Mid-Michigan Economic Round Table meets at UM-Flint’s School of Management

By Alexis Menard On August 15, 2019 10:15 am

The University of Michigan-Flint’s School of Management is pleased to announce a new hosting agreement with the Mid-Michigan Economic Round Table of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch.  The initial meeting was held on August 6, 2019 in the Riverfront Center.  The group meets three times per year. 

Senior Business Economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Paul Traub, and Business Economist with the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, Martin Lavelle, both gave presentations centering on key economic indicators in the region.  Following these presentations, regional business leaders from banking, economic development, manufacturing, state agencies, and universities shared their insights about the local and regional economy. 

School of Management Lecturer and Executive-in-Residence, Larry Nichols, helped coordinate the new School of Management meeting location for the group.  Scott Johnson, Dean of the School of Management, noted “we are pleased and honored to host the Mid-Michigan Economic Roundtable.  These distinguished individuals offer keen observations to help shape the Federal Reserve policy.” 

The School of Management is also once again hosting the Annual Economic Forum luncheon in conjunction with the Flint Rotary Club on December 13, 2019 in the Northbank Center Grand Ballroom.  This annual event features a panel of financial and economic leaders who will address current topics affecting the U.S. economy.  Please refer to www.umflint.edu/som for additional information and registration.   

Nichols and Dimes – August 2019 Interview

By Alexis Menard On August 13, 2019 12:00 pm

The interview below is in first person from the viewpoint of Larry Nichols, Lecturer of Management and Executive-in-Residence, held with Alexis Menard, Web and Social Media Assistant on August 6, 2019. The views stated below are the opinions of Mr. Nichols. Nichols and Dimes is intended to be a monthly advice column, and we are accepting questions or interview topics here. If you have any questions or concerns, please email almenard@umich.edu.


Three reasons why every person can’t have a million dollars when they retire: irrational decisions, uncontrollable misfortunes, or a missed opportunity.

Every person has access to the world market. When the internet became popular in the 90s, a friend and I decided to sell boat anchors. We established a website and sold boat anchors. To our amazement, we sold anchors to every continent in the world, except Antarctica. We discovered penguins don’t need boat anchors. I sold my anchors from Flint, Michigan and I didn’t know anything about the boating industry but we had the power to be able to connect to global markets and utilizing this new technology.

It was overwhelming to learn that there is a market for everything. To be successful, learn how to tap into that market. Use tools you already have like your cell phone or community resources, like a local computer lab. Do the research and figure out a way to get your idea or business into the market. Attend an event with the Innovation Incubator ([IN]) or have your idea assessed at 100K Ideas.

We have one of the most remarkable business economies in the world currently. People have more resources and opportunities now than at any time in the history of our world. I only see better things from here for those entering the marketplace unless they make irrational decisions.

Operations Management Course Provides Insight to Students on the Process of Forecasting and Research in the Business World

By Alexis Menard On July 29, 2019 11:15 am

During the 2019 winter semester, students in traditional and online Operations Management courses completed a semester long group project, led by Dr. Sandun Perera, former Assistant Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management. The focus was on forecasting methods used in excel to project how successful they were in finding the correct method to analyze what the data appeared to do in the past as well as to predict the future. Students were tasked with researching a firm of their choice that recently made a key decision to demonstrate data such as stock value, profit, sales, or other figures. Common themes included a new product launch, mergers, and acquisitions, alteration to distribution channels, or utilization of new delivery methods. In previous semesters, hot picks centered around Amazon and the buyout of Whole Foods, Meijer and its partnership with Shipt delivery service, and Wine in the evening at Starbucks.

One group comprised of two graduating seniors, Kyle Arrowood (BBA ’19 Accounting) and Peter Millar (BBA General Business ’19), as well as one senior that will graduate in December of 2019, Raymond Kusch (BBA ‘19 Entrepreneurship and Innovation), and one junior, Brant Beck (BBA ’20 International Business), exceeded expectations on this project. The group project focused on analyzing the acquisition of Dr Pepper Snapple Group by Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. that occurred in the summer of 2018.

As a member of the research group, Raymond Kusch, said about the project, “Do not just take things at their face value. It is worth the extra effort to investigate the root cause of the business problem in order to find out any underlying factors that may exist.” This dynamism lead to the group presenting at the Meeting of the Minds (MOM), an undergraduate research conference, alongside students from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakland University on May 10, 2019. Between the three universities, seventy-nine presentations took place at UM-Flint in the Riverfront Banquet center and School of Management classroom area. Twenty-eight individual projects were presented by UM-Flint students spanning several academic interests, such as Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, English, Mathematics, Management, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Social Work, and Theater/Dance.

