Jason Bellant is graduating with high honors in April 2021 with his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. During his time at UM-Flint, he was able to apply this knowledge at three different accounting positions. His current position was secured after networking with Yeo & Yeo at a School of Management Fall Career Fair hosted by Antonio Riggs, Career Planning Counselor.
Bellant is from the Fenton/Linden area and chose UM-Flint so he could live at home but still obtain a rich education. Although he’s now married and a homeowner, UM-Flint was still the best and most convenient option in the area.
A common obstacle most students face in college is how to tackle study habits; specifically, finding the time to learn and process the content of the course material can present a challenge. Bellant suffered from this issue in high school and knew he needed to create a strategy on how to learn better in his college courses. “I started by tracking how much time I put into my studies. I’d plan my weeks around how much time I would have to put toward my classes each week,” said Bellant.
After trial and error, Bellant excelled in his studies and went into his last semester with a 3.79 GPA. He says his accounting classes drew him in more than his other curriculum. “I’d never clicked with a class that way before. I knew after my first class in accounting that this was what I wanted to do,” said Bellant.
Bellant became so comfortable and confident with his courses that he would teach classmates the same study practices that helped him succeed. Part of the reason Bellant helped his peers so much is because he was often on campus pre-COVID. “The abundance of places to study helped me a lot. I found it easier to study at school rather than at home,” said Bellant.
Early this year, Bellant started a new position at Yeo & Yeo after having a one-on-one with Cara Newby, Talent Manager, at the fall SOM career fair. “In previous years, I have never had my schedule allow me to attend any of the other career fairs. With the career fair being online hosted on Handshake it was perfect that I was able to network with employers,” said Bellant.
At Yeo & Yeo, Bellant is an Assurance Staff Accountant and performs audits for clients. Bellant began his new position earlier this year and has already learned new information from his job, such as escheat laws, the audit process, and how to prepare financial statements, while applying what he has learned from his previous courses. Important concepts Bellant took from the classroom that prepared him for his position are the ALICE trick, general rules and overview of financial statements, being a critical-thinker, comprehending new information, and learning a steadfast work ethic.
Bellant was also about to use his excel and bookkeeping skills in his personal life such as the financial side of a wedding and honeymoon and undertaking a house renovation.
“Advice I would give my younger self or a student thinking about the accounting field is to practice the basics of accounting in your everyday life in order to understand the principles and apply the knowledge to your life. I also recommend that you seek employment, like an internship, in the accounting field ASAP. It can really help you with networking and getting your foot in the door so when you’re about to graduate, you’ll have 3+ years of experience,” said Bellant.
Other advice Bellant mentions to understand is
Income to expense ratios and debt to income ratios.
Compound interest, amortization schedules, and other financial tools to help you start saving for your future.
Lastly, never stop learning and be a lifelong learner! Read as much as you can about life skills; you will not regret it.
After Bellant graduates in April, he will be continuing his education to get his CPA by taking the additional course credits to have the 150 credits to be eligible for the exam over the next two years. During this time, he will be preparing for the exams and continuing to improve his accounting skills at Yeo & Yeo.
“I love it here at Yeo & Yeo and everyone is so kind and helpful. It is beyond clear that everyone wants to help any new hire become as proficient as possible. I also value the clear path for growth with the company,” Bellant continues, “There are incentives for me to grow with the firm. I have wanted to be a CPA for a few years now, but I want it more than ever now that I have a clear path to the CPA exam and a clear path after getting it.”
“I’m excited to spend my career auditing clients and helping them in every way I can. Most of my clients are nonprofits and schools, so it is really easy to take an interest and care about helping them,” said Bellant.
Bellent is one of the many students finishing his degree during the pandemic, he was still able to excel in his studies and seek opportunities that would help build his future.
In celebration of the 2021 Giving Blueday event on Wednesday, March 10, the School of Management is highlighting the growth and perseverance of the Entrepreneurs Society and their faculty advisor, Dr. Witt over the last 13 years.
The Entrepreneurs Society (ES) is an academic student organization at the University of Michigan-Flint. By design, it is nimble, flexible, and serves the useful role of supporting students who wish to pursue creative new ideas. The organization began in 2008 and since then has rapidly expanded across campus to most academic disciplines. Through hard work and discipline, the Entrepreneurs Society has earned many prestigious awards based on student projects and efforts, and has also supported the Flint community in many ways.
