you say that you will do something, do it! There is nothing worse than burning a bridge.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity you get to travel. Whether it be to a different continent, country, state, or city there is value to be found and lessons to be learned in the most unordinary of places. The cross-cultural experience you will receive as a result is invaluable.
  • Develop a budget and stick to it. There is nothing worse than not being able to do something that you want just because you don’t have the money.
  • Go out more and live it up! Don’t be afraid to meet new people and try new things. The video games and Netflix will be there when you get home.
  • Don’t fear what you don’t know. You didn’t know what you were doing back then and you still don’t, just roll with it!
  • Be weird! Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd and march to the beat of your own drum. Also, don’t be afraid to dance!
  • Fail and make mistakes! Some of the greatest lessons you will learn are from the times you thought things couldn’t get any worse.
  • Exercise…somehow it always ends up being the last priority on the list. Find something that gets you moving and that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be running or working out, it can be racquetball or Quidditch. Just get out there and move.
  • When it comes to food and alcohol don’t be afraid to spend a little extra. Your body can only handle so much cheap vodka and late night Taco Bell. You will thank me later!
  • Go to class! You’ll learn what you need to know and you won’t have to cram so much the night before an exam.
  • Put the cell phone down! And with that being said never put anything on the Internet that you might regret later. If you won’t want your mom seeing it then don’t post it.
  • Just because it will look good on your resume doesn’t mean that you will enjoy it. Be sure that you are doing things for the right reasons.
  • Get used to checking your email and Blackboard. It is no longer your professor’s job to spoon feed you when things are due, it’s on you.
  • Keep applying for scholarships! There is so much “free” money out there and no reason that it shouldn’t be yours.
  • Don’t bring so much stuff! You will be amazed at how many things you thought you would need that end up in the back of the closet.

I could do this for hours but this is a good start. You have all the tools you need to succeed and I would bet my bottom dollar that you do. I will leave you with a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger that has really resonated with me these past four years, “The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that.” Good luck and have fun!

Sincerely,

Jacob Ferguson

Welcome Back: Let The Games Begin!

Editor’s Note: Hello! For those of you who are just tuning in my name is Jacob Ferguson and I am a senior Operations Management and Information Systems (OM&IS) major here at Northern Illinois University in my last semester. Before we get started I would just like to thank all of you who followed my journey thus far and to inform you that you are in for a treat this semester. The goal of this post is to inform you on the direction that we at College of Business plan to take the Student Voices Blog this spring and to help you get a head start. If you would like to learn more about me please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jacob-ferguson/49/121/998 or follow me on Twitter: @JacobFerguson53.

New Year's Eve in New York City - "The Big Apple"

New Year's Eve in New York City - "The Big Apple"

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you all had the opportunity to spend some quality time with your friends and family as well as take a load off from the ever-demanding fall semester. I myself had the opportunity to do all of that in addition to doing one of my favorite things, traveling. I am lucky to have spent New Year’s Eve with some of my best friends in New York City – “The Big Apple”.

In terms of the Student Voices Blog, similar to last semester we plan to be transparent in our posts and will try to give you a taste of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to this place that most of us call home for four some odd years. The only difference this semester is that topics were hand selected with students in mind and will focus on providing students with an escape from everyday life.  As always this blog is written for students and by students.

With regards to helping our students get a head start on the semester brace yourselves as we are about to present you with 6 easy ways to get ahead:

1)      Start the sleep cycle – Get into a habit and don’t sleep away the most productive part of the day.

2)      Check internship deadlines – Whether you like it or not, it is never too early to get a jumpstart on your future employment and save yourself a headache later on.

3)      Jumpstart your assignments – Thinking about course materials ahead of time will go a long way in making the grade.

4)      Fill out FAFSA – The deadline might seem far away but filling it out early will only increase your chances of receiving the best financial aid package for you.

5)      Set goals – Take a moment to reflect on your best as well as your worst habits from the previous semester and make a plan.

6)      Get excited – Staying eager and positive is half the battle when heading into a new semester.

Good luck and have fun this semester! Go Huskies!

from India to NIU to the PwC Tax Challenge

Editor’s note:  Here’s a guest post from NIU sophomore accountancy major Jinay Shah. In this post, Jinay shares his experience with the PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax Challenge…which, we just learned from Jinay, turns out to be an overall business challenge.  Check it out!  

