Experiential Learning Center – Kicking It Up A Notch

ELC1 Experiential Learning Center – Kicking It Up A Notch

Experiential Learning Center

This article like Bring It! Center – Charge Up and Refuel is part of Jakub’s Corner which is me the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business introducing and informing you on the various resources available on campus. This week we will be highlighting the Experiential Learning Center.

You might be asking yourself, what is the Experiential Learning Center? The NIU College of Business Experiential Learning Center or simply the ELC to those of us who are familiar with it connects teams of the very best students with accomplished executives. Over the course of a 16-week collaboration, NIU students apply their energies and talents to help solve cross-functional business issues. It is a terrific opportunity to apply the knowledge, skills, and theories that you have learned in the classroom to find real business solutions. That is exactly what draws me to the ELC, the idea that it gives you the opportunity to learn in a way that is different from the traditional classroom. You can do all the homework and take all the tests you want but nothing compares to real world experience.

Some highlights of the ELC are that you will earn 3 credit hours for participating, you will be given the opportunity to build your resume and develop a valuable skillset, you will receive professional coaching, and you will also be given exclusive access to cutting-edge lab technology and facilities. That’s right, you are earning credit in exchange for invaluable experience that will set you apart from the crowd. In addition, the ELC has partnered with such companies as McDonald’s, Caterpillar, McKesson Pharmaceutical, Abbott and many more. A handful of students have even received jobs as a result of participating on an ELC Team.

One of my biggest regrets in college thus far has been that I have not done an ELC Project. With that being said, Spring 2015 Projects have been revealed and applications are being accepted on a rolling basis so please don’t miss out on a truly life changing opportunity. Until next time, this is Jakub’s Corner.

Forget the A’s, College is about the B’s

Editor’s Note: Chloe Pooler is a junior Accountancy major with minors in Community Leadership & Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship. She is President of the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, an e-board member of CAUSE, heavily involved in the College of Business, Student Association, and formerly the residence halls as well. Chloe enjoys walks on the beach, the company of witty people, and jamming to good tunes.

Chloe Forget the As, College is about the Bs

Chloe Pooler, Junior Accountancy Major

 Forget the A’s, College is about the B’s

I myself am a very achievement oriented person. I need that grade, certificate, approving email, whatever, that validates my efforts in academics, in extra-curriculars, and professionally. I am very much about the “A’s” of school- literally, “A” grades, “A”wards, “A”chievement. Trust me, these are GREAT to strive for, but aren’t what college is about. College is the place for the “B”s.

Balance

Work hard, rest hard, play medium (enough to make college the best time of your life, not enough to sacrifice the work and rest).

Having near perfect grades and a packed resume are not worth losing your sanity over. It is important to remember to make time for yourself. No, not the for yourself like “I’m joining this sixth organization your my future,” I mean for yourself as in scheduled time to do yoga, run, play basketball, draw, journal- something you actually enjoy doing!

These activities are things you might have to literally schedule into your limited (perhaps non-existent) free time. Make them a priority and don’t sacrifice nonessential activities over your you-time! Constantly being at your wits’ end is not worth the stress that you can alleviate by making time spent on yourself important.

It’s true in the professional world and it’s true in your collegiate career- work/life balance is key. Don’t forget to recharge and periodically give your mind a break from all of the academia and extra-curricular craziness!

Building

You are never in a more perfect place to grow than in college. You are blessed to have so, so many resources at your fingertips, especially here at NIU! Electronic libraries, esteemed professors, successful alumni are all just a click of a mouse and “send” of an email away.

It is important to acknowledge that each of us have room to grow and the ability to build ourselves to be better professionals, leaders, and people. Take advantage of all of the organizations NIU and the College of Business has to offer. Going outside of your comfort zone, taking on a role you might not be entirely sure you can handle, and attending events with the intent to learn from them (not just get the Passport credit) will benefit you in many, many ways. Literally think to yourself, after doing something above and beyond, “how awesome am I going to look when I talk about this in an interview?”

Maybe you read that request to join something and take on a leadership role and yada yada and thought to yourself, “it’s just a point on my resume, I won’t get anything more out of it than that.” *Dwight Shrute voice* FALSE. Guess what else joining clubs gets you? A network of alumni who were in your same shoes however long ago.

College is a great time to build your network and connect with Huskie alum and the professionals/companies the COB brings in. Purposefully design and learn how to maintain your network at this prime time in your life.

Blunders

Blunder is a more fun word for mistake. Make mistakes this school year!! Don’t do so intentionally, but try something new or different and see where it leads you. You might be wrong! Making flashcards the day before a UBUS 310 Exam might not result in as good of a grade as when you actually did practice problems the weekend before. But hey, at least you went for it! Texting that girl from Rosy’s the next morning could end with no reply, or with a “Hey! The funny guy with the blue shirt!” You never know unless you try.