The pillar of the organization is founder and faculty advisor, Michael Witt, PharmD, JD, Entrepreneur in Residence, and Lecturer IV in Business Law and Entrepreneurship at the UM-Flint SOM.
Background about Dr. Michael Witt, PharmD, JD
Prior to joining the University, Dr. Witt had extensive experience in new company formation, especially in the drug and medical device development arena. His academic training includes a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) from the University of California San Francisco, and a law degree (JD), from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland.
At CWRU, and along with Prof. Duncan Neuhauser, they started Health Matrix: A Quarterly Journal of Health Sciences Management. This journal continues today at CWRU School of Law and is presently the leading law medicine publication of its kind. After law school, he practiced corporate health care law for seven years at Warner & Stackpole, a large Boston law firm, representing hospitals, biomedical research institutions, universities, and pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Witt taught courses on Food and Drug Law, and Health and Hospital Law, at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences. While practicing law and teaching, he published a book entitled AIDS: Legal, Ethical and Social Implications, and was also published in the American Medical Association Journal on public health research guidelines. He was instrumental in establishing hospital policies on managing the AIDS crisis across the nation and was a frequent lecturer on this topic in numerous venues.
After seven years in Boston, Dr. Witt and his young family moved to Sacramento, where he started a technology company that specialized in commercializing university-derived medical research. Over the next ten years, his company worked to develop nine drugs and fourteen medical devices using institutional and venture capital resources in California. The company worked on projects around the globe, including Helsinki, Mexico City, Alberta, Truro, and Japan. He also developed and taught a course for five years at the Harvard School of Public Health (“Commercializing Biomedical Technologies”).
After years of travel, Dr. Witt and his wife decided to move to Michigan in 1997 to raise their children in his wife’s town of Flint, Michigan. After managing MichBio, Michigan’s life science trade association, in Ann Arbor, and practicing law at Cox, Hodgman, and Giarmarco, in Troy, Dr. Witt decided to settle into teaching full-time.
“Teaching is a lifelong passion of mine,” said Dr. Witt. In 2008, he began as a Lecturer in Business Law and Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan-Flint School of Management (SOM).
History of the UM-Flint Entrepreneurs Society (2008-Present)
During his first year of teaching at UM-Flint, Dr. Witt began to realize that his undergraduate students had a few things in common: Students worked on average thirty hours per week, and they were often first-generation college students. “Our students are driven to succeed and passionate about their careers. They typically are very serious and diligent,” said Dr. Witt.
A UM-Flint student, Laurie Matheny, approached Dr. Witt about a potential project she had and didn’t know where to find resources. “The university can be a difficult place to navigate and find solutions,” said Dr. Witt.
From this experience, Matheny knew that other students could benefit from guidance and assistance. As a result, she and Dr. Witt founded the Entrepreneurs Society alongside support from Dean John Helmuth and Associate Dean Yener Kandogan. It was recognized as an academic student club at UM-Flint, in 2008, as a way to facilitate students accessing the complex university environment and to help them succeed at their career goals. Dr. Witt was named Entrepreneur in Residence for the UM-Flint SOM and given the broad mandate of encouraging creative activities and teaching entrepreneurship and business law.
The first ES President was Laurie Matheny and the first task of the new student organization was to recruit like-minded students to be a part of its activities. “It wasn’t hard,” Dr. Witt continued, “Students were excited and on-board with a club dedicated to fulfilling their passions and dreams.”
“Many of our students need something special going for them if they are to compete and succeed in getting into graduate programs, in various disciplines, into companies which interview at many fine institutions, and in focusing their career plans effectively,” Dr. Witt continued, “The Entrepreneurs Society is a way for students to get help in building their careers and pursuing their dreams. I don’t push them—they push themselves. Perhaps I might nudge them a bit. But generally, if they want to succeed, it is a lot of fun to help them.”
In 2011, Dean John Helmuth, Ph.D., pushed for the Entrepreneurs Society to join the NationalCollegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), a network of more than 250 colleges and universities and 8,000 students. This would give more opportunities for students to network and broaden students’ perspectives while representing UM-Flint globally. Two years after joining CEO, the Entrepreneurs Societyplaced 2nd in two categories: Best Fundraising Event, and Best Chapter Leadership. The Entrepreneurs Society solidified its structure and started growing at a tremendous rate. Students of all majors joined, with interests in engineering, computer science, pre-med/healthcare, fine arts, and music.