But first, we invited Jinay to share a bit more about himself along with his contact information.  (So if you’re on LinkedIn, add Jinay to your network!):

I am Jinay, a sophomore accountancy major in the NIU College of Business. I am originally from the Asian subcontinent of India where I was born, brought up and completed the peak years of my youth. I migrated to the United States in 2010 with my family to be closer to my extended family and to seek life-changing academic and professional opportunities. English was always treated as a second language when I was back in India which is why I lacked proper pronunciation, vocabulary and grammatical skills necessary to succeed in high school and University education. I have been involved a lot in the student affairs side of the University. I am currently the President of Grant Complex Hall Council, a residence hall here at NIU and I am also an active member of the Residence Hall Association. I often volunteer, put up interesting programs and develop leadership opportunities for students on campus. I am also part of the University Honors Program and live in the Business Careers House in Grant. I love photography, film and Technology. Over the summer, I like to go on video trips by myself in Downtown Chicago and make time lapses and just have fun with my camera and phone. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jinay26 & Twitter: Jinay26Shah. America is still new to me despite living here for 4 years and I look forward to meeting new people and learning alot about the culture and lifestyle.  Thanks!

The PwC Tax Challenge

by Jinay Shah

Hello Huskies! Greetings and Happy Holidays! I am Jinay, a sophomore accountancy major here in the College of Business. I wanted to share with you all my experience with the PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax Challenge that took place on our campus on November 4th 2014. To my surprise, there were very few participants in the PwC Tax Challenge. Perhaps, it was the busiest time of the semester. To everyone who is thinking about participating in the challenge, I would highly encourage everyone to participate in this Tax Challenge no matter what major you are. It has nothing to do with knowing the tax code or GAAP Accounting Knowledge. It is simply a test for professionalism and the ability to come up with a creative solution to a real-world business problem.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, commonly referred to as PwC, is a limited liability professional services firm that provides accounting and consulting support to their clients. It is one of the “Big Four” firms in the United States and a global brand. PwC hosts two challenges each year for students in business:  the tax challenge and the accounting challenge, respectively. The accounting challenge is a little more theoretical than the tax challenge. The tax challenge is more focused on the practical aspects of business issues. Our school proudly hosted the PwC Tax Challenge.

The first step in the process is to speak to NIU Accountancy Professor Julitta Gilbert who is the faculty sponsor for the Tax Challenge. She will be able to share with you her experience as she has been sponsoring the challenge for the last few years. Next, try to communicate with the NIU PwC recruiter, Amber Battin. She is on campus quite often especially during Internship and Career Fairs. She will be able to provide you with more in-depth detail about the challenge and how the entire process will work.

Secondly, find three to four other members who you can work with during the two week challenge and the presentation day. These members do not need to be your friends or acquaintances, they can be anyone in the NIU College of Business. Graduate Students, your T.A’s or even other members in different classes are some of the best examples of people to work with. Look at the challenge information page on PwC website which will tell you the limitations as to how many people at what level can you have in a group.

Finally, attend the challenge kickoff meeting where you will be able to meet other teams, NIU Accountancy Professor Gilbert and a few professionals from PwC. There you will be provided with complete challenge information, resources you may need…this meeting officially kicks off the challenge. You and your team will have two weeks from the meeting time to sit together, prepare a solution and your presentation for the final days.

I worked with two sophomore students, a junior student and a graduated teaching assistant. Our challenge was to find a solution for reporting Virtual Currency to a hypothetical government and a country. Our job was to come up with a solution for reporting virtual currency taxes and how they would be taxed. We all had different opinions as to solutions but we all worked together to come up with an enhanced opinion that was balanced and acceptable to all of us. One thing I was worried about was the team communication as to meeting times and agenda for meetings. Fortunately, we communicated well with each other utilizing social media and did not have any major issues. We were quite productive during our meetings as we split up responsibilities for research of various concepts.

The day before the presentation of our solution, we unfortunately lost a teammate due to a medical emergency. We had to re-practice our presentation and go over who was presenting what ideas. This gave us a real-life challenge itself because it does happen more often than we think in companies from my experience.

We then presented on the official Challenge day along with 3 other teams. We unfortunately did not win but had the opportunity to meet and interact with Senior Associates from PwC in Tax and Audit. It really gives you a fresh perspective on accountancy careers in PwC and in other companies. I really had a lot of fun as it was a really interesting learning experience for me and my team mates. I would encourage every single student in the College of Business at NIU to participate in the PwC Tax Challenge next year.

