Author Archives: ALEXIS MENARD

About ALEXIS MENARD

Alexis Menard joined the School of Management in April 2018 as the Web & Social Media Assistant. She is a senior standing Business Administration undergraduate student at the University of Michigan-Flint pursuing a double major in OBHRM and Marketing.

MBA Student Creates New Social Network Geared towards Graduate Business Students

By Alexis Menard On November 13, 2019 11:45 am

If you are a current SOM graduate student or a SOM alumni interested in joining the network, visit www.umf-som.net and click the “Request to Join” button to get started!

With many of UM-Flint’s graduate students only appearing on campus twice a semester for the Net+ program, one student sought out a way to encourage more connectivity amongst his graduate peers and alumni. The idea for the social network was created by a University of Michigan-Flint graduate student, Raymond Pirouz, in the Masters of Business Administration program.  He devised a social network called UMF-SOM Graduate Student Network, that is hosted on the Mighty Network, to seamlessly connect with his classmates. It is a student facilitated network for current School of Management graduate students or graduate alumni.

Raymond Pirouz

Pirouz is a first-year MBA Net+ student with a concentration in Marketing & Innovation Management and expects to graduate in the summer of 2021. The Net+ program is a mixed-mode format with the majority of work being completed online along with two on-site residencies that are held each semester. Pirouz said, “The program is perfect for working adults, however, the flexibility also presents the challenge of keeping in touch with peers who may not follow one another on the same path throughout their experience with the program.” Pirouz has been the first to come up with an interactive platform for UM-Flint graduate students to connect outside of the classroom.  

This idea to start a social network came to Pirouz when he attended orientation. He asked faculty and administration how the cohort functioned given that many of the students were not on campus due to the flexibility of the program. UM-Flint lacks a graduate business cohort and “it signaled an opportunity to develop a means by which a cohort – even if a virtual one – could be established through a shared environment like a private social network” said Pirouz.

Pirouz states that the UMF-SOM graduate student social network can help students in three ways: 

  1. Provide graduate students with a persistent space containing peers with whom they can connect and remain in contact with throughout their time at UM-Flint SOM, thereby creating an experience otherwise unavailable. 
  2. Give graduate students the ability to network and share tips, strategies for success at UM-Flint SOM and keep them abreast of get-togethers and networking opportunities and events. 
  3. Serve as both an in-school social network as well as a professional alumni network beyond graduation.

Pirouz explains “My core motivation for launching the UMF-SOM graduate student social network was to create a persistent space for graduate students of all backgrounds and area concentrations to connect and remain connected no matter where their educational and future professional journey might take them.”

Pirouz also aims to make UM-Flint students and alumni more UM-Flint proud. He is hoping that clothing will soon be available on campus highlighting different departments so that students can showcase their academic unit. Pirouz believes this will strengthen the ‘brand’ at UM-Flint and spark new discussions on how many experiences can be improved. 

Overall, Pirouz would like the UMF-SOM graduate student network to act as a persistent space for students to be able to check into for connecting with peers, keeping in touch, sharing tips and techniques for success at UM-Flint SOM, coordinating get-togethers and continuing to stay in touch beyond graduation, and finally serving as an educational as well as professional network.

Pirouz resides in Fort Gratiot, Michigan but grew up in Southern California and earned a BFA at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He hasn’t been a student since 1996 and chose UM-Flint because of the flexibility of program offering, and knowing he would have access to world-class University of Michigan faculty in a format that best fits his busy life. “One of the benefits of being a graduate student at UM-Flint SOM is the flexibility of the program in that one can mix and match course modalities to fit a busy schedule.”

If you are a current SOM graduate student or a SOM alumni interested in joining the network, visit www.umf-som.net and click the “Request to Join” button to get started!

Recent Graduate Contributes Advice and Humor about his Time at UM-Flint: November’s aMAIZEing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On November 5, 2019 1:10 pm

Casey Lester, BBA ’19 in General Business

Alumnus, Casey Lester, received his BBA in General Business in April 2019 from UM-Flint’s School of Management. During his time at UM-Flint, Casey worked full-time at Huntington National Bank and gave back to his community by serving on the board of Flint Community School Board of Education during the Flint Water Crisis. As our featured Alumnus, Casey answers questions on his favorite experiences from UM-Flint, accomplishments, and advice about pursuing a career in business.

Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been working there?

I work for Huntington National Bank and I am a Treasury Management Advisor.  I have been there for 3 years.

Why did you choose UM-Flint for your BBA?

I live in Flint and have a strong passion for my city.  My wife went to U of M for her undergrad and her graduate degree.  She was very insistent that it was the best school around. Also, I don’t know if you know this but there isn’t nearly as many delicious options as there are for food in the pavilion.

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

I met some amazing people during my time at the university.  Faculty and students were all amazing and created an incredible and remarkable experience.  Also, Dr. Simon had this event and there was free pizza…it was one of the most rewarding things I received in my adult life.

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

Initially, I fell into it.  I had worked at a restaurant that went out of business and needed a new direction, I started working at Chase and got some really good experience then transitioned into a position with a better fit organization.

What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?

The cliche and truthful answer is going to be my son, he is hands down the coolest person I have ever met.  Outside of that, I would say I am most proud of being able to have given a little bit back to the city I live in. I volunteered during the water crisis and serve on the Flint Community School Board of Education. Being able to give back is an amazing feeling and something people should experience.

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

Understand that you are going to be terrible at it for the first few years.  You will annoy people and you will make their job harder and you will be the reason someone goes home and drinks.  THAT IS OK. Every great manager or business owner or influencer absolutely sucked at it when they first tried, the trick is not giving up while you are still trying to figure it out.

What would you like to see happen to UM-Flint/Flint within the next five years?

I would like to see UM-Flint eliminate third party websites/programs being required for classes.  My degree was a 70k investment that I am comfortable paying to the school, but the idea that we allow things like MYACCOUNTINGLAB.COM profit from the education of our future is extremely disturbing and all of our classes should stand alone without adding additional cost onto the student.

Fun Facts! Other random advice?

I learned more about how to act in business settings playing Dungeons and Dragons and video games than I would like to admit.  I still think about how much of my success is a direct result of how I reacted to a dice roll.

Talk to everyone, and remember them.  Learn how to associate people and one random fact about them, people are usually impressed when someone has not only listened to what they are saying but paid attention to it as well.

Maize and Blue recipient, cheerleader, and sorority sister lands incredible opportunity at PWC: September’s aMAIZEing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On September 26, 2019 11:20 am

Olivia Norfolk, BBA April ’18 in Accounting

Alumna, Olivia Norfolk, graduated from UM-Flint’s School of Management with a BBA in Accounting in April 2018. During her time at UM-Flint, Olivia received the distinguished Maize and Blue Award and the Plante Moran Outstanding Accounting Award in her graduating class. She also was involved with Greek life and a proud member of Sigma Sigma Sigma and Order of Omega. Olivia currently works for one of the Big Four auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, as a Risk Assurance Associate. Only one year after graduating from UM-Flint, she received her MBA and CPA certifications. As our featured Alumna, Olivia answers questions on why she chose UM-Flint, her path as a young businesswoman, and advice on how to pursue a career.

Why did you choose UM-Flint for your BBA?

UM-Flint gave me the smoothest transition from an out-of-state school as an incoming junior into the SOM. They worked with me to be able to stay on track to graduate in four years, and of course the Michigan name!

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

Going through sorority recruitment and meeting some of my best friends

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

I kind of fell into it. I had a high school teacher that thought accounting would be a good field for me because I’m very structured and disciplined. I declared it as my major as a freshman and somehow never went back!

What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?

Definitely passing all four parts of the CPA Exam while simultaneously completing my MBA.

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

It’s okay to not know what exactly you want to do or where you want to work, but it’s not okay to sit back and hope that an opportunity magically lands in your lap. If you don’t know how to get to where you want to be, ask someone. You (or your financial aid) pays a lot of money to have a pool of resources at your feet that can make you successful. Use them! If you think your resume sounds dumb because you’ve never worked a “real job,” ask a professor or someone in the career services office to help you. Ask your newly graduated friends what different fields or jobs are available at their workplace. Utilize your resources and take advantage of the connections you might not even realize you have. 