The Entrepreneurs Society evolved to become focused on community outreach and building connections with outside organizations. ES conceived and helped to establish Habitat for Humanity’s Work-Live Program, a now-internationally recognized activity where a home is built for a low-income entrepreneur with the business on the first floor, and a residence upstairs. “This has been done for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and we helped to bring it back to Flint—four of such homes have been built so far,” said Dr. Witt.
Entrepreneurs Society’s members have done work with numerous other organizations over the years and facilitated the development of many careers. Students have worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Genesee County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Catholic Communities of Flint (St. Matt’s), the State of Michigan’s DEEP Program, the State of Michigan’s Rural Development Agency, the Economic Development Agency of the Small Business Administration, to name a few.
“Needless to say, these activities are expensive and time-intensive,” said Dr. Witt. Recognizing this need, 2014 ES President, Bryon Killin, BBA ’15 in Accounting, helped to start the Entrepreneurs Society Endowment Fund. This fund, approved by the University, has the sole purpose of using its investment returns to fund ES projects and activities. It has grown over the years and is beginning to generate some modest support for student activities. “Donations from students like Bryon and local donors have been graciously received and accepted. It is still very modest, and we need funding in the worst way,” said Dr. Witt.
The Endowment Fund has been important in providing funding to student projects, and, along with the School of Management support from Dean Scott Johnson, it has also funded networking opportunities and trips like the CEO conference attended by six to ten students each year.
In 2018, Entrepreneurs Society was ranked top five in Chapter Advisory and Chapter Leader under the leadership of ES President, Michael Engle, BBA ‘18 in Finance and International Business. “Michael is an amazing, organized, and dedicated young professional and his efforts laid the groundwork for solid growth,” said Dr. Witt. During Engle’s tenure, the student group also completed an EDA-funded research project and presented a report on the need for eldercare facilities in Flint and surrounding communities.
His successor, Todd Fridline, BBA ‘19 in Finance, capitalized and extended these diligent efforts, culminating in winning the 2019 Global Chapter of the Year award. This received wide recognition in the UM-Flint community. Todd Fridline also led an extraordinary team to research, design, and launch a new innovative program in Genesee County: Flint Green. Elisabeth Hamilton BBA ‘20 in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Sean Tabor BBA ’17 in Entrepreneurship, Elijah Madar, BS ‘22 in Mechanical Engineering, and Caryn White, BBA ’20 in Marketing, worked together to research, design, build and install a novel wind/solar roof-mounted system designed to generate clean and cheap energy to a low-income residential home.
At the end of the 2018/19 academic year, the Entrepreneurs Society was recognized at the Celebrating Wolverine Excellence (CWE) banquet, an annual event for honoring and celebrating UM-Flint student contributions hosted by the Department of Student Involvement and Leadership. ES won four UM-Flint student organization awards: UM-Flint Student Organization of the year, UM-Flint Most Outstanding Community Contribution, UM-Flint Most Outstanding Student Leader (Fridline), and UM-Flint Most Outstanding Faculty Advisor (Dr. Witt).
Current Entrepreneurs Society Operations
The latest students, headed by ES President, Garrett Prince, BBA ’22 in Finance, (last semester recently graduated ES President, Giorgia Pasqui, BBA ’20 in International Business and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management) are still striving and persevering post-COVID.
“No step for a stepper,” said Dr. Witt, channeling his Texas roots, “They continue to dip, dive, duck and dodge challenges as they arise.”
The other students in charge of ES leadership are Vice President, Helena Schutt, BBA ’22 in International Business and Marketing, Treasurer, Evan Johnson, BBA ’22 in General Business, Communications Coordinator, Drew Ferrari, M.S. in Computer Science & Information Systems, Marketing Director, Tracy Pemberton, BBA ’21 in International Business, and Ryan Hicks, MBA.
“I am most proud of their work with each other in cross-campus disciplines and with other student groups, including a session with six African-American entrepreneurs from the Black Student Union and hosting a guest lecturer in small business tax preparation with Beta Alpha Psi. Several new members are working on a Mentoring Program (Theo Ellis, Marketing), a PSA encouraging vaccine use (Christina El Zerka, Biology), and an Art Gallery project (Marquise ‘Mia’ Medal, Arts Administration). Several community businesses are being advised by other students, writing business plans, as well as a winter lecture series, featuring a noted venture capitalist from Hearst Ventures and author, Kunal Mehta, onTuesday, March 9, 2021,” said Dr. Witt.