If you’d like more information about Jinay’s post, Jinay can be reached on Twitter at Jinay26Shah, on LinkedIn at  https://www.linkedin.com/in/jinay26  and also via email at jshah26@niu.edu !

Behind the Scenes with Bryn Gibson: The Door Guy

Editor’s Note: It’s Jacob Ferguson, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the Northern Illinois University College of Business here! This week we caught up with Bryn Gibson a senior majoring in Business Administration to see just why he holds the doors open for his peers every day.

Bryn Gibson - Business Administration student at NIU

Bryn Gibson - Business Administration student at NIU

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

“My name is Bryn Gibson. I am a 23 year old man pursuing a degree in business administration at NIU. I grew up as a home schooler where my mother was my teacher until my senior year in high school. She was a teacher and administrator for a school district and probably the biggest influence in my life. I am a rather simplistic man in that I pursue my version of what Aristotle referred to as “the good life”. What my good life entails is accumulating wisdom, knowledge, close ties and relationships to people, and being genuine to others by being honest and showing every person I meet a general degree of respect. I place respect of my fellow man in high regards. My hobbies include cooking (Eastern Japanese and Western Mediterranean cuisine specifically) , origami, reading, writing, and Japanese martial arts.”

Why do you hold the door open at Barsema Hall? Is Barsema Hall the only place?

“My philosophy for why I hold doors for people is very simple: I care about others. There is a practical and altruistic reason for why I do this. The practical reason is because I more often than not see people distracted through various means, such as talking to someone else, having their hands full, texting or making a call. Through these means of distraction, I see a decent number of people run into the door or can’t open it due to no available hands. So I took it upon myself to try to either ensure that they continue having a good day by removing one minor annoyance from their busy day, or I alleviate said minor annoyance from their bad day making it a little better for them. The altruistic reason is simply because I like to help others from big ways such as volunteer work and tutoring, to very small things like holding the door and smiling at others (I smile a lot because I love to do so and a single smile can be a powerful positive force for someone. More so than most realize). It is part of my never ending pursuit of the good life and becoming a decent person for others. I don’t know as to whether or not I am a good person because that depends on who you ask (as is such with many conversations in life), but I strive for excellence and decency for myself and others, which helps show others that there are decent people in the world and that it’s the right thing to do.

Barsema Hall is not the only place I have done this at. Pretty much at any building on and off campus that I have been to I have held the door for people. I did so at every place I went to since I was three years old.”

Where did this idea come from?

“This idea actually came to me when I was around three years old. I remember seeing other people hold doors for brief moments in the various places I went to, and I decided that I would adopt that philosophy and practice it during my life (I plan to keep going as long as I live). My mother taught me to seek the good that I can do for others and to manifest that good in subtle ways. It’s through this kind of mentality that I try and search for the good in everything I do and always criticize myself as to how I can become better with each thing I do.”

What kind of feedback have you received from students and faculty?

The feedback from the students and faculty at NIU has been very positive. I do not do this to receive praise from others, but if they want to thank me then that’s their choice and I really do appreciate it. There have been times where doing this has made certain people very uncomfortable, with a few incidents resulting in vulgar feedback and asking me to stop doing it because they took it as a signal that they cannot open the door themselves (which from reading what I wrote previously, that is not even a thought in my mind). But the overall feedback has been very positive. I expected such because the students and faculty at NIU from my experience are very ethical, intelligent, and kind populace. They are rational people who seek to be a positive force for change in the world.”

What other things are you passionate about?

“I am passionate, as many others, about justice and the fair treatment of all. It coincides with my personal philosophy to help manifest that every person has unique qualities and deserve a general level of compassion and respect (essentially, treat them like people who are ends in themselves, rather than a means to an end). Another thing I am passionate about is meritocracy. I believe firmly in working for what you want because it teaches self-discipline, personal growth, and innovation. These things are critical, in my opinion, to the future of reason, compassion, and progress of people. That a person’s value comes not from where they come from, who they are related to, or how much money they make. Rather it’s about one’s work, dedication, reason, and personality should be what determines their value. Essentially let them show you who they are before making conclusions.”

Can we plan to see you during the spring semester?

“I will return to NIU in the spring. I hope to meet more great people as I have since the time I arrived.”

Monday Lunch Bunch

Editor’s Note: It’s Jacob Ferguson, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the Northern Illinois University College of Business here! We caught up with Lindsay Barnaba a senior majoring in management, to see what all the fuss is about with a student project called “Monday Lunch Bunch.”

