Happy New Year Alumni & Friends!

We are kicking off this year energized and focused to align the College of Business goals with those of President Baker's. During his inauguration address, President Baker cited his primary initiative as "Student Career Success." This includes providing world-class learning experiences that prepare exceptional students for not only their careers—but life, a mentor for every NIU student, internship opportunities for students seeking one, and job placement within 6 months of graduating.

I am pleased to share that we are already doing many things in line with these objectives. The College of Business is recognized for our Experiential Learning Center (ELC), where students tackle real-world business problems. In the last two years we launched the College of Business Career Compass and Passport programs which first guides students to the right major and career path, and then provides valuable out of the classroom experiences to enhance their professional and life skills. Ranked third nationally by Businessweek, our BELIEF (Building Ethical Leaders using an Integrated Ethics Framework) program builds ethical leaders, friends, and citizens of our communities. And our departments all have strong academic and internship advisors providing outstanding guidance in these areas.

I am proud of our accomplishments, but we can do more. I will be working with faculty and staff to bring greater attention to these important goals. We will strive to provide stronger experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, offer countless real-world, hands-on immersion opportunities, and explore various avenues to connect with alumni who generously enrich the students' experiences and provide internships and job opportunities. We will position ourselves within the business community to increase the percentage of students obtaining internships and work closely with alumni and partners to secure jobs for our graduates looking for one in their area of study.

This is unmistakably a period of change and an opportunity for momentum at NIU and within the College of Business. Our students have access to exceptional faculty and YOU...outstanding alumni and many who remain in the Chicagoland area. In fact 80% of College of Business alumni reside in Chicagoland, city or suburbs. This is an asset to the college as many of you visit campus to be a part of our students' success. THANK YOU!

As we work to prepare our students for their intended career with the aptitude and zest for their field, I ask that you find an opportunity to take part in NIU's Student Career Success. It may be as small as offering your time to give feedback to a student interviewing in your area of business, or taking time to network with recent graduates via social media and friends. You may also find yourself in the position to mentor, provide an internship, or a job to a Huskie. I invite you to be a part of NIU's vision for a bold future — contact us today!

Peace and prosperity to you in 2014!

Denise D. Schoenbachler, Ph.D.
Dean, NIU College of Business

Student Career Success: The Role Alumni Can Play
Contributor: Cassandra Young

"There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up."
  ~ John Holmes 

The New Year is a great time to reflect and contemplate the successes in your life. It's also a great time to determine how you can give back and help others, specifically College of Business students. If living a charitable life is one of your objectives for 2014, we have a number of ways you can achieve your goals.

  • Mentor
    If you're interested in helping out NIU students one-on-one, the Huskie2Huskie program is the opportunity for you. Mentoring can be a rewarding experience and it's your chance to share valuable insight with one or a few students. It's also your chance to develop students' interpersonal, communication and professional skills, while you discover future employees or referrals, and build your own network.

    If interested, contact the Alumni & Corporate Relations office.

  • Provide Internships
    You can also provide internship or co-op experiences. Working outside of campus gives students the "competitive edge" by providing real-world experiences. Participating employers build a pool of tested and proven job candidates for new openings. Internships and co-ops are a win-win situation in which both students and employers benefit.

    If interested, contact the Alumni & Corporate Relations office.

  • Support an ELC Project
    The Experiential Learning Center (ELC) connects organizations with teams of NIU students to tackle real-world business issues. From software evaluation to emerging market analysis projects, alumni can support students who serve as consultants addressing non-mission critical, cross functional business issues.

    Throughout the 16-week semester, ELC teams are guided by a faculty coach and assisted by an organizational sponsor. To each unique project, teams apply the ELC project methodology, as well as the knowledge, skills and theories learned in the classroom.

    Learn more

Read entire story to learn about opportunities to network, recruit students, and provide financial aid and/or scholarships.

Volunteers Needed!
The nationally-ranked BELIEF Ethics Program is looking for alumni to serve as judges for the annual NIU Ethics Case Competition on Friday, February 21 from 8am - 3pm at Barsema Hall. All instructions will be provided for participants on the day of the event. Please contact Dr. William McCoy at 815-753-7807 or wmccoy@niu.edu by Friday, February 7 to confirm your interest.

Your contribution is important to us and the business students at NIU.
There are a number of ways you can help. Pick one that fits you.

NIU Alumni Representing their Corporation to Support NIU Students
Contributor: Michele Kaczka

There are many companies which contribute to the career success of students in the College of Business. They offer support by hiring students, offering internships, supporting student organizations, as well as hosting department and college functions, serving on advisory boards and engaging students in the classroom as guest speakers. There are some companies which have an additional resource that supports our students' success — a corporate representative, who is also an NIU alumnus. These NIU alumni share both personal success stories as well as some of the challenges that they have had in their own career. This advice, coming from industry professionals who were once NIU students, continues to be invaluable to current NIU students.

Mike Varon - Aerotek
Aerotek is a company that is highly visible on the NIU campus. NIU alumnus, Mike Varon, the VP of Business Development with Aerotek, reflects upon his own NIU experience when he returns to campus for speaking and career events. "It's an opportunity for me to examine where I have been and where I am now," he says.