The three business students (Ryan Hicks, Evan Johnson, and Garrett Prince) investigated how supply chains in Flint, MI were affected by COVID-19 and how it impacts local residents. They used software from Tealbooks, a supplier intelligence company based in Toronto, ON, Canada, to evaluate the operational disruptions of shipping goods and products coming from around the world to Michigan. The end result of the survey and report was to help local businesses address supply chain disruptions while assisting in providing resources and guidance for financial relief.
Presently, Christina El Zarka, a UM-Flint CAS Biology freshman student has developed a public service announcement to educate and encourage Flint residents to take the COVID-19 vaccine in a campaign calledSave Summer 2021. She is working with a number of groups, including the Genesee County Health Department, to create and distribute this public service announcement and informational video about the effectiveness of the vaccine.
In addition to student-focused projects, the Entrepreneurs Society is also involved with hosting speaker series, faculty and student spotlights, business plan training sessions, and offering professional headshots to UM-Flint students during the 2020/21 academic year.
“In reflecting on the last year and the challenges presented by the pandemic, it has been remarkable to watch the campus and community unite to help one another through this difficult time,” said Dr. Witt. Despite COVID-19 having made it harder to collaborate in-person, the Entrepreneurs Society continues to work on multiple projects with community-focused initiatives.
“It’s been a busy last few years. It’s been fun, but it’s been a challenging environment to navigate. We are still improving and have made a lot of headway, but a lot of work needs to be done,” Dr. Witt continued, “Giving Blueday at the University of Michigan-Flint is March 10th and we could use any financial support you are able to provide. Any amount is helpful, and just knowing that you are out there and willing to acknowledge these students’ efforts with your contributions is meaningful and will directly support the Flint community as well.”
To make a gift to the Entrepreneurs Society on March 10th for Giving Blueday, bookmark thiswebsite.
Alumna, Kira Rouser graduated with honors from UM-Flint’s School of Management with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting in 2016. Kira is a Senior Financial Analyst and oversees budgeting and forecasting at the company she works for. In her career, she interacts with Sales and department leaders to make accurate forecasting predictions and say’s each day brings something new! As our featured Alumni of the month, Kira gives insight on why she choose UM-Flint and advice for students and alumni considering becoming a Financial Analyst.
Q: Degree(s) and graduation year: A: BBA in Accounting, 2016
Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your normal day-to-day? A: I have been working at InfuSystem as a Sr. Financial Analyst for a year now. I help support the budgeting and forecasting process for the company, but what that looks like on a day-to-day basis varies (which is part of the reason I love my job). Some days I am spending the majority of my time interacting with our Sales group with a focus on updating the latest revenue forecast, other days I’m meeting with department leaders reviewing expenses from prior periods and updating what the months ahead look like. Each day holds something new!
Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree? A: I picked UM-Flint because of its accessibility; Flint is my home and holds a big place in my heart, so being able to stick close to home while pursuing my bachelor’s degree was great. UM-Flint is a great school and offers so much to its students. The fact that I was able to get a fantastic education in a small community setting was something that helped me more than I recognized at the time I was attending.
Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint? A: My favorite experience was the interaction I had with the people there. The professors, staff and my fellow students were amazing. I made some really good connections there and I know that I would not be where I am in my career without the people that I met at UM-Flint.
Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in? A: A: I have always loved managing finances so it was a natural fit for me.
Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far? A: Getting promoted to Sr. Analyst was by far my proudest career accomplishment.
Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in your field? A: Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. I think oftentimes when you’ve committed to a particular area of study (accounting or finance) you think that you should be an expert, but that’s not always true. You should aspire and work towards being knowledgeable in your area of focus, but the reality is that when you first start off you’re not at that expert level. If you ask the right people the right questions you’ll put yourself on track to being successful at what you do.
Alumna, Kayla Laird graduated with honors from UM-Flint’s School of Management with a BBA in Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management in 2020. Before transferring to UM-Flint, Kayla attended C.S. Mott Community College where she earned her Associates of Arts and Associates of Business Administration.