Fun Facts!

I just moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I was a cheerleader for three years of my college career 

I was a bartender for five years before starting my professional career  

Za’Taia’s summer in 3 words back to school count down! Determined for Success.

By Alexis Menard On August 31, 2019 11:15 am

Hello everyone! I am Za’Taia Shelby, and I am a junior double majoring in Accounting and Finance.

My 2019 Summer was dedicated to building the foundation to becoming successful in the classroom, employment opportunities, and overall as a person. In life, there are many stepping-stones before you get to the points that you want to reach. This is why this summer I worked 53 hours a week and while being enrolled in spring and summer classes full time. I worked at Dort Federal Credit Union as a Video Teller while also pursuing an Accounting Internship at Amigo Mobility. During the internship, I have worked side by side with the General Accountant which has allowed me to gain experience in various accounting fields. I have worked with accounts payable and receivable, and briefly with creating financial statements.

Even though my schedule was jam packed, I did make time to travel to Las Vegas, Mississippi, and Ohio. In Las Vegas, I attended the National Association of Black Accountants Convention (NABA) with our new student led NABA Chapter at the University of Michigan-Flint. I had over ten interviews with top companies for accounting/finance internships for the summer of 2020. After receiving five internship offers, I have accepted the Internship for the summer of 2020 with Dow Chemical Company. This summer I learned the importance of time management and making sacrifices to better yourself for a great future.

For the fall semester, I am most definitely looking forward to indulging into my BBA courses since these will essentially help me build the skillset for my dream career- Forensic Accountant. Now that I have attended the NABA Convention, I know that I have the constant support from scholars, graduates, or professionals -that have been in my shoes or that are currently in my shoes- to make sure I make it to the top. Therefore, this Fall semester I will reach out to more students with accounting majors so that they can know that they have this support as well.

My advice to all college students is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If it’s a course, employment opportunity, or extracurricular activity that you want to pursue but you are nervous about it- put your best foot forward and do your best. Also, never be afraid to ask questions! Whether its questions about cheap textbooks, help with assignments, stuff to do on campus, or tips about surviving college, DO NOT be afraid to ask. By using this advice, it helps make the college experience easier to navigate through so that you can then help the next college student have a smooth college experience.

Lastly, if you’re planning to major in Accounting- join NABA and GO BLUE!

Danielle’s summer in 5 words back to school count down! Disney World. New Ideas. Scooters.

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

Hello! My name is Danielle Struck and I am a senior studying Business Management.

I started the summer of 2019 in the magical place of Disney World exploring all things Mickey Mouse, Avatar and Olaf.  After soaking up the sun for a week, I returned to work Downtown at 100k Ideas located in the Ferris Wheel. I spend my days as a project manager helping people in the community move their ideas forward. Whether that be a product, service, software, or social impact, we’re always open for conversation. I was fortunate to work closely with our new satellite locations at the Flint Development Center and The Berston Field House to make our services more assessable to others in the community! One of the ideas I worked closely with this summer you may have noticed zooming around town. Did you hear about the new scooters coming to Flint? My coworker Peter Deppe and his friend Scott Spitler are the guys who are making that possible. Kuhmute is scooter rideshare that offers a universal charging hub for any rideshare. I’ve spent many days learning what really goes into entrepreneurship, feeling inspired by their dedication, and helping them any way I can.

For the upcoming Fall Semester, I’m excited to announce it is my final fall semester of my undergrad career! I’m ready for all the connections that will be made and to discover even more about myself as a student and as a professional.

For new students and incoming freshmen, my best advice:

1. Charlies’ Smokin’ BBQ at the Farmer’s Market is the best.

2. Foster’s iced coffee is always a priority.

3. Be active on your LinkedIn.

I hope you had a great summer! Let’s Go Blue!

Alexis’ summer in 6 words back to school count down! National Parks. Engaging and Innovating SOM.

By Alexis Menard On August 28, 2019 12:55 pm

Hi! My name is Alexis Menard and I am a fourth-year business student double majoring in Marketing and Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management. I am also the Web and Social Media Assistant for the School of Management!