Monday Lunch Bunch, a student-run business here in the NIU College of Business.

Monday Lunch Bunch, a student-run business here in the NIU College of Business.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

“I am a management major with a leadership emphasis. I am minoring in Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship and I graduate May 2015. With my degree, I hope to one day run my own business in he food industry. I am passionate about food and cooking because food is the one thing that brings people together and can always make people smile. Whether it is my own business or if I am working for someone else, I would like to produce food that positively impacts someone’s life.”

What is Monday Lunch Bunch?

“Monday Lunch Bunch is a student-run business that launched as a result of MGMT 427, which is Entrepreneurship and Business Model Design. We sell subs and sandwiches made by Feed ‘Em Soup Community Project. We are also associated with MSAB – Management Student Advisory Board and will be giving half of the profits we’ve made this semester to that organization. The other half of the profits will support Feed ‘Em Soup.

We started this business to offer students, faculty, and visitors in the NIU College of Business quality lunches that aren’t available at Three Sons Cafe, located in Barsema Hall. Some options we have offered are: Italian Beef, Pulled Pork, Turkey BLTs with Avocado, and Buffalo Chicken Wraps.”

 Where did you get the idea for Monday Lunch Bunch?

“I got the idea for Monday Lunch Bunch after observing students’ behaviors in Barsema Hall’s Atrium around lunchtime. There was always a long line at Three Son’s Café particularly after UBUS 310 ended. Students always get either a hot dog or a plain deli sandwich. Since we spend so much time in Barsema studying and going to class, I saw an opportunity for more variety in lunch options for students.”

Why did you decide to partner with Feed ‘Em Soup?

“Feed ‘Em Soup is a great local organization that serves fresh and delicious meals to anyone in the community – regardless of their situation. I have volunteered with the organization in the past through the Management Student Advisory Board, and I was able to see that those running the organization are passionate about what they do and love doing it. I chose to partner with this organization because they are much more than just a soup kitchen, and I wanted more students to become aware of the food that Feed ‘Em Soup makes.”

What is MGMT 427?

“MGMT 427 is an Entrepreneurship and Business Model Design class taught by Dr. Mooney. The class is about identifying and developing business models that create value for the customer and profit for the company. Each team in the class was assigned to develop and operate a student-run business for 8 weeks. My team’s business is the Monday Lunch Bunch, and we chose to split our profits between the Management Student Advisory Board and Feed ‘Em Soup.”

What is the Management Student Advisory Board?

“Members of the Management Student Advisory Board (MSAB) serve as the voice for Management students. Our purpose is to reflect and represent student views and advise the Department of Management on all matters that students are concerned about. We have developed a Mentor Program for students that are looking for advice from someone that has experience taking business classes and for students who would like help finding the right tools and resources to study for their classes.”

What will both the organizations be doing with the profits you make this semester?

“The Management Student Advisory Board has been fundraising this year to create a scholarship for a future Management student, so I hope that the profits we earn can help make this goal happen. The profits that are shared with Feed ‘Em Soup will help support the organization’s operations in order to continue running its community kitchen.”

Will you continue to run Monday Lunch Bunch after you have completed MGMT 427?

“We have discussed the possibility of continuing Monday Lunch Bunch next semester with Feed ‘Em Soup and the organization is very willing. However, this will not officially be decided until our first MSAB meeting in January. “

 

Monday Lunch Bunch is serving its last meal of the semester on Monday, November 24. The lunch option will be Feed ‘em Soup’s Italian Beef with chips and a drink for $5!

(FYI We only have one more meeting this semester so I am leaving out the days we meet since it might change next semester.)

The Management Student Advisory Board meets every other week in the Department of Management. It is free to join and all Management majors are welcome! Please visit our Facebook page: facebook.com/mgmtsab to see what we have been up to this semester and what’s in store for next semester!

 

10 Study Tips for Final Exams

With Thanksgiving Break coming quickly and finals week right around the corner all of us here at the Northern Illinois University College of Business thought it would be wise to provide all of you with some study tips for final exams. Don’t fear because we are about to present you with 10 basic keys to success.

NIU College of Business students working hard.

NIU College of Business students working hard.

 

1) Always prepare for tomorrow in an effort to make the most efficient use of your time.

2) Create study groups! Technology has made it extremely easy to do this at anytime from anywhere.

