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.

Flying through School: A Journey from Civilian Student to Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force

By Alexis Menard On January 28, 2020 3:15 pm

Veronica Hindelang ’20, BBA in Finance

Veronica Hindelang (‘20) isn’t your typical college student at the University of Michigan-Flint. This unique college student set out to complete her undergraduate and graduate education in less than four years. Currently, Hindelang is a senior studying Finance for her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), and in less than three months from now, she will be walking the commencement stage only to jump in a week later into the MBA program at UM-Flint.

Even more ambitious, Hindelang’s long-term goal is going into the United States Air Force first as a Second Lieutenant and continue to make rank after her commission. After deciding to pursue a career in the Air Force, she realized the value of pursuing her education so that one day she could become an officer. “I chose the Air Force as I was most familiar with the branch,” said Hindelang. Her father is an Air Force Veteran and served for 22 years. 

To become an officer in the Air Force requires Hindelang to complete the Reserve Officers Training Corps – and the University of Michigan was on her radar. She quickly found out that she could still participate in the program while attending UM-Flint. “I opted for the branch that was closest to home, more affordable, and with a better student to faculty ratio,” Hindelang continues, “After some time in my field, I will be required to obtain a master’s degree to continue to make rank, as do all other military officers. I believe that completing my masters now while I am in a situation with advantageous resources and propelling motivation would be best. My ability and readiness to pursue and successfully complete my education are at a peak.” 

The senior from Frankenmuth, MI states, “The military, as I believe, would provide me with valuable and unique experiences that the civilian sector could not. There are opportunities and benefits I would like to pursue, and in my experience so far, I’ve met wonderful people, traveled to interesting places, and have seen a change in myself for the better.” Veronica explains that she plans on exploring careers as either a pilot, combat systems officer, remote pilot, or an air battle manager and “the Air Force seems to be a good fit and right place to do it.” 

Joining the military is a selfless act for your country and Hindelang advises those interested in enlisting to consider that “education is very important for every rank in the military. You never stop learning. Reaching out to people and learning together can teach you a lot about others and yourself.”

Even though she found a college that could fulfill her unique needs for completing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in under two years, she still ran into some normal roadblocks. Hindelang stated, “It was difficult to make connections in the beginning when I was touching bases with different departments to complete my gen ed courses but after settling in the School of Management to complete my core classes, I’ve met a wonderful group of faculty and students. I feel supported and focused in my direction.”

Fast-tracking a degree is never an easy task and comes with challenges that SOM staff and faculty continue to support Hindelang with. “I am extremely grateful for my Academic Advisor, Brenda Harrison, for consistently meeting with me and helping me stay on track,” said Hndlelang. She also states appreciation for the Student Success Center and their tutors. “They have been great resources alongside a few standout professors like Dr. Min Jung Kang, Professor of Finance, and Michael B McCarthy, Lecturer of Finance and Quantitative Methods,” she said. 

“After many stressful semesters, what I have and still value the most, are those, both student and faculty, who willingness to be flexible and constructive has helped me grow and succeed,” continues Hindelang, “Communicative, dedicated, personable, and reasonable instructors and students who share their strengths and complement your weaknesses in the courses you take together are the reason I have been able to push myself further than I thought I could. Special thanks to Noah Knutson, Hunter Johnson and anyone who joined study groups with me.”

Getting Her Feet Wet in the Financial Services Industry: January’s aMAIZEing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On January 27, 2020 4:22 PM

Alumna, Katie Osentoski (McAuliffe), received her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing in 2014. Katie pursued professional designations in the Finance industry like Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ (FPQP™) and Life, Health &
Accident Insurance License with the state of Michigan. As a full-time Associate Wealth Coach and Mom, she is pursuing the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification. As our featured Alumni of the month, Kaite will give insight to her experiences at UM-Flint, finding what she loves in a career, crucial advice when trying to find an internship/career, and more!

Q: Degree(s) and graduation year:
A: I graduated in 2014. I graduated from the School of Management with a B.B.A. with a marketing concentration.

Q: Pursuing another degree?
A: I am not pursuing another degree. However, since graduating, I have pursued professional designations in my industry. Through the College for Financial Planning® — a Kaplan Company, I earned the Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ (FPQP™) designation in 2018. In 2019, I obtained my Life, Health & Accident Insurance License with the state of Michigan. I am currently pursuing the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) certification.

Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization?
A: I work for a privately held wealth management firm in Troy, Michigan. I have been with the firm for over 3 ½ years. When I started with the firm, I was serving as an investment operations specialist. In 2019, I transitioned into a new role – associate wealth coach.

Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your BBA?
A: I chose UM-Flint for three primary reasons. First, I had heard first-hand from students and employers that the school gives students the skills to excel in their careers. My education, connections and employability were the most important things when it came to deciding on a university. That wasn’t always the case for me, though. I had attended Central Michigan University and transferred to UM-Flint my junior year. I initially chose Central Michigan based on the following priorities: I felt I needed the experience of living away from home, I wanted the social experience and LASTLY because of my education. By the time I reached the end of my sophomore year, I had my priorities in line and was ready to get back on track and focus on my education. Transferring to UM-Flint helped me to do that.

Second, I knew I wanted to set myself up for financial success. While attending UM-Flint, I was able to live at home, work part-time, set aside an emergency fund and cash flow a large portion of my tuition. I was also able to obtain scholarships based on my academic merits which was instrumental.

Third, my family is from the surrounding Flint area. My grandparents owned businesses in Flint and were active members in the community. I take great pride in being from the Flint-area and attending a school in Flint seemed to be a natural fit.

Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint?
A: I enjoyed my time in the classroom. Every time I entered the classroom, I dug in. I participated. I asked the questions. I was the student that others probably rolled their eyes at when I popped my hand up because I had a question. But I was at a point in my education where I knew not to hold back questions or thoughts. Any question/idea was better than no question/idea. Each of my professors reciprocated and I found the more I engaged, the more they engaged, and I had amazing experiences and relationships with the professors.

One of my favorite projects was in Dr. Dan Lair’s Business Communications class. Our class created a program called Hiring U which was designed to help other students move from a college student to career professionals. We established an online presence and marketed the program, created meaningful content to help students and finished the class with a university event with a panel of hiring experts. I learned so much in the classroom in terms of hiring, marketing and working on a team. A bonus to this class…I met some great friends that are still in my life to this day!

Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
A: During my senior year at UM-Flint, I did a marketing and development internship at the Flint Institute of Arts (FIA). Within a few short months, I was offered a job as an assistant events coordinator. I worked at the museum coordinating events, working on committees with community leaders and marketing programs and exhibitions.

My time at the FIA made me realize I love developing meaningful relationships with people and marketing. Soon after graduation, I accepted a marketing and client service role at a financial firm in Flint. This position allowed me to explore my marketing interests while exposing me to insurance and financial services. From that moment, I knew I wanted to work in the financial services industry. It had everything I needed in a career. It allowed me to develop relationships, make a meaningful impact in businesses and families financial lives and channel both my analytical and creative skills.

Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: I am proud to be a working mom. It is one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have ever done. I often think back to Business Law with Dr. Witt. He had mentioned he would hire someone from UM-Flint any day because we have grit. Students from UM-Flint work hard. We multitask. We do what it takes to get the job done. We. Get. Stuff. Done. And that’s what it takes in the real world!

As a side note, Business Law with Dr. Witt was probably one of the most impactful classes I had taken. I’m glad I paid such close attention in the class because little did I know it would be applicable on a daily basis in my career!

Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in marketing/financial planning?
A: I have three main pieces of advice. First, take the job. Even if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, or maybe you’re not sure it’s a fit…take the job and get your feet wet. You never know where it’s going to lead.

Second, always remember the expert in anything was once a beginner. Take the first step, give yourself grace and know your worth.

Third, never underestimate the value of networking and connections. Never burn a bridge and always treat others with respect.

Q: Fun Facts!
A: In 2014 I married my best friend, Chad Osentoski. We met at Mott Community College and took many classes together at UM-Flint. Chad graduated from UM-Flint as well and is now an assistant project manager at an industrial contracting firm. We are both grateful for our time at UM-Flint and owe the school many thanks. We had our first child in 2018 and are expecting our second child in July of this year.

Life is busy between being a wife/mom, working and studying. I do always try to make time for myself (it is important for mental health). In my free time, I enjoy horseback riding and spending time kayaking and pontooning on our lake.

A random fact: A recent hobby of mine has been studying the enneagram and Myers-Briggs personality assessments. My employer uses the tests with employees and clients. It has been fascinating to learn. The tests can truly help you to understand yourself and others. As a reference, I identify as an Enneagram Type 1 Wing 2 (known as the perfectionist) and a Myers-Briggs ESFJ (known as the consul). The assessments are worth looking into and can be applicable in your career and daily life!

Finance Student Interns at the State of Michigan Treasury

By Alexis Menard On December 23, 2019 1:30 pm

Barclay (Clay) Davis, BBA ’19 in Finance

Barclay (Clay) Davis graduated with honors from UM-Flint School of Management in December 2019 with his Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance. During his time at UM-Flint, he applied his knowledge at an internship at the State of Michigan Treasury. In his role as the student assistant, he supported the Real, Opportunistic, and Absolute Return Division through research and analysis skills to recommend purchases, retention or sale of investments.