As our featured Alumni of the month, Kayla gives insight into her experiences at UM-Flint, her proudest accomplishment of winning more than $8,000 for her businesses, why she became an entrepreneur, and advice for students that are considering being their own boss.
Q: Degree(s) and graduation year: A: University of Michigan-Flint – Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management, BBA 2020 – Honors
Q: Pursuing another degree? A: Not currently, maybe in the near future I’ll go for my Masters!
Q: Where are you currently working and what is your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your normal day to day? A: I have finally made the switch from working as a Project Manager at 100K Ideas into becoming a full-time, self-employed, multi-passionate entrepreneur! I am a young entrepreneur with a passion for creating healthy and sustainable products.
I currently have two businesses, the first, Lord Laird’s Premium Lemonade®, specializing in all-organic health drinks, and Queen Netzo Jewelry, specializing in handmade wire-wrapped Swarovski Crystal® rings in memory of my mother Kennette Laird.
When I began to get into jewelry at the age of 7, my mother was battling breast cancer. With the help of my Aunt Myra, I started a new hobby making all sorts of jewelry. Whenever I would visit, my aunt would always be making a new necklace, bracelet, or earrings of some sort. She taught me all of the basic techniques I needed to know in order to make creations with integrity. I made jewelry for my mother to wear as well as everyone who helped around the house during that time of need. With my dad being a pillar of support of my passion, the name “Queen Netzo Jewelry” has stuck ever since 2007. I felt the need to keep the name because it reminds me that she will always be the QUEEN in my heart.
I am currently developing a new business called Mobars, specializing in creating homemade luxe energy bars made with everyday essentials for a great breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or even dessert!
I have been an entrepreneur since the age of eight, always having the desire to become a businesswoman, looking to market, sale, and make a profit. On a normal day to day, I usually start my morning off with an hour workout. After working out, it usually gives me all the energy I need for the day to either produce 12+ gallons of lemonade, 100+ Mobars, or create new Swarovski Crystal rings for my customers. It’s been a great transition especially being able to remain stable during a pandemic. I am so excited for what is to come! ♡
Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your BBA? A: I have always known The University of Michigan to be a top-tier school! I was so glad that I could get a quality education for a fraction of the cost at the UM-Flint branch. It’s such a great school for entrepreneurship and innovation, and it’s also close to home, which I love!
Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint? A: Meeting my favorite professor MRS. RITAAAAAA FIELDS has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Going to her classes were by far the most fun I had during college.
Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in? A: I’ve always wanted to be my own boss, so it only made sense to be an entrepreneur!
Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far? A: Winning over $8,070 for my businesses has been one of my proudest accomplishments thus far. Currently, I am in a pitch competition to win up to $11,000 and I could not be more excited!!
Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career as an entrepreneur? A: My advice would be the following:
Follow your passion
Do your research
Invest in learning
Add value to other people’s lives
Find like-minded people to hang around
Take the risk!
Learn from mistakes
& Tell your story.
Q: Fun Facts! A: I am from Maryland! I own and operate 3 businesses! andddd, I am currently ENGAGED and will be getting married later this year!
The University of Michigan-Flint’s Online Bachelor of Business (BBA) program has been named the top online business program in the state of Michigan, and one of the top programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021.
“We are very gratified that our Online BBA program is so highly ranked and recognized,” said School of Management Dean, Scott D. Johnson, Ph.D., “Our faculty are knowledgeable in their disciplines and are experienced in providing high-quality online instruction.”
“Our students often have jobs and families. They appreciate the flexibility to learn in a convenient online format,” said Dean Johnson.
U.S. News is an independent global publisher of news and education rankings for various higher education institutions. The U.S. News & World Report methodology for the Best Online Bachelor’s Program rankings were determined by the quality of education, time of completion, and affordability of the program for working professionals looking to progress or change careers. Additionally, school rankings were also based on four categories: engagement, service and technologies, faculty credentials and training, and expert opinion.
Alumnus Skott Schoonover graduated from UM-Flint’s School of Management with a BBA in Business Management in 2011. Skott recently accepted a job that brought him back to his home state of Michigan as a Strategy Analyst. During his time at UM-Flint, he was a member of the Entrepreneurs Society, International Business Students Organization, and the Spanish Club. He also attended many football games in the Michigan Big House.