I love to be outside and that’s what I did for summer vacations and time away from the office. In early June, my best friend and I drove to the most visited National Park in the United States: Smoky Mountains National Park. The scenic drive in the mountains was beautiful! It was both our first time in the area and it was easy to find our way around the park in Tennessee and North Carolina. Since it was early in the season, we got to see 11 bears and cubs. My favorite hike was going to the top of Mt. Le Conte, one of the tallest points in the Smoky’s. It is 6594ft above sea level and a round trip of 11.5 miles. It took us six hours to ascend and descend the 2700ft change in elevation. I recommend everyone to go to this national park because it has something for everyone: hiking, waterfalls, lazy river tubing, fishing, biking, wildlife watching, and more!

The other trip I just returned from was visiting Maine and Acadia National Park. My boyfriend and I went to visit friends in Rockport, ME. While we were there we went paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, shopping, and experienced all the seafood options they have. We also went to the famous Maine lighthouse featured in the Forst Gump film. Acadia reminds me of the Upper Peninsula with its rocky cliffs and huge waves. National Parks are one of the best things about the United States, and I’m excited I got to see two parks in a matter of months. It will be my goal to visit two national parks every year!

Lastly, the majority of the summer I have been working at SOM. I have been working there for a year and a half years and have been growing SOM’s presence on social media and activism within the Flint community. I have many duties at SOM like updating the website, posting on social media, writing articles, and planing and promoting events. Lately, I have been experimenting with different features like Faculty Fridays, aMAIZEing Alumni, Nichols & Dimes, Showcasing Success and now this wonderful summer feature for our amazing students! This summer I was able to make connections with a SOM alumni to set up a Huntington Weather Ball Tour with help from Antonio Riggs. The SOM staff were able to go see the Flint weather ball up close earlier this August and we are planning a date for a student tour. I am very lucky to have this position and to be able to connect with my peers and faculty members to highlight what it’s like to be in business at UM-Flint. I am planning on continuing to do more giveaways for students like the Egg Hunt winter semester and alumni participation contests. I’m always available to listen to new ideas, so reach out to me via email. I would love to chat and hear back from SOM’s audience!

My biggest advice to students is to get involved with SOM and follow SOM on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn! The School of Management offers great professional and networking events. I wish when I was a freshman that I was more involved and took advantage of opportunities that our school provides for students. Also, consider an employment opportunity on campus! I started out working the front desk at Human Resources when I was a freshman. I networked and made connections cross-campus which has opened many doors of opportunities within the Flint community and UM-Flint. If you ever need professional work guidance, speak to SOM’s student services coordinator, Antonio Riggs. He can help you with anything college throws at you like your first office job, elevator pitch, how you should present yourself to employers, and so much more!

Wishing the best for everyone this fall!

Ben’s summer in 7 words back to school count down! Business Internship Abroad. New Experiences. European Travel.

By Alexis Menard On August 27, 2019 11:15 am

My name is Benjamin Molter and I am a senior pursuing an International Business Major, a Marketing Major, and a German Minor.

For a long time, I knew that I wanted to pursue a study abroad of some sorts during my college career and I finally made my dream a reality this past summer. At the end of May 2019, I packed my bags and flew to Germany to begin my journey! Over the summer, I stayed at our partnering university in Germany and I successfully completed an internship with private universities in Germany and Luxembourg. While working with the universities, I learned how to communicate with coworkers from around the world, conduct research more efficiently, and write proposals and emails catering to the businesses’ needs and wants. I would highly recommend an international internship because of all the unique benefits you get out of it. You get to live in the dorms in Germany for very cheap, possibly work in two different countries at the same time, learn a bunch about business outside the United States, and be able to travel often and efficiently.

When I wasn’t working, I was traveling nearly every weekend I was there. I would travel with other Americans who were also doing research at the university we stayed at. To save money, we would stay at hostels. Because of this, we met people from all around the globe which really broadened my perspective. I traveled to Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, and Austria. If I had to choose a favorite city, it would have to be Budapest because it was beautiful. The people were very friendly, there was a lot to do, the food was delicious, and it was very affordable.