Davis is originally from Highland, Michigan and choose UM-Flint because of the high quality of education and affordability of tuition. “The application of the concepts I learned at UM-flint helped me understand my studies more and relate them to what I wanted to do as a career,” Davis continues, “I would have to say nearly all my School of Management courses directly or indirectly applied to my internship as a wide variety of skills and knowledge were required for my internship. This internship gave me the opportunity to show my skills and I am now being considered for a full-time financial analyst position.”

His post-graduation goal is to pursue a career as a financial analyst, one of the most prevalent career paths in finance. “I plan to become a financial analyst for the State of Michigan Retirement Systems pension fund within the State of Michigan Treasury. I have always had an interest in finance and financial markets and enjoy the process of identifying and researching investments,” said Davis. At his position, he gained a variety of skills but mostly valued gaining firsthand knowledge of what a financial analyst goes through on a daily basis and enjoyed meeting with large financial firms. “This experience showed me the level of expertise, attention to detail, and hard work it takes to be financial analysts,” said Davis.

Mr. Nichols, Lecturer of Management, and Dr. Stephens, Lecturer of Finance, informed Davis about the competitive internship program at the State of Michigan Treasury. “I cannot thank both of them enough for their interest in finding opportunities for students that lead to internships and potential careers,” Davis continues, “UM-Flint has given me the opportunity and skills necessary to excel in my future career, and I cannot thank the University enough.”

Dear Professor: Accommodating religious preferences in the workplace

Posted by Alexis Menard on December 10, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Dear Professor:

Q: I am an employer of 110 employees in a retail setting. How far do I have to go to accommodate religious preferences?

A: Religion is one of the five protected classes under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, along with race, sex and national origin.  Employers cannot discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of being a member of one or more of the five classes.  The law applies to employers of more than 15 employees, including government employers.

Typically, religious bias arises when an employee’s work schedule conflicts with a religious observance or appearance requirements.  But frequently the type of work creates a conflict, such as anti-abortion nurses required to assist in abortions.  Further, pejorative statements by other employees or supervisors can form a basis for a religious discrimination claim.

An employer is required to accommodate religion unless it causes an undue hardship on the employer. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the accommodation does not have to involve more than minimal expense or operational problems.  For example, an employer does not have to incur shift or overtime premiums to cover for an employee’s religious request or change seniority or require others to work a shift to accommodate. On the other hand, an employer would have to allow employees doing the same work to voluntarily switch shifts.

 (If you have a question of general interest in any area of business, send your inquiry to fcullari@umich.edu.  An answer will be posted in the immediate subsequent issue. Individual advice is not offered in this forum.  The opinion is that of the professor answering your question and not necessarily that of SOM or UM.)

Negotiating Outcomes: Book Review by Francine Cullari

Written by Francine Cullari on November 25, 2019. Posted by Alexis Menard on December 10, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Negotiating Outcomes (Harvard Business School Pocket Mentor Series, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 2007)

Among the plethora of business advice books and articles, the Harvard Business School Pocket Mentor Series provides the most complete albeit concise advice on ten topics ranging from leading teams to managing projects to negotiating outcomes.  Negotiating Outcomes has 94 pages of cogent steps to having success in any type of negotiation process.  Alumni have on occasion contacted me to report favorable results using the recommended techniques in purchasing a car, being interviewed for employment, and investment club policy.

The booklet first distinguishes between distributive negotiation, in which a gain by one side is made at the expense of the other (win-lose), and integrative negotiation, in which joint and individual is the goal for both sides (win-win). Tactics for each type of negotiation are explored.  Steps prior to negotiation, including various preparation forms, the first meeting of negotiators, and negotiation itself are identified and explained. 

Specific steps are recommended to deal with barriers to agreement, such as lack of trust, saboteurs, differences in gender and culture, communication problems, irrational escalation, partisan perception, overconfidence, unchecked emotions and unreasonable expectations.

There are numerous books on how to negotiate, but it unlikely you will find an easier-to-read, easier-to-use, thoroughly clear, and inexpensive aid.

-Francine Cullari, MA, MBA, JD

From Finance to Accounting, How One Graduate Sought Change: December’s aMAIZEing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On December 9, 2019 1:00 pm

Maxwell Montney, BBA ’18 in Finance

Alumnus, Maxwell Montney, received his BBA in Finance and a minor in Economics in April 2018. Maxwell has been working for at the University of Michigan-Flint in the Financial Services & Budget department for over a year as an Accountant. This fall, he decided to start his MBA in Organizational Leadership at the School of Management. As our featured Alumnus, Maxwell will provide insight into why he transitioned to the accounting field, his favorite experiences from UM-Flint, and advice about pursuing a career in business.

Why did you choose UM-Flint for your BBA?

I chose UM-Flint due to three reasons. It was close to home, which helped me save money. I liked the fact that there are smaller class sizes, which allowed for more interaction with faculty members. And lastly, the opportunities and resources students have access to. Multiple companies are looking to hire UM-Flint students and graduates. Antonio Riggs, Student Services Coordinator, is a great resource and connection to have after graduation. Antonio is great at his job and loves helping students.