As our featured alumni of the month, Skott gives advice for students thinking of pursuing a career in strategy/analytics, how he chose his career path, and projects he’s been working on in quarantine, such as writing two children’s books!
Q: Degree(s) and graduation year: A: Bachelors of Business Management, 2011
Q: Pursuing another degree? A: Not currently, but I plan to get my Master’s at some point
Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your normal day to day? A: I’m a Strategy Analyst at Percepta, which is a subsidiary of Ford, focusing on technology innovations to improve the customer experience. I’ve been with the company for two months.
I spent the previous 7 years at the Enterprise corporate office as a Revenue Management Consulting Analyst. My role was to set rates and determine fleet mix/availability to increase profitability in the North American markets
Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree(s)? A: It offered a top tier education, with the class size of a much smaller university. I wanted a degree that was going to hold prestige, and I also wanted to have engagement in class, to not just be one of 300 other students in an auditorium.
Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint? A: I worked with the Entrepreneurs Society to partner with Habitat For humanity and a few local groups to conceptualize and build HFH’s first “Work-Live Space” which has become a model used across the country.
And while not UM-Flint specific, Saturday afternoons in the student section at the Big House are an experience that I’ll hold in reverence for the rest of my life. It’s something I highly encourage all UM-Flint students to take advantage of!
Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in? A: I’m an outside-the-box thinker, who is always looking for ways to improve everything. With innovation in my blood, Strategy was the logical choice.
Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far A: Being asked to become an international Revenue Management Consultant was a very proud accomplishment. I had to learn new markets, exchange rates, and customer buying habits. It was incredibly rewarding to be asked to take on such a challenging project and to have success in the role.
Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in your field? A: Be open to opportunities that aren’t what you think you’re looking for, Be willing to put in the hard work necessary to succeed, And be honest with yourself on your strengths, weaknesses, and what truly motivates you.
And with anything in life, Hard Work = Good Luck
Q: Fun Facts! A: – During quarantine, I wrote two children’s books that I’m currently trying to get illustrated and published. – I’ve been in a band that put out an EP. – And after seven years away, my new position is in Michigan, I’m very excited to be back in the Wolverine State!
Alumna, Monique Lawler (Roberts) graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. Since her time at UM-Flint, she has gone on to work in a Commercial Real Estate (CRE) field and identifies trends in the market. She and her friends also created a non-profit to promote gender equity in underserved communities. As our featured Alumni of the month, Monique gives insight into how she ended up in CRE, why she chose UM-Flint as well as her favorite experiences at the university.
Q: Degree(s) and graduation year: A: Bachelor of Business Administration–Marketing, 2011
Q: Pursuing another degree? A: Not currently. I enrolled in an MBA program, but decided to put my enrollment on hold to pursue other endeavors.
Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your normal day to day? A: I work in Commercial Real Estate (CRE), as a Research Analyst for Cushman & Wakefield’s Memphis affiliate office (Commercial Advisors); I have been in this position for a year. My normal day-to-day consists of identifying trends in the market, creating drive-times, demographic profiles, void analyses and fulfilling ad-hoc research requests.
Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree(s)? A: The convenience of having one of the top-ranking universities on the world in my hometown was a huge factor. Course selection, campus activities and culture were other major factors in choosing UM-Flint.
Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint? A: One of my favorite experiences was a CIS project that involved working with local veterans, helping them navigate, understand, and utilize resources available to Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB).
Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in? A: I was pre-med for four years, then decided on a whim that I wanted to learn more about consumer behavior, and the methodology behind it. That led me to analytics and somehow landed me in CRE.
Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far? A: Not to sound cliché’, but my proudest accomplishments are my teenage daughter—who’s considering UM as her top college choice, and my beautifully tenacious 3-year old son. I am also proud of my friends and I for establishing a non-profit organization to promote gender equity in underserved communities.
Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in your field? A: I would tell them to go for it!! Especially BIPoC, because there is such an untapped gap in professionals of Color in CRE; I say challenge the status quo!
Q: Fun Facts! A: Although I am not currently pursuing another degree, I am pursuing (and hold) several certifications in my favorite hobbies and interests. I’m a certified personal trainer, I hold a TEFL certification to teach English as a Second Language, I’m pursuing my yoga-training certification and I’m currently undergoing Commissions to become a Notary/Loan Signing Agent in my state.
