Category Archives: aMAIZEing Alumni

Accounting (MS) Alumni Transitions from Student to Future Instructor: July’s aMaizeing Alumni

Alumnus, John Schlaack, received his Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) in 2019 from the University of Michigan-Flint. John currently works in the IT/Accounting field in the automotive industry for the last 30+ years and is now starting his journey on his “second career” as a university instructor. He is currently enrolled in a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program. As our featured Alumni of the month, John comments on how his MSA degree will influence his future teaching career, advice for students or recent grads interested in the accounting field, and more!

Q: Degree(s) and graduation year:
A:  Master of Science in Accounting (MSA), 2019

Q: Pursuing another degree?
A: Currently enrolled in a DBA program.

Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your job like day to day?
A: I am employed at Martinrea International as the Global IT Director. I have been employed in this position for the past 2 1/2 years.

I am responsible for the implementation, development, and support of Global ERP systems. This includes the creation of new functionalities to meet company or customers’ requirements.

Q: Describe your career path.
A: I have worked in the Accounting and IT functions in the automotive industry for over 30 years. Earlier I had the opportunity to teach at the university and am now completing my doctoral program in accounting to start my “second” career.

Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
A: Always favored subjects that were analytical and have enjoyed the opportunity of being on global projects implementing financial systems.

Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree?
A: After graduating, I enrolled in a doctoral in accounting program. This MSA at UM-Flint and this doctoral program will help me prepare for my second career as a university instructor.

Q: What is the most important thing you learned while you were at UM-Flint? What is the most important thing you learned while you were at UM-Flint?  
A: The need to interact with faculty and classmates to get a fuller picture of the subject matter.

Q: Who influenced you most during your time at UM-Flint and why?
A: Each professor was excellent and added to my education.

Q: Share your best college memory.
A: Each class initiated coursework online, and filled in the blanks when I got to attend class time and interact with instructors and fellow classmates.

Q: How did your education at UM-Flint prepare you for what you are doing today?
A: After graduating, I enrolled in a doctoral in accounting program. The MSA program at UM-Flint and this doctoral program will help me prepare for my second career as a university instructor.

Q: What is one of your favorite events you attended or classroom experiences at UM-Flint? Why?
A: In the Accounting Systems course, the professor gave an overview of setting up databases needed for the course final project. I was missing a few important steps. After sitting through his instruction, a light bulb went off!

Q: What is a long-term career or professional goal you have for yourself?
A: As I near completion of my first career in manufacturing accounting and information systems, I am finalizing my preparation for my second career in teaching the skills I have learned over the past number of years.

Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: Completion of my MSA at UM-Flint, and the attendance of my family at the graduation.

Q: What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
A: Having a strong understanding of accounting and system logic (i.e., database management) is crucial in all fields of business. Understand that education does not stop when you graduate. Continuing education and skill development never stops!

Q: Fun Facts!
A: Favorite vacation was a trip to Arizona for college and Cactus League baseball!

Alum Invests and Overcomes Everyday Challenges: June’s aMaizeing Alumni

Alumnus, Edward F Walterhouse II, graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Finance. He was a member of Beta Alpha Psi- National Honors Fraternity and the Treasurer of the National Honor Society of Leadership & Success during his time as a student. Edward is a licensed financial advisor in Grand Blanc, MI, and maintains client relationships while researching market trends and running marketing campaigns. As our featured Alumni of the month, Edward gives insight on his favorite classroom experience, his long-term career goal, and his proudest accomplishment as a Financial Advisor.

Q: Degree(s) and graduation year:
A: Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) – Finance 2018.

Q: Pursuing another degree?
A: Currently studying for Certified Financial Planner Certification

Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization?
A: I am a Financial Advisor with the Walterhouse Faris Group at Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC in Grand Blanc, MI. I have been in this industry for six years; four years as an intern and two as a fully licensed financial advisor.

Q: What is your job like day to day?
A: Each week brings new opportunities and challenges. I research investments while monitoring current market environments including equity, fixed income, and alternatives. I act as a fiduciary and contacting clients to discuss rebalancing their portfolio. This is an important objective in my role as of lately. I also create personal financial plans through our software by inputting client’s quantitative data. I present and share that financial plan with them in a meeting discussing their qualitative data, goals, and aspirations.

Our team meets with clients annually/bi-annually, and sometimes quarterly to review their portfolios and track their progress towards their financial goals/retirement goals. Networking and running marketing campaigns is also a part of my role to create awareness of the capabilities of my financial team and expand our fiduciary imprint to future potential clients.

Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
A: I chose this career path because of the need for financial literacy as the world becomes more and more technology-driven, especially in the finance world. The finance sector is also becoming more complex for consumers requiring a need for financial guidance and help.

Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree?
A: I transferred to UM-Flint to experience a University of Michigan education and the close proximity to my home. I also was able to work and get a great education while not accumulating too much student debt.

Q: Who influenced you most during your time at UM-Flint and why?
A: My small group of friends was a large influence through my years at UM-Flint. We worked on projects together and studied for tests together at Riverfront and sometimes the library. They held me accountable and vice versa. In hindsight, this is something I think is crucial for college students to develop within their classes, not only to do well in that class but to retain information and hear different perspectives on class topics.

Q: Were you involved in any clubs or extracurriculars during your college experience? If so, what organizations/clubs?
A: Treasurer of National Honor Society of Leadership & Success 2017-2018, Beta Alpha Psi- National Honors Fraternity of Finance 2017-2018

Q: What is one of your favorite events you attended or classroom experiences at UM-Flint? Why?
A: I truly enjoyed working and meeting with the group of individuals on the board of the National Honor Society of Leadership & Success during my time as Treasurer. I also enjoyed a late project in my academic career for an investment class where we had to pitch a stock to the Dean of the School of Management. This project was truly engaging and to this day it has influenced my approach to researching investments for clients.

Q: What is a long-term career or professional goal you have for yourself?
A: My long-term career goal is to make an impact in people’s financial lives and on our local communities as a whole. Spread financial literacy throughout Genesee County and help fuel this Flint Michigan comeback. This will take time and consistency but right now time is on my side.

Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: My proudest accomplishments are when I am able to input quantitative data into our financial planning software and present the results to the clients showing them that their hard work, savings discipline, and investing early in their life has paid off. The looks on their faces when they recognize they are able to retire comfortably, spend time with family, travel, and enjoy their hobbies is the best part of my job. I’ve learned in my few years in the industry that financial peace of mind is priceless.

Q: Fun Facts!
A: My bucket list includes a trip to Greece or Lebanon to visit the roots of my family tree.

BBA Alumnus turned Corporate Controller: May’s aMaizeing Alumni

Alumnus, Erik Sims graduated in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the School of Management. Erik received his MBA from Walsh in 2019. He recently began a new position at Ocuphire Pharma, Inc as their Director, Corporate Controller. As our featured Alumni of the month, Erik gives insight on why he went into finance/accounting, his interests in crypto, and more!

Q: Degree(s) and graduation year:
A: BBA – Finance in Dec 2012.

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: Ocuphire Pharma, Inc. – Director, Corporate Controller. Member of the management team, handle oversight of all accounting and finance activities for the company. 

Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree(s)?
A: It was close to home and has a great business school!

Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint?
A: I loved being able to meet and work with other students from the area, still have relationships with some of the people I met at UM-Flint.

Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
A: I have always liked numbers and so that was the motivation behind pursuing a finance degree. I ended up more on the accounting side in my career, but finance and accounting go hand in hand.

Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: Financial freedom, not having to live paycheck to paycheck and being able to really enjoy the career field that I chose.

Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in your field?
A: Look at job postings for positions you might be interested in post-college, work to gain experience or knowledge in the job skills that the position requires.

Q: Fun Facts!
A: I am really into cryptocurrency right now; I think it would be amazing to create my own crypto – super fun and interesting goal right?

Specialty Pharmacy Professional Reflects on MBA Experience: April’s aMaizeing Alumni

Alumnus, Mohamed Gothamy, received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the UM-Flint School of Management in 2015. Mohamed is a Manager of Specialty Pharmacy Services at Comprehensive Pharmacy Services. He oversees specialty pharmacy operations and works closely with reimbursement specialists from drug companies to secure financial assistance to patients in need.

As our featured Alumni of the month, Mohamed gives advice for students thinking about pursuing graduate school, why he went into the pharmacy field and his favorite memories about UM-Flint!

Q: Degree(s) and graduation year:
Bachelors of Pharmacy, Cairo University, 2008
MBA, University of Michigan-Flint, 2015
Doctor of Pharmacy, Shenandoah University, 2018

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 for Comprehensive Pharmacy Services. CPS is a national leader in providing Pharmacy solutions to independent hospitals, Healthcare systems, and specialized healthcare facilities. CPS partners with Memorial Healthcare in Owosso, MI to provide Specialty Pharmacy Services. In my role as Manager of Specialty Pharmacy Services, I supervise all aspects of specialty pharmacy operations that are offered to Memorial healthcare patients system-wide.