Plus, college is that weird age where you’re 100% responsible for your actions, but also people are forgiving, because you haven’t been in the professional adult world for long. It’s understood that you don’t know every little detail about how to do an audit or have all of the answers to the questions your professors ask, but it’s important to raise your hand and go for it anyway. A little humility can grow a person more than a lot of arrogance.

Realize, too, that everyone makes mistakes! Your peers, professors, and potential employers have all done something just as embarrassing or silly, and you can all laugh about it down the line after you’ve walked across the graduation stage, landed that dream job, and reminisce about the days on campus.

C for Conclusion

College isn’t all about Achievements and Awards and A+’s, though those are great; but so are balance and building and blunders. Striving for those A-things is important and having goals are key, but being sure to balancing work/life and taking time to breathe, building yourself professionally and as a leader and your network, and making mistakes and learning from them are all great things to focus on during your time in the COB.

Why NIU?: Choosing the Right College

Editor’s Note: A little more information about the author… Katie Zoellner is a senior Accountancy major with a double minor in Spanish and Economics.  She is involved in various College of Business organizations such as Delta Sigma Pi, Dean’s Scholars, and Beta Alpha Psi, where she serves as President Elect.  Outside the CoB, Katie is an active member of the Northern Ambassadors where she is proud to serve as one of the Student Coordinators.  In her spare time, she watches Disney movies, writes poetry, and takes naps whenever possible.  This is her first guest blog post, and she would like to thank her mom and sister for their help and feedback while writing it.  Go Huskies!

photo Why NIU?: Choosing the Right College

Katie Zoellner - Senior Accountancy Major at the NIU College of Business

Choosing a college to attend is hard; at least, for me it was.  Along with all the excitement my senior of high school year brought, it also brought the stress of applying to, visiting, and eventually deciding where I was going to spend my next 4+ years.  I applied to 10 (yes, really, 10) schools because I had absolutely no idea what I wanted out of my college experience.  I applied to schools that were big, small, public, private, urban, rural, in state, out of state – basically I tried to hit the whole spectrum, just to cover all my bases.

From the initial list of 10, I began narrowing my choices.  Eventually, I was down to three schools and was debating the pros and cons of all of them.  Northern wasn’t on that list.  I had applied on a whim, and the next day thought to myself “well I don’t want to go there…that was a waste of an application fee.”  Boy was I wrong.

After receiving a generous scholarship package, NIU was right up there on the list.  And I was terrified.  I was afraid NIU made the short list for all the wrong reasons.  I didn’t want to pick a school based purely on money, although it was a strong consideration.  I knew I couldn’t afford my quote on quote “dream school,” but I still had other schools I was thinking about.

After further consideration, I had narrowed my choices even further.  NIU and one other university were all that remained.  I visited campus on an Admitted Students Day, where I had the chance to get a campus tour and meet with representatives from NIU’s College of Business.  That day, I was fortunate enough to connect with an alumni presenter, Ralph Strozza, CEO of Interpro Translation Solutions, who was in the field I (at the time) wanted to pursue – translation.

This is where the scale began to tip in NIU’s favor – it was the right price, the right distance from home, housed fantastic academics, and I already felt valued by the CoB and connected to its alumni.

My mom then said to me something I will never forget:  “If you don’t like it, you can always transfer.”

This, to me, was an epiphany.  I was stuck in the mindset that the choice I made right then, as a high school senior, was going to determine the rest of my life (a bit dramatic, yes, but I was in high school – cut me some slack).  So I took a leap of faith and made the choice to come to NIU.  And that’s where the fun started.

College is an amazing opportunity to explore who you are and discover more about the wonderful world we live in.  Even though I wasn’t initially 100% sold on coming to NIU, I opened myself up to new experiences and gave it a chance.  I tried new things.  I made new friends.  I got involved in campus activities and organizations right away.  I was hooked.  I’m now in my senior year at NIU, with plans to graduate in May and then stick around for a while longer to complete my Master’s degree.  After that, I know I’ll be coming back to visit, because NIU is and forever will be my home.

If I hadn’t made the effort to transform NIU from “where I go to school” to “home,” I can almost guarantee that I would’ve transferred after a year.  And this is where I’ll circle back to the point I made at the beginning of this article:  choosing a school is hard.  There is no easy way to make that decision.

The best advice I can give is to choose a school where you feel that you can excel.  It doesn’t matter if this wasn’t your “dream school,” or if your best friend doesn’t go there too.  What makes or breaks your college experience is being in an environment that allows you to find and chase your passions.  The right school can help you do that.

Throughout my college career, I’ve learned that if you don’t like something, CHANGE IT.  This applies to life in general, but as far as college goes, if you’re unhappy at your school, look into other options.  Not every school is the right fit for every student.  But before you go and transfer, make sure you’re giving college a chance.  Try new things, meet new people, and if you’re not happy – move on.  Keep going until you find something you love.  Don’t remain stagnant.  Don’t wait for happy to come to you.  Go forth, find it, and refuse to settle for less.