Each group requires a faculty sponsor and Dr. Perera motivated his students to present and publish their findings. Beck spoke out about Dr. Perera and said “[He] was a tremendous help with the project. If you make it known that you are willing to put in the work, he is willing to help you make the project as good as it can be.” Currently, the SOM group is in the process of submitting their paper for peer review and publication. The group agreed that this experience demonstrated that the world is an ever-changing platform that requires every firm to be adaptive, as well as to think about their future for success in an increasingly demanding market setting. They also added that they look forward to applying the knowledge they learned in this class to other classes, as well as their careers.

An Entrepreneur within a Corporate Setting: July’s aMAIZEing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On July 19, 2019 11:15 am

Madison McCrum, BBA ’18 in Business Management with a focus in EIM.

Alumna, Madison McCrum, graduated from UM-Flint’s School of Management with a BBA in Business Management with a focus in EIM in 2018. Madison was involved with the Entrepreneurs Society and the Hagerman Center during her undergraduate studies. At the age of 22, Madison now works for a Fortune 500 company and has moved out of the state to work in North Carolina and Florida. She credits her decision to concentrate in entrepreneurship to her strong-willed personality. Having the go-getter attitude has impressed employers she has met. As our featured Alumna, Madison answers questions on why she chose UM-Flint, life after college, and advice for students interested in management. 

Why did you major in BBA Management with a focus on Entrepreneurship?

I chose a BBA with a focus in Entrepreneurship because as a strong willed individual I knew I would need the knowledge to one day pursue my own company. As a recent graduate however, employers have commented on how they love grads with an Entrepreneurship focus because they are impressed with our confidence and willingness to be a self starter! 

Why did you choose UM-Flint for your BBA? 

Initially, I would have to say I chose UM-Flint because my mother is a nursing professor there. However, what made me stay was how much I was challenged, particularly in the Entrepreneurship Society, Business Law class, and the multitude of business competitions I participated in, which later on impressed employers. 

What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint? 

One of my favorite experiences I would have to say is just the day to day banter I could have with professors on an academic and personal level. They helped me achieve awards (Hagerman’s Zillion Solutions: University Improvement) and question why I was choosing the path I chose. Was I going to be challenged or become bored? Where did I see myself in 5-10 years? How do I better others by bettering myself?

Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?

 I chose to work supply chain in corporate retail because I worked full time in retail all throughout college. I am given pretty much free reign of how I want to own my departments and manage my staff. I have to make the calls on inventory management, product shipment windows, and seasonality time frames. My boss calls it, “an entrepreneur within a corporate setting.”

What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?

So far, my proudest accomplishment is not the fact that I have landed an amazing corporate job at 22 years old at a Fortune 500 company, nor moving to NC and FL for improving my career. My proudest accomplishment is that I can still call my favorite professor on campus, Dr. Witt, throw a scenario at him, and get his opinion. It’s the ties I have back home that make me most proud, that and Urban Meyer retiring. 

What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in Management? 

My biggest words of advice would be to stay humble and hungry. No matter what goes on in your career, don’t burn bridges -including in college. Also, pursuing a management degree is phenomenal if you are willing to work very hard for it -stay hungry! You will only get what you put in for it. UM-Flint has more than enough opportunities for you to succeed. 

Fun Facts 

Since graduating, I have moved to North Carolina and Florida. I have adopted two black labs and love to go hiking! I am currently living in Florida and snorkel, go kayaking with manatees, or play beach volleyball with friends any chance I get! The coolest professor on campus is still my mom, Toni L. LaRocco (2nd place goes to Dr. Witt)! I am truly grateful for the memories I made UM-Flint -Go Blue! 

Entrepreneurs Society Influences Effective Student and Community Involvement within Flint

By Alexis Menard On May 1, 2019 11:55 am

The 2018-2019 academic year was a massive success for the School of Management student organization, Entrepreneurs Society (ES). Entrepreneurs Society received four awards at the Wolverine Excellence banquet on Thursday, April 11, 2019. The banquet is hosted by the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership and recognizes the contributions of a student organization which exhibits strong leadership skills such as teamwork, collaboration, communication, while also implementing initiatives that fulfill the mission of their organization.  The organization is also one that is committed to furthering the university’s mission and positively impacting the quality of student life on campus.