Alumna, Gina Dillon graduated from UM-Flint’s School of Management with a BBA in Marketing in 2013. Gina was recently promoted to Senior Client Lead at a global customer data science company headquartered in the United Kingdom. She has always been intrigued by consumer behavior and “why behind the by,” and also enjoys the customer data analysis within her career. As our featured Alumni of the month, Gina gives insight into her experiences at UM-Flint, why she went into an analytics-based career path, and advice for students thinking of pursuing a career in marketing.
Q: Degree(s) and graduation year A: Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing), 2013
Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your normal day to day? A: I am a Senior Client Lead for a UK-based company called dunnhumby (dh). I’ve been with dh since June 2019 and was promoted (from Client Lead) in August 2020. In my role, I help a large local grocery retailer perfect the science of shopping through customer data analysis.
Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree(s)? A: I really enjoyed the convenience of the campus being so close to home, flexible course formats and top-quality instruction.
Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint? A: My first year at UM-Flint, I captained a team for the Relay for Life lock-in event. It was fun to participate in such a unique on-campus experience while raising money for a good cause.
Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in? A: My favorite course at UM-Flint was BUS 338: Consumer Behavior with Dan Lake. I’ve always been most intrigued by the “why behind the buy,” which is how I ended up taking an analytics-based path for my career.
Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far? A: Outside of my beautiful 5-year-old daughter, I’ve been proud to volunteer my time and financial resources to various community-based organizations. The causes closest to my heart are kids, civil rights and the environment.
Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in your field? A: Go for it! Pursue what you’re passionate about. My role is heavily focused on interpersonal relationship building and a passion for improving the lives of consumers.
Q: Fun Facts! A: I’ve loved the University of Michigan since I was a little girl. I used to shoot hoops with my dad in a Chris Webber jersey, and my entire bedroom was covered in all things “Wolverine,” down to my bed comforter and waste basket!
UM-Flint School of Management (SOM) provides amazing resources for business students. Students can access a variety of resources, from career preparation to study abroad programs. Check out the top seven resources that will make you a better student!
With this interview preparation tool, you can review different videos on a variety of topics on interviewing, interview questions, salary negotiations, and participate in simulated mock interviews. The tools available on Big Interview can also help you prepare for graduate school interviews. Big Interview caters its questions towards your career field and you can record and send your own personal mock interviews to others to be reviewed for grading and feedback. Start preparing now by going to umflint.biginterview.com and creating your account. For questions regarding Big Interview, email Antonio Riggs, email@example.com.
All UM-Flint students have access to a Wall Street Journal subscription. This is a great resource to stay current on business news and happenings across several markets. It can also provide a personalized experience for tracking companies and industries for class projects and interview research. The WSJ offers key features that can be explored here. Get started with your free membership today by visiting umflint.edu/som/wsj and enter your UM-Flint credentials. If you need assistance, email Dominic Fusero, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study Abroad/Exchange Programs
Seeing the world while in college is important because it pushes students outside of their comfort zone, builds confidence, become independent, problem solver, develops networking skills, and develop intercultural understanding, all of which are important skills for a successful business professional.
For adventurous students wanting to dive right into a culture, exchange programs are offered in 12 countries from around the world. The partnered universities have business-specific programs and courses will count towards your UM degree. UM-Flint scholarships and financial aid are available as well as external scholarships. View programs at goabroad.umflint.edu/. For questions, contact the Education Abroad Office at email@example.com.
For students that aren’t quite ready to take the leap abroad for a semester, each year the School of Management faculty members lead a study abroad program. The faculty member leading the trip is familiar with the region and can relate course concepts to the surrounding areas. Trips are under two weeks long and take place during the spring or summer semester. Study abroad trips count towards your UM degree. Similarly, UM-Flint scholarships are available and financial aid can count towards course fees. Eligible students will receive a $1,000 guaranteed scholarship. For questions or resources, visit umflint.edu/som/study-abroad or contact Professor Greg Laurence, Director of International and Global Studies Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rosetta Stone is a software platform available to all School of Management students that can be used to learn a foreign language at several proficiency levels. This is a significant benefit for international students, international business majors, business students interested in a foreign language minor, and as well as those who wish to study abroad. Each semester, a limited amount of licenses are available for a six-month period, which at the end can be renewed.