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

I would have to say taking a trip with the School of Management to the Federal Reserve in Detroit was my favorite experience. Seeing how that place operates was fascinating. If anyone ever gets the chance to go, I would highly recommend it.

Secondly, the School of Management hosts Alumni Evenings or networking dinners. I have had a great time reconnecting with faculty and a variety of SOM alumni at these events. They are typically Friday evenings so it’s easy to go to their events right after work.

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

I always knew I wanted to work with numbers, and I have a passion for helping individuals and organizations meet their financial goals. My undergraduate concentration was Finance, but I currently work as an Accountant for the University of Michigan – Flint. The nice thing about an Accounting or Finance degree is that it can allow for movement between each field. This is sometimes true, but it’s not always the case. I had an internship in college where I learned a lot about the importance of analyzing and organizing data. With these skills and the information I learned in the classroom, I was able to apply it to my current position at UM-Flint.

What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?

My proudest accomplishment would have to be the day I graduated. Walking across the stage and receiving my degree was a feeling unlike any other. I recently began pursuing my MBA, so I hope to capture that feeling again someday.

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

Business is a broad field, so I can confidently say that you need to get out of your comfort zone. Most of you won’t find what you truly enjoy doing without some trial and error along the way. Don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do, turn it into a learning experience that will hone your skills and abilities. 

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

I would ultimately like to see Flint and UM-Flint grow simultaneously. Many people have been trying to create positive change throughout the city over the last few years, and the university is a great ally in this effort.

Fun Facts!

I love visiting the U.P. and traveling to new places. My most recent vacation this year was to Maine over the summer and it had plenty of great views, including Acadia National Park. I’m also a huge supporter of all things UofM when it comes to sports. Go blue!

School of Management Student Receives Prestigious Women in Defense Award

By Alexis Menard On December 4, 2019, 10:15 am

Alexandria Thompson speaking at the Women in Defense gala on November 8, 2019

UM-Flint School of Management student, Alexandria Thompson, received the distinguished HORIZONS scholarship from the Women in Defense – Michigan Chapter. The scholarship is given to encourage women to pursue careers related to national security and defense fields in the United States. Thompson is a U.S. Air Force veteran and will be receiving her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Supply Chain Management in December 2019. She will be graduating with honors from UM-Flint on Sunday, December 15, 2019.

Thompson received the scholarship at the 11th Annual Women in Defense gala on November 8, 2019, at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, MI. “It was an incredibly special night because I got to bring my mom as my date,” said Thompson, “My mom is a U.S. Air Force veteran with ten years of active duty service. Being able to celebrate women who are often underrepresented in their defense and military careers, alongside my mom, was an absolute dream.” 

Pictured left to right: Dee Thompson (Mother), U.S. Air Force veteran, and Alexandria Thompson, U.S. Air Force veteran

Previously, Thompson worked combat supply operations for an F-16 fighter squadron in various countries such as Japan, Jordan, Djibouti, and Singapore. Thompson said that the traveling made it difficult to pursue a degree, “I separated and began pursuing my degree at UM-Flint [and] it allowed me to pursue my education from one of Michigan’s top tier schools without having to move again.”  

Thompson said, “The Supply Chain Management program at UM-Flint provides a global perspective on business, logistics, and management that promotes the skills and objectives that directly apply to what is required of a civilian to support our military members on the front lines.” Thompson added, “Courses such as Project Management, International Management, and Operations Management have taught me abilities in planning and developing strategies outside of national boundaries.”

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/SW7og2Lj3My15Q3Eo_DRNuGf4X5OgFtwGoNLFRIW2ayFCyci8BA_bC1VQEBUp5Qk5gOWlBPiEThqVIqfU6Q9TyhwDelicWzQLaZ6e5Nv3ThM62EHSgR9HxXV681ZQblI_EsZeye7
HORIZONS Scholarship Award Certificate

One of the obstacles Thompson had to overcome to attend UM-Flint was getting back into the academic mindset after being out of school for so long. “I struggled very much in the beginning, especially in math-related subjects. I spent every spare minute I had in the math tutor lab getting help,” said Thompson. Thompson credits her achievements to Larry Nichols, School of Management Lecturer, for writing her a letter of recommendation for the HORIZONS scholarship. “Mr. Nichols is a rare educator that genuinely cares about his students’ success,” said Thompson. 

Thompson is currently working as a Student Contracting Trainee for the U.S. Army at the Detroit Arsenal. After graduation, Thompson will be working towards becoming a Contract Specialist and will continue her career with the U.S. Army. “I knew after my military service that I would like to pursue a career within the Department of Defense. I think it is important to have pride in what you do and the military offers a sense of pride unlike any other.”

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