3) Establish a routine by setting aside specific time for school work and focus.

4) Find a quiet space where you can separate yourself from distractions.

5) Have a backup plan. Be sure to save that final paper on an external drive in addition to your computer in case things go wrong.

6) Maintain a master calendar to stay on top of assignments and not fall behind.

7) Stay organized by using folders both on your computer and for any printed materials as well.

8) Stay positive and remember why earning your degree is worth all the hard work.

9) Take a break and come back refocused.

10) Use checklists to ensure you are completing assignments on time and feel the satisfaction of checking each assignment from the list.

For additional academic support resources which range from tutoring and assistance services to academic opportunities and programs check out the link below or contact the Office of Student Academic Success.

http://www.niu.edu/osas/resources/Academic.shtml

For more study tips that we have shared on this blog check out the links below.

http://www.cob.niu.edu/studentvoices/index.php/dont-panic-top-15-tips-for-finals/

http://www.cob.niu.edu/studentvoices/index.php/4-ways-to-study-smarter/

http://www.cob.niu.edu/studentvoices/index.php/how-to-succeed-in-school/

 

 

 

Whooaaaaaa! We’re half way there!

Jacob Ferguson - Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business

Jacob Ferguson - Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business

Hello! It’s Jacob Ferguson here the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the Northern Illinois University College of Business. With the semester quickly coming to an end and with finals just around the corner I wanted to share with all of you my experience throughout my first semester in this role.

As I entered the semester I was excited to broaden my knowledge of the marketing field and develop myself professionally. Little did I know that the opportunity at hand would do so much more for me. Within the first couple of weeks I was thrown into a few projects that forced me to get out of my comfort zone but allowed me personal freedom and the opportunity to add my own touch. One of these projects was the Northern Star Ads for the College of Business which reminds me that the last photo shoot is this Friday and that we are still looking for 2-3 individuals to help out with the ad which focuses on finishing the semester strong. If you’re interested please feel free to reach out to me at jacobiferguson@yahoo.com. This project was unique in that I had to work out logistics with a handful of individuals and create designs from start to finish all while conveying a message that applied to the classroom and the gridiron.

Most of the work I did throughout the semester focused primary on our social media platforms and the Student Voices Blog. At the College of Business we focus most of our efforts on Twitter and Facebook. This semester we used Twitter to welcome guests of the College of Business as well as convey a summarized message of what we post on Facebook. On the other hand, we used Facebook for a handful of things such as advertising upcoming events and the Student Voices Blog, informing students on resources that are available to them within the College of Business and on campus, and for trivia to both enlighten and reward students.

My next big initiative will be structuring and facilitating a focus group of students. When I first got this internship the focus group and the Student Voices Blog were the two things that I was most excited about getting involved with. A few goals that I have for myself going into next semester will be to outlines ideas for the blog in advance and ultimately blog more as well as better utilize our social media platforms. In addition, I hope discover new and unique ways to market the College of Business and all that we have to offer.

As a result of this internship I have learned a lot of about myself. I’ve learned through talking with others that the typical path is not for me. To chase my dreams no matter how big or small they may be. That the best time to act is now and most of all that sometimes you just need to dance.

Overall, I am very much looking forward to another semester in this role and am excited for the unknown opportunities that I know will arise. I hope that at the end of the year I will have left an impact on my faculty and peers the way those that came before me had. Be on the lookout for a post later on this week that will detail resources on campus and study tips as we head in the home stretch.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NIUCollegeofBusiness
Twitter – @NIUBusiness

Forget the A’s, College is about the B’s

Editor’s Note: Chloe Pooler is a junior Accountancy major with minors in Community Leadership & Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship. She is President of the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, an e-board member of CAUSE, heavily involved in the College of Business, Student Association, and formerly the residence halls as well. Chloe enjoys walks on the beach, the company of witty people, and jamming to good tunes.

Chloe Pooler, Junior Accountancy Major

Chloe Pooler, Junior Accountancy Major

 Forget the A’s, College is about the B’s

I myself am a very achievement oriented person. I need that grade, certificate, approving email, whatever, that validates my efforts in academics, in extra-curriculars, and professionally. I am very much about the “A’s” of school- literally, “A” grades, “A”wards, “A”chievement. Trust me, these are GREAT to strive for, but aren’t what college is about. College is the place for the “B”s.

Balance

Work hard, rest hard, play medium (enough to make college the best time of your life, not enough to sacrifice the work and rest).