Languages available: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dari, Dutch, English (American), English (British), Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Pashto, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese
To have access, students can contact international business faculty, Yener Kandogan, Ph.D., at email@example.com or Keith Kelley, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also include the language you are interested in, along with a paragraph explaining your need/purpose for access, current proficiency level, foreign language courses taken, and how you will benefit from access to this language software.
Talking with the Career Planning Counselor, Antonio Riggs
Whether you are looking for an internship, career advice, or attending a professional development event for your Career Development Requirement points, Antonio Riggs, Career Planning Counselor, will have an answer for you! Antonio hosts business career fairs once a semester and invites multiple employers on-campus/virtual for students to network and ask questions about a particular job field. He can help you with your resume, interview skills, professional dress, and overall job hunting advice. Antonio can also help you navigate Handshake and let you know about possible job opportunities with local companies. Lastly, Antonio manages the Student 2 Student mentorship program that connects freshman/transfer students to upper class business students. Learn more about internship/career resources here. To schedule a one on one meeting, email him at email@example.com.
SOM Student Clubs
The School of Management sponsors nine student organizations. These organizations welcome UM-Flint undergraduate and graduate students of any major. Many organizations deal with broad business concepts to help sharpen your skills. Each organization focuses on a particular field of business, such as Accounting, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Human Resources, International Business, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management.
Previous Entrepreneurs Society member, Elisabeth Hamilton said, “New students should take advantage of the countless opportunities and resources offered at UM-Flint early on in their academic career. I can’t express how grateful I am for the opportunities I have had through the School of Management and being an active member of student organizations like Entrepreneurs Society. I have gained real-life career experience and made professional connections. I truly believe I would not be as prepared for the real world if it wasn’t for the Entrepreneurs Society.”
The Hagerman Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation was established in 2015 and since then the center has been known for its successful cross-campus Zillion Solutions pitch competition, the Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurial Speaker Series, and student scholarships. The Hagerman Center’s mission is to encourage entrepreneurial and innovative thinking in students and faculty in all disciplines. The center can help kick start your entrepreneurial passion while also learning business principles and logistics of starting a business. Submitting your idea to Zillion Solutions can lead to you winning one of 50 cash prizes available, connect you to local entrepreneurs for guidance on how to pursue your idea, and add a great line to your resume. For questions, contact Professor Mark Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alumnus, McCoy Wilson graduated from UM-Flint with his Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Finance in 2014. During his time at UM-Flint, he was apart of diverse student organizations, such as Black Student Union and InterVasity. McCoy is a Sales Operations Financial Manager and played a key role in his company by creating and implementing a new data reporting program. As our featured Alumni of the month, McCoy gives insight into his experience with student organizations, career advice, and his future travel plans to Spain!
Q: Degree(s) and graduation year: A: MBA in Finance (2014)
Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your normal day to day? A: I’m currently working at Encompass Health, Dallas, Texas as Sales Operations Financial Manager. I have been with Encompass Health for 3 years. I oversee the design and distribute compensation plans, report payout data, and ensure timely and accurate compensation. I create and manage reports, forecasts, metrics and dashboards for our sales team.
Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree(s)? A: Both the academic reputation of the School of Management and the school’s vast alumni network influenced my decision.
Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint? A: I lived on campus for a year and I enjoyed the various student activities. I was a member of InterVasity student organization and the African Students Union. Being around such a diverse population of students was both exciting and somewhat of a cultural shock for me.
It was awesome to meet, interact and collaborate with people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and beliefs. And that’s an important aspect of higher education – the ability to learn from many others who bring their own personal and cultural experiences to the table for the benefit of alls.
Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in? A: I was drawn to this career path because it appeals to my passion and proclivity for management and strategy, data and analytics. Undoubtedly, the School of Management’s classes introduced me to concepts and skills that prepared me for this.
Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far? A: I played a key role in creating and implementing a new data reporting program which is currently being used to ensure timely and accurate compensation.
Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in your field? A: Always look for the opportunity to interact and learn from other students and faculty. I benefited a lot from the virtues of group work. These smaller group settings provide platforms that stimulate creativity and intellectual curiosity.
My job as a Sales Operations Financial Manager is based on my communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and working with different groups on class projects was fundamental to the development of these skills.
Q: Fun Facts! A: I am making plans to visit the Camp Nou soccer stadium in Barcelona, Spain next year. Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe with a seating capacity of 99,354. I really hope my team, FC Barcelona, wins on the day I visit. That would make my experience more memorable.