My daily tasks are diverse in nature and wide in scope. I hold meetings with practice managers, physicians, and medical assistants to expand specialty pharmacy services to their clinics and work with pharmaceutical companies to gain and maintain access to limited distribution drugs. Along with my team members, I also work with reimbursement specialists from those drug companies to secure financial assistance to patients in need. Staffing for the specialty pharmacy program is another core component of my daily routine to guarantee efficient workflow and a timely dispensing of those expensive medications to patients who need them.

With the guidance of our Director of Accreditation, our specialty program has achieved a dual specialty accreditation from ACHC and URAC. Maintaining both highly regarded certifications requires a lot of work to stay abreast of all quality metrics, hence, I chair the quality management committee to keep track of the quality of services provided. Meanwhile, I serve as the senior clinical leader of the specialty pharmacy program.

Q: Why did you choose UM-Flint for your degree(s)?
A: The University of Michigan name has a gravity to it. It’s synonymous with high academic standards coupled with a world-class education and offered by professors who are experts in their given fields. It was a privilege to be a graduate student at UM-Flint and learning from its esteemed faculty.

Q: What is one of your favorite experiences at UM-Flint?
A: I’ve had so many positive experiences, it’s hard to pick just one. I really enjoyed having one-to-one discussions with my professors to further enhance my understanding of the subject matter. The Recreation Center resources helped me stay fit at no extra cost. Utilizing the swimming pool along with cross-fit classes was such an advantage. The Thompson library’s extended hours allowed me to focus and complete my studies in a timely manner.

Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
A: Since a young age, I had a clear passion for medicine and chemistry. Pharmacy incorporated both and is also an applicable science. I see it in action affecting people’s health outcomes on daily basis.

Good management can make positive change that eventually benefits all stakeholders of any enterprise. I was deeply influenced by one of my professors of pharmacology who was an expert in his field and a gifted leader. When he became the dean of the school, I could see progress, vision and how good management can make an impact. Advancing my career to pursue pharmacy management is inspired by a vision of promoting positive outcomes in my own circle.

Q: What is one of your proudest accomplishments so far?
A: Choosing the best life partner. My wife is the biggest support I have. She stood by me every step of my career.

Q: What advice would you give students that are thinking of pursuing a career in your field?
A: Follow your passion and always understand, analyze and keep track of your market trends. Before you invest in a graduate degree, be true to yourself in outlining what you want to accomplish with that investment. Also, listen to people who have achieved what you strive toward, particularly those on the same path as you but 5-7 years ahead.

Q: Fun Facts!
A: I’m a committed Wolverine. I have U of M shirts, socks, pants, hats, gloves, hoodies, jackets, and notebooks. My son’s teddy bear has a Michigan shirt.

Kira Rouser BBA '16

Forecasting Her Future: February’s aMaizeing Alumni

By Alexis Menard on February 25, 2021 2:40 PM

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. 

Q: Fun Facts!
A:
I love interior design!   

Kayla Laird Alumni 2020

A Recent Grad’s Transition to a full-time Entrepreneur Operating Three Small Businesses: January’s aMaizeing Alumni

By Alexis Menard on January 29, 2021 4:55 pm

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. 

Kayla currently owns and operates three businesses full-time;  Lord Laird’s Premium Lemonade®, Queen Netzo Jewelry, and Mobars. In November, she won the Pitch 4K competition and is currently participating in another business pitch competition to try to win an additional $11,000. 

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
  • Challenge yourself
  • 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!

Alumnus returns to Wolverine State to progress Strategy Career: December’s aMaizeing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On December 22, 2020 2:15 pm

Skott Schoonover , BBA ’11

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!

Using Marketing Expertise in Commercial Real Estate: November’s aMaizeing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On November 24, 2020 12:00 pm

Monique Lawler (Roberts), BBA ’11

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 Finds a Passion in Customer Data Analytics at a UK-based Company: October’s aMaizeing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On October 26, 2020 2:30 pm

Gina Dillon, BBA ’13

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!

MBA Alumnus uses Financial Skills to Add Value to Post-Acute Care Company: August’s aMaizeing Alumni

By Alexis Menard On August 21, 2020 3:30 pm

McCoy Wilson, MBA ’14

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.