Entrepreneurs Society received the Outstanding Organization Award and the Student Organization Community Contribution Award. The Outstanding Student Organization Award recognizes a student organization that has demonstrated significant leadership qualities and has contributed to the University of Michigan-Flint during the 2018-2019 academic year.
Along with the two distinguished organizational awards, the School of Management Faculty member and Advisor to Entrepreneurs Society, Dr. Michael Witt, received the Outstanding Student Advisor Award. Lastly, the President of Entrepreneurs Society, Todd Fridline (BBA in Finance ’20), received the Outstanding Student Leader Award. 

The President of Entrepreneurs Society, Todd Fridline (BBA in Finance ’20), Vice President, Elisabeth Hamilton (BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship ’20), and Treasurer, Carryn White (BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship ’19) discuss Entrepreneurs Society community contributions and leadership at University of Michigan-Flint in a Q&A with the School of Management.


Q: How has this organization demonstrated leadership and positively contributed to the Flint community?

Hamilton: The Entrepreneurs Society takes great pride in being leaders on our own campus and also in the community in which we live. The biggest way our organization is making a positive contribution to the community of Flint is our Flint Green project. Flint Green is a project focused on changing the negative connotation that the community of Flint receives, and turning it into a positive outlook. Flint Green is focusing on promoting a greener version of Flint, using solar and wind energy to support the members of the Flint community who typically get ignored. By promoting and marketing this project, Entrepreneurs Society is also promoting a positive contribution to the Flint community.

This past December, over 20 Entrepreneurs Society members visited the Whaley Children’s Center to volunteer our time. The Society believes it is important to give back to the community whenever possible. This volunteer opportunity allowed ES students to help the Whaley Children’s Center in one of their most crucial times of the year.

Fridline: In the fall, the Entrepreneurs Society held its first annual Entrepreneur Tour. This experience provided students with an opportunity to listen to and network with entrepreneurs here in our own city. The tour made two stops in Downtown Flint. The first was at Cafe Rhema, where ES members listened to one of the executives at OLV Investment Group and Cafe Rhema owner, Josh Spencer. The tour also visited the Flint Ferris Wheel to visit the owner of KALM Clothing. They are both thriving businesses within the Flint Community and offered great insight about their experience of crafting their businesses, as well as gaining support from other local companies and promoting them to students at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Along with this tour, we have also had the honor of having various Flint entrepreneurs come to speak to our society, such as Wes Stoody, Founder of Article One, Terry Stanfill, inventor of “Lenz,” and we had a team assisting him in his marketing and finding his market segment, Drew Lauinger, Instagram Influencer looking to start a social media marketing company, Sean Tabor, Project Manager at Michigan Management Specialists and alumni of ES and many more entrepreneurs.

The Society also visited local packaging company and Tier-1 automotive supplier, NorthGate. Several ES students received a tour of one of their facilities and had a great opportunity to talk with the President of the company for over an hour. ES has also collaborated with local Entrepreneurs and alumni of the University of Michigan-Flint. Two entrepreneurs reached out to the Society in search of help for their respective businesses. Students from ES provided these entrepreneurs with business plans, financial models and projections, and helpful insight to their business sector.

White: Entrepreneurs Society has also held many events open to the community of Flint, including relationship with the Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurial Speaker Series, Financial Wellness workshops and a LinkedIn Workshop. In these workshops, we have collaborated with other student organizations, emphasizing on the idea that the community of Flint should be an environment where everyone feels involved.

Q: How has the organization demonstrated a commitment to furthering the mission of the University of Michigan-Flint?

Fridline: The Entrepreneurs Society is dedicated to the success of its members, the community and the University of Michigan-Flint. Through collaborations, student engagement, and various events, the Entrepreneurs Society has worked hard to create opportunities for students across campus at UM-Flint. Entrepreneurs Society provides students with valuable, hands-on professional experience through events and projects. Among many things, we provide students with an opportunity to explore career opportunities and learn the skills needed to succeed as a student and professional.

Hamilton: Our two main events engage the community locally and globally. The first being our annual Entrepreneurs Society Dinner. This event is an opportunity for everyone in the Flint community to network with each other and grow positive connections along with each other, thus continuing the mission of bringing positive collaboration of members of the Flint community. This dinner is also a way to get the University of Michigan-Flint name out there in a positive way and show anyone from outside of this community the great things our school and organization are doing. The Entrepreneurs Society invites esteemed alumni and business professionals in the Flint area and connect them with current students on our Flint campus. The goal of this dinner is to provide these current students with a chance to network with local businesses and entrepreneurs. Over 120 people were in attendance, making it a great night of networking and opportunities for UM-Flint students, alumni, and community members.