Having near perfect grades and a packed resume are not worth losing your sanity over. It is important to remember to make time for yourself. No, not the for yourself like “I’m joining this sixth organization your my future,” I mean for yourself as in scheduled time to do yoga, run, play basketball, draw, journal- something you actually enjoy doing!

These activities are things you might have to literally schedule into your limited (perhaps non-existent) free time. Make them a priority and don’t sacrifice nonessential activities over your you-time! Constantly being at your wits’ end is not worth the stress that you can alleviate by making time spent on yourself important.

It’s true in the professional world and it’s true in your collegiate career- work/life balance is key. Don’t forget to recharge and periodically give your mind a break from all of the academia and extra-curricular craziness!

Building

You are never in a more perfect place to grow than in college. You are blessed to have so, so many resources at your fingertips, especially here at NIU! Electronic libraries, esteemed professors, successful alumni are all just a click of a mouse and “send” of an email away.

It is important to acknowledge that each of us have room to grow and the ability to build ourselves to be better professionals, leaders, and people. Take advantage of all of the organizations NIU and the College of Business has to offer. Going outside of your comfort zone, taking on a role you might not be entirely sure you can handle, and attending events with the intent to learn from them (not just get the Passport credit) will benefit you in many, many ways. Literally think to yourself, after doing something above and beyond, “how awesome am I going to look when I talk about this in an interview?”

Maybe you read that request to join something and take on a leadership role and yada yada and thought to yourself, “it’s just a point on my resume, I won’t get anything more out of it than that.” *Dwight Shrute voice* FALSE. Guess what else joining clubs gets you? A network of alumni who were in your same shoes however long ago.

College is a great time to build your network and connect with Huskie alum and the professionals/companies the COB brings in. Purposefully design and learn how to maintain your network at this prime time in your life.

Blunders

Blunder is a more fun word for mistake. Make mistakes this school year!! Don’t do so intentionally, but try something new or different and see where it leads you. You might be wrong! Making flashcards the day before a UBUS 310 Exam might not result in as good of a grade as when you actually did practice problems the weekend before. But hey, at least you went for it! Texting that girl from Rosy’s the next morning could end with no reply, or with a “Hey! The funny guy with the blue shirt!” You never know unless you try.

Plus, college is that weird age where you’re 100% responsible for your actions, but also people are forgiving, because you haven’t been in the professional adult world for long. It’s understood that you don’t know every little detail about how to do an audit or have all of the answers to the questions your professors ask, but it’s important to raise your hand and go for it anyway. A little humility can grow a person more than a lot of arrogance.

Realize, too, that everyone makes mistakes! Your peers, professors, and potential employers have all done something just as embarrassing or silly, and you can all laugh about it down the line after you’ve walked across the graduation stage, landed that dream job, and reminisce about the days on campus.

C for Conclusion

College isn’t all about Achievements and Awards and A+’s, though those are great; but so are balance and building and blunders. Striving for those A-things is important and having goals are key, but being sure to balancing work/life and taking time to breathe, building yourself professionally and as a leader and your network, and making mistakes and learning from them are all great things to focus on during your time in the COB.

Why NIU?: Choosing the Right College

Editor’s Note: A little more information about the author… Katie Zoellner is a senior Accountancy major with a double minor in Spanish and Economics.  She is involved in various College of Business organizations such as Delta Sigma Pi, Dean’s Scholars, and Beta Alpha Psi, where she serves as President Elect.  Outside the CoB, Katie is an active member of the Northern Ambassadors where she is proud to serve as one of the Student Coordinators.  In her spare time, she watches Disney movies, writes poetry, and takes naps whenever possible.  This is her first guest blog post, and she would like to thank her mom and sister for their help and feedback while writing it.  Go Huskies!

Katie Zoellner

Katie Zoellner - Senior Accountancy Major at the NIU College of Business

Choosing a college to attend is hard; at least, for me it was.  Along with all the excitement my senior of high school year brought, it also brought the stress of applying to, visiting, and eventually deciding where I was going to spend my next 4+ years.  I applied to 10 (yes, really, 10) schools because I had absolutely no idea what I wanted out of my college experience.  I applied to schools that were big, small, public, private, urban, rural, in state, out of state – basically I tried to hit the whole spectrum, just to cover all my bases.

