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Distinguished Donor Spotlight

May 2017:  Martin “Marty” Oosterbaan


Marty Oosterbaam
Dean's Circle Member

NIU College of Business Alumnus, Martin “Marty” Oosterbaan reconnected with his alma mater when his oldest daughter, Karli, decided to attend NIU. Marty got back on campus and had a chance to see what was going on academically and began to support the College of Business. Since then he has served on the Department of Finance Board of Executive Advisors, started a scholarship for prospective students, and his latest endeavor has brought significant experiential learning to the mock interview process for finance students.

“There is a thing I like to say, something I heard a priest say years ago,” Marty shares. “He said, ‘you measure your giving by your calendar as much as by your check book.’ I try to live by that. The rewards that come back to you when you take that approach are amazing.”

Marty isn’t the only one reaping the rewards. Through the Martin J. And Janet Oosterbaan Expendable Scholarship Fund in Finance, students who would not have been able to attend NIU without monetary scholarships—and sometimes first-generation college students—have been impacted by the support of Marty and his wife, Janet, for the last four years.

Most recently, 11 students boarded a Huskie bus to Chicago for an “as real as you can get” mock interview. Marty and three other newly minted NIU alumni drove the project. “There was a consensus in the department and within the advisory board that the mock interview process could be improved. What we did was to bring the traditional mock interview to a whole new level,” says Marty.

Conventionally, students met with business executives face-to-face on campus in Barsema Hall. During the first trial run with 11 top performing students, the main objective was to host the mock interviews at a business—providing a critical and impactful experiential learning experience for the many students who had never set foot in a business environment. “Hosting the interviews at the company gave a different vibe to the experience and elicited a more professional reaction,” explains Marty. “Students took it more seriously, researching the company and the interviewer, along with putting their best foot forward. When taken off their home turf, they felt a stronger inclination to be more polished and prepared.”

Students were also given the task of navigating downtown Chicago and finding the company on their own. “The bus dropped them all off at the same spot and it was up to them to find their interview location. This is all training for a real interview,” explains Marty. As a bonus, students were given tours of the NIU Chicago office and the Chicago Board Options Exchange.

With the help of fellow alumni leading the effort, and those alumni who opened their doors and performed the mock interviews, students rode the bus home that day having been through an exceptional interview practice run. Going forward, each semester, more finance students will have this opportunity.

Now retired from his Regional Casualty Executive role at AIG, Marty enjoys working with NIU, photography, writing, and rehabbing his new kitchen. Marty and Janet have a new residence in the small town of Culver, Indiana. To stay connected with their four children (three of which attended NIU), the couple maintains a condominium in the Chicago western suburbs.

To host a student and participate in the next mock interview process, please contact Marty Oosterbaan.