White: The other main event the Entrepreneur Society participates in is the annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Global Conference. In November of 2018, ten Entrepreneurs Society members attended this global event in Kansas City to represent the University of Michigan-Flint and its values. At the conference, each member built leadership, networking, and teamwork skills through various seminars and workshops. In addition to learning these new skills, our Entrepreneurs Society also placed in the top five for awards in Outstanding CEO Chapter Leader, Outstanding CEO Chapter Advisor, and Best Cross Campus Innovation & Networking Award. Our President, Todd Fridline, was also able to represent our chapter and university during a Chapter Development session allowing ES to reach a global base by speaking about our practices. The conference is an opportunity to network with other students and executives from Fortune 500 companies. By supporting individual endeavors, as well as hosting these campus-wide events, the Entrepreneurs Society has been able to draw student involvement from multiple disciplines (including pre-med and engineering) to the organization.

Hamilton: Lastly, the Entrepreneurs Society has worked diligently to include students of all majors in events, projects, and meetings. Specifically at UM-Flint, ES has had student volunteers participate in coordinating a Zillion Solutions, another event hosted by the Hagerman Center, competition and Think Tank sessions hosted in the fall semester. Through collaborations with the Hagerman Center, and outreach at events like Admitted Student Welcome, Mgagement, and Pre-Business Welcome, ES has continually offered assistance to students beyond the School of Management.

Q: How has this organization positively contributed to student engagement at UM-Flint?

White: The Entrepreneurs Society is a resource that enables students to shape their careers and advance themselves in the professional world. Every semester, Entrepreneurs Society works hard to create opportunities through various projects and events. Members can take part by leading their own project or volunteering to support ongoing endeavors.

Hamilton: The organization has engaged students by providing team members to help students start their own businesses. ES alumni, Hane Cho, has launched DASH, a social networking app on Google Play and in the app store. Cho has been interviewed by several local news outlets about his work and aid from the Entrepreneurs Society. Another current project we having been supporting is an Italian import startup.

Fridline: Entrepreneurs Society invites students from all areas of campus to join the group for weekly workshops held during meeting time. These include etiquette tips, how to network effectively, intellectual property basics, how to improve your LinkedIn profile, and financial wellness for students. Additional involvement comes from collaborating with other organizations, such as SHRM, Marketing Club, and SCOMA, to host these events. Entrepreneurs Society also works closely with the Hagerman Center by hosting a Zillion Solutions, which received over 200 idea-solution entries. ES members are developing a sales pitch to aid the engineering department in participating in the annual Baja race. Collaboration with these organizations has resulted in the promotion and involvement of our members, as well as members of other student organizations.

Alumni Visit – Jan. 26, 2019

Ziad Lajnef visited the School of Management to talk about his experiences working in the internal audits industry. He graduated from UM-Flint in 2002 with a BBA in Accounting with a Finance concentration. Shortly after, Lajnef went on to complete his MBA in 2003. During his undergrad at UM-Flint, he participated in a study abroad trip to Russia and visited the GM plant in Togliatti and the GM headquarters in Moscow. He is currently the Internal Audit Director for General Motors and oversees annual risk assessment and execution of the audit plan for North and South America. Lajef opened his presentation by giving advice to current students by encouraging them to reach out to their professor for their guidance. Lajnef said “Students at UM-Flint have a unique advantage. At a bigger school, you don’t have as much contact with your professors. Here you have direct access to ask professor about whatever you want. Use them to guide you for what you want to do in the future. Use their experience to your advantage to get the most out of your education.”

In his presentation, The Foundational Pillars for Establishing Trust with Internal Audit Customers, Lajnef elaborated on three principles of internal audits. First was to deeply consider strategies to use. Second principle is to think about the talent and diversity of the team. Lastly focused on the outlook on short-term and long-term for tactical planning and processing. Later in his presentation, Lajnef spoke about the importance of analyzing data and knowing the market you are in. His advice was to, “Become date savvy. The more you’re involved and knowledgeable in the market, the better off you’ll be.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Lajnef’s past experiences as a chef or his journey into the business world, he was featured in the fall 2018 SOM Business Magazine as the alumni spotlight! Click the link and go to page 9 to read more: https://go.umflint.edu/BusinessMagazine2018

If you’re interested in being an alumni speaker or volunteering for our upcoming events, please email Anna Swartz at annas@umflint.edu to find how you can give back to the UM-Flint community!

Register for the Summer Entrepreneurship Institute!

 

When: July 11 – July 13, 2017

Where: The School of Management, Riverfront Center

The Summer Entrepreneurship Institute will assist participants with an interest in business and entrepreneurship decide if this is a route they would like to pursue in college. The program will engage students in a series of life changing sessions, allowing them to get a feel for the field. Click here to read more.