What surprised me the most about the whole experience of traveling abroad was how well each country could speak English. Almost everyone from the age of 30 and down speaks English fluently on top of their native language(s) and another one based on what they learned in school. It really inspires me to continue to perfect my fluency in German as well as learning a couple other languages too.

The first thing that I took away from this summer was that to achieve what you want; you need to go out and take opportunities that come your way. I probably would not have done the internship this summer if I didn’t go out of my way to talk to people about it and complete all the work that was required for me to go. Though it was a bit pricey, I made it affordable by doing extra work and obtaining scholarships to help fund my expenses. The second thing that I took away from this summer was that you should travel often and make as many connections as you can. There is so much to see and do while traveling that teaches you so much about the world we all live in. Meeting and talking to people while traveling to different countries allows you to learn about the culture and history of each country more than staying in your home country.

What I am looking forward to most this Fall would be continuing work with the International Business Student Organization (IBSO). We are looking to expand our organization, creating interesting and new events, as well as taking another trip sometime during the school year.

Austin’s summer in 10 words back to school count down! Financial Aid Intern. Social Media Management. Taking initiative. New experiences.

By Alexis Menard On August 24, 2019 9:15 am

Greetings, my name is Austin McIntosh and I am a junior studying for a Finance Major.

During the 2019 Summer, I interned for the University of Michigan – Flint’s Office of Financial Aid. This internship was a mixture of finance, accounting, and analysis, three critical skills required to go into the Financial Analyst field. Throughout this internship, I worked with the office accountant with payroll, payroll reconciliation, and communicating on reconciling outstanding issues. I also took the reins on the office’s social media accounts and helped bring it back to relevance. Among my responsibilities I also created the budgets for the 2019-2020 Study Abroad trips. Taking on projects that taught me new skills in Microsoft Excel and even Access was critical for me to prepare for the future.

For the upcoming Fall Semester, I am very excited about taking actual in-depth BBA courses because I am now taking that classes where I hope to learn the skillset to take into my future career – Financial Analysis. I am also very excited about lifting the Financial Management Association off the ground and making it more relevant than what it used to be.

Since I have been in the Financial Aid world for a good chunk of time, my biggest suggestions are to complete your FAFSA as early as you can, take advantage of on-campus employment, and over budget yourself for upcoming semesters. Preparing and having a larger expected tuition and book expense will pay its dividends later on down the road. GO BLUE!

Jay’la’s Summer in 11 words back to school count down! Metro Community Development Intern. National Association of Black Accountants. Traveling. Opportunities.

By Alexis Menard On August 23, 2019 2:50 pm

Hallo mijn medestudenten, my name is Jayla Rivers. I am a junior in the School of Management with a major in accounting and a minor in communication. The summer of 2019 has been filled with great joys and adventures. From interning with a great company to traveling to wonderful cities.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Metro Community Development (MCD) as their commercial loan intern. During this internship, I have met many great people and developed several skills. I have earned an American Bankers Association certificate in business and commercial lending as well as completed multiple Bank Administration Institute courses. MCD is a non-profit that is focused around family and growth so interning here has been a great pleasure. While here most of my work was based around using Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. I was also introduced to new systems such as Ventures.

The National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) chapter at the University of Michigan-Flint was recently chartered and has already helped me with my future goals in life. I was given to chance to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend The NABA 50th national convention and expo. NABA’s convention was one to remember. It was full of powerful, positive, and exciting black energy. I enjoyed the opportunity of networking while being comfortable and enjoying myself. I was blessed to be offered several internship opportunities with great companies and firms.

This upcoming fall I am looking to traveling to Hasselt, Belgium to study abroad, hence the Dutch in the beginning. I will be at UHasselt for three and a half months studying under their business program. Considering I will not be working during my stay, I will be traveling through Europe as well.

If given a chance I would give incoming students the advice of utilizing the tutoring program, writing center, and library as much as possible. Some days you might not want to study or do homework but being in a space that promotes the positivity of study makes it a bit easier. I would also suggest joining organizations and getting to know people. It will be surprising how helpful it is to have someone to talk to or try new things with. Your college experience is what you make of it so make it the best.

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.