Mike finds visits to the classroom invigorating on both a personal and professional level. He puts his believe to action that "you get more out of life by helping others get what they want." Mike explains, "Giving to the students is great way to help them learn about the business world and the incredible opportunities they have in front of them.  To help them make a difference in the lives of others and their own careers." From a business perspective, being active in the classroom allows Mike to connect with the students, identify what is important to them, and identify the trends coming down the pipeline.

Andrew Gorski - CDW
It is important for Andy Gorski, a Solutions Manager for CDW, to return to his Huskie roots in all ways possible. He is a member of the NIU Sales Advisory Board and a frequent participant and guest speaker at College of Business events.

Positioned in a stressful situation less than a year into his first job after graduation, Gorksi contacted one of his former NIU professors, Dr. Rick Ridnour, for some career advice. It was then that he discovered "just because you graduate does not mean that you are out of the NIU family." Now Gorski pays it forward by supporting students with his continued involvement with the College of Business Sales Program through CDW. Not only does this benefit his company by recruiting top students, Gorski can fulfill his personal goal of supporting his lifelong NIU family.

Interested in being your company's representative? Contact businessalumni@niu.edu today!

Career Success for Alumni —
Discovering Yourself is Key and Music May be the Path

Contributor: Cassandra Young

I sat down with Jeff Carroll, Director of Leadership Development in our Accountancy Department, to discuss Student Career Success and how alumni can benefit. Many of the things he shares with Accountancy graduate students in the classroom transfer over to anyone looking for a job. Whether it's your first job out of school or your third career change, Carroll takes a simple and unique approach to career success.

Q [Young]: What do you think the biggest problem is today in not developing career success?

A [Carroll]: I think there's a lot of career illiteracy out there. People have a tendency to "drift" into their jobs by accident with any real strategy.  Job seekers who are the most successful get (re)engaged and take charge of their career. We need to radically change the way we think about our careers in the 21st century. Today, our careers need to be our business. Stated in a different way, it is "Me, Inc." and we need to invest in our careers in intentional ways so they will grow in value. The first step any job seeker needs to do is to (re)discover their brand.

Q: What do you mean?

A: First, you have to ask yourself: Who am I? What's my value proposition in the marketplace? Then, you need to be able to articulate it clearly...in plain understandable English and not a smattering of acronyms. How do you want to be perceived by others? What can you offer that people want to buy? Today, companies – regardless of their size or industry – don't buy "titles."  Rather, they want to invest in people who can solve problems and/or create solutions leveraging their unique brand. As a fellow radio co-host once said, "You might have to go on a personal recognizance mission!"

For example, let's say you want to start your own photography business because of your skill to take wonderful pictures; however, you realize you have poor accounting skills and a weak business sense. You need to acknowledge that about yourself so you can make some sound career decisions. Based on this insight, you may consider opting for teaching photography or becoming a staff member in someone else's studio in the short run to learn these other aspects of running a business and then launch your own photography business.  Or, given the trade-offs, maybe you are perfectly content in working for someone else.  There is no right or wrong here, it just a matter of fit.

Q: How do you find out more about yourself?

A: One of the ways I help others discover themselves is through the energy and lyrics of music. Think of some of your favorite songs and jot down the lines that really speak to you. Why are the lyrics impactful? What resonates with your personality or your career journey to date? What thoughts or images come to mind as you listen and reflect? Now, write it down!  Give it a try and you'll be amazed at the insights.  For example, in the song "Lyin' Eyes" by The Eagles, there is a line that says, "every form of refuge has a price" which is pretty profound and relevant to all careerists in this marketplace.

Q: What about those who are changing careers?

A: Over 80% of professionals have experienced "being-in-transition" since the early 1980's.  I know many have wished they could have avoided it, but for most it provided time to take a career inventory of their strengths, passions, skills and accomplishments.  Once that is done, individuals are in a much better position see how they might "pivot" their career into a new area, organization or industry.  The key here is to really understand the totality of your brand and how you might leverage that in different ways– both traditional and non-traditional. A career revival process with individuals wanting to change careers is: get real, get ready, get rockin', get rollin', get goin'.

Read entire interview to learn what's the next step and how to get there.

For more information, go to Jeff's blog at: careerrevivaltour.tumblr.com

You can contact Jeff at: jeffcarroll16@gmail.com.


Vol. 3, Issue 1          January  2014


February 13, 2014
Leading Change and Innovation through Human Capital
NIU Naperville

February 20, 2014
Rockford Club Networking Event

February 24, 2014
The Business of Sports
NIU Hoffman Estates Campus

March 6, 2014
Cindy Crocker Program for Emerging Business Leaders
Invitation only

April 22, 2014
SpearMC Consulting Business Social
Rosemont, IL

May 2, 2014
Alumni Luncheon
Harry Caray's, Lombard

Other Upcoming Events
• Rockford Club Golf Outing
• Distinguished Donor Event
• Accountancy Reunion

For details or to register

In February's Edition:
Scholarships - what they are, who is receiving them, and how you can create your own named scholarship.

Dean's Circle members are those alumni, family and friends who help financially support NIU by giving $1,000 - $4,999 annually.
Learn more

View College of Business
Dean's Circle Members

(as of 11/30/13)

View College of Business President's Circle Members
(as of 11/30/13)

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