From the initial list of 10, I began narrowing my choices.  Eventually, I was down to three schools and was debating the pros and cons of all of them.  Northern wasn’t on that list.  I had applied on a whim, and the next day thought to myself “well I don’t want to go there…that was a waste of an application fee.”  Boy was I wrong.

After receiving a generous scholarship package, NIU was right up there on the list.  And I was terrified.  I was afraid NIU made the short list for all the wrong reasons.  I didn’t want to pick a school based purely on money, although it was a strong consideration.  I knew I couldn’t afford my quote on quote “dream school,” but I still had other schools I was thinking about.

After further consideration, I had narrowed my choices even further.  NIU and one other university were all that remained.  I visited campus on an Admitted Students Day, where I had the chance to get a campus tour and meet with representatives from NIU’s College of Business.  That day, I was fortunate enough to connect with an alumni presenter, Ralph Strozza, CEO of Interpro Translation Solutions, who was in the field I (at the time) wanted to pursue – translation.

This is where the scale began to tip in NIU’s favor – it was the right price, the right distance from home, housed fantastic academics, and I already felt valued by the CoB and connected to its alumni.

My mom then said to me something I will never forget:  “If you don’t like it, you can always transfer.”

This, to me, was an epiphany.  I was stuck in the mindset that the choice I made right then, as a high school senior, was going to determine the rest of my life (a bit dramatic, yes, but I was in high school – cut me some slack).  So I took a leap of faith and made the choice to come to NIU.  And that’s where the fun started.

College is an amazing opportunity to explore who you are and discover more about the wonderful world we live in.  Even though I wasn’t initially 100% sold on coming to NIU, I opened myself up to new experiences and gave it a chance.  I tried new things.  I made new friends.  I got involved in campus activities and organizations right away.  I was hooked.  I’m now in my senior year at NIU, with plans to graduate in May and then stick around for a while longer to complete my Master’s degree.  After that, I know I’ll be coming back to visit, because NIU is and forever will be my home.

If I hadn’t made the effort to transform NIU from “where I go to school” to “home,” I can almost guarantee that I would’ve transferred after a year.  And this is where I’ll circle back to the point I made at the beginning of this article:  choosing a school is hard.  There is no easy way to make that decision.

The best advice I can give is to choose a school where you feel that you can excel.  It doesn’t matter if this wasn’t your “dream school,” or if your best friend doesn’t go there too.  What makes or breaks your college experience is being in an environment that allows you to find and chase your passions.  The right school can help you do that.

Throughout my college career, I’ve learned that if you don’t like something, CHANGE IT.  This applies to life in general, but as far as college goes, if you’re unhappy at your school, look into other options.  Not every school is the right fit for every student.  But before you go and transfer, make sure you’re giving college a chance.  Try new things, meet new people, and if you’re not happy – move on.  Keep going until you find something you love.  Don’t remain stagnant.  Don’t wait for happy to come to you.  Go forth, find it, and refuse to settle for less.

The support I have felt from my Huskie family – my friends, my professors, and my fellow students – has helped me to grow both personally and professionally.  I’ve gone from a timid freshman to a confident senior who has a much clearer idea of what I want from my future.  NIU has helped me create my personal definition of happiness, and who knows?  It could help you do the same.

 

Bring It! Center – Charge Up and Refuel

Editor’s Note: This article was written to introduce and inform students on the various resources available to them on campus. This week we are highlighting the Bring It! Center, one of my personal favorite rooms on campus that not many people know about. – Jacob Ferguson, NIU College of Business Marketing and Social Media Intern

Bring It! Center

The Bring It! Center is a place for College of Business students to come together to study, collaborate on group projects and receive service, support and training with technology. In the center you will receive:

  • Help with the Anywhere Lab
  • Help with the Anywhere Printer
  • Help with Wi-Fi
  • Help with Password Resets
  • Help with NIU E-Mail

Location

The Bring It! Center is located near the Atrium in Barsema Hall Room 104.

Policies/Guidelines

  • The Bring It! Center will provide general support for any mobile device.
  • Food and drink are allowed on shared areas and each user is responsible for their own device and to keep the Bring It! Center clean.
  • The Bring It! Center does not provide support for desktops or any hardware repairs.
  • A waiver must be signed by students or faculty members before they can work on your device.
  • Mobile devices are not to be dropped off for repair.
  • No misconduct, including but not limited to arguments among group members, loud talking, loud music or any other distractions that disrupt the other groups or students studying.
  • Please be courteous to your fellow students.