The support I have felt from my Huskie family – my friends, my professors, and my fellow students – has helped me to grow both personally and professionally.  I’ve gone from a timid freshman to a confident senior who has a much clearer idea of what I want from my future.  NIU has helped me create my personal definition of happiness, and who knows?  It could help you do the same.

 

Bring It! Center – Charge Up and Refuel

Editor’s Note: This article was written to introduce and inform students on the various resources available to them on campus. This week we are highlighting the Bring It! Center, one of my personal favorite rooms on campus that not many people know about. – Jacob Ferguson, NIU College of Business Marketing and Social Media Intern

Bring It! Center

The Bring It! Center is a place for College of Business students to come together to study, collaborate on group projects and receive service, support and training with technology. In the center you will receive:

  • Help with the Anywhere Lab
  • Help with the Anywhere Printer
  • Help with Wi-Fi
  • Help with Password Resets
  • Help with NIU E-Mail

Location

The Bring It! Center is located near the Atrium in Barsema Hall Room 104.

Policies/Guidelines

  • The Bring It! Center will provide general support for any mobile device.
  • Food and drink are allowed on shared areas and each user is responsible for their own device and to keep the Bring It! Center clean.
  • The Bring It! Center does not provide support for desktops or any hardware repairs.
  • A waiver must be signed by students or faculty members before they can work on your device.
  • Mobile devices are not to be dropped off for repair.
  • No misconduct, including but not limited to arguments among group members, loud talking, loud music or any other distractions that disrupt the other groups or students studying.
  • Please be courteous to your fellow students.

Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Beautiful.

Editor’s Note: We asked students and staff alike, “If you encountered a new or returning student in a casual setting and began to talk about university life and NIU, what advice or encouragement would you give them?” One student decided to go above and beyond. Rachel McBride is a second year graduate student in the Masters of Nutrition and Dietetic Internship at NIU. She is currently a graduate research assistant for the Northern Illinois Food Bank and active CAUSE member. This is how she responded…

Rachel McBride 283x300 Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Beautiful.

Rachel McBride and NIU Alumnus Chris Leifel making pizzas for CAUSE.

Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Beautiful.

These are words of inspiration from my high school science teacher that have molded many of the decisions I have made in my collegiate career here at NIU.

Be Bold. Those of us in CAUSE might call this unreasonable. Don’t be afraid to stand out and stand up for what you believe in. The only way things change is when someone challenges the status quo. Find something to get involved in at NIU that will leave a lasting legacy. One way to do this is to be an active leader on campus through a student organization, as a CA, or in the Student Association. A leadership position will equip you with opportunities to be bold and inspire other students to make positive impacts at NIU.

Be Brave. Try new things! Even things that sound crazy weird and outside of your comfort zone. Who knows who you will meet and what adventures you could have. NIU has a lot to offer. For example, I am a nutrition student who took the Honors Microfinance Series offered by Mr. Barsema my junior year at NIU. I had no idea what microfinance was at the time (sounded pretty boring to me!), but this step into the unknown has changed my worldview and has inspired me to use the resources and skills I have been blessed with to help others who are less fortunate.

Be Beautiful. Your time at NIU will be a whirlwind of excitement with lots of awesome opportunities and stressful moments as finals approach. Remember to take some time to focus on you. You’ll spend a lot of time doing homework, working part-time jobs, and hanging out with friends. It is important to take time to relax, reflect, and decompress. Having a balance of work and play will help you enjoy your time at NIU and to be successful.

I hope you find these words as an encouragement to stand out, do some unreasonable things, and exude confidence while you are paving your way at NIU.

Can I Get a Little Advice?

Editor’s Note: We asked students and staff alike, “If you encountered a new or returning student in a casual setting and began to talk about university life and NIU, what advice or encouragement would you give them?” This is how they responded…

Students:

“Involvement. It’s a word we all hear, especially on and around campus. “Get involved”, everyone says. “It makes college much better and sets you up better for your future”. Many people say these things – and they are right. Over the past 2 years, I have been involved with a multitude of on campus activities, clubs, and jobs. I started by joining a few organizations until I found what I really wanted to do, and everything just took off from there. I was a part of a research program unlike any other in the country. This past summer, I was able to travel to The Netherlands and to Spain on two separate study abroad programs. Because of my involvement on campus, opportunities began to appear more and more frequently. Even if you do not think you would like being involved, I would highly encourage everyone to join at least one club or organization. It will make you feel more attached to NIU, which will become more than just a place where you take classes. It can become so much more, and the first step is involvement on campus. If there’s one thing to take away, it’s this: get involved now and you will thank yourself later.” – Jeff Kamholz, Junior Marketing Major

“My biggest recommendation to any incoming student is to not be afraid of the unknown. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the person next to you. This person could easily become your best friend on campus, and if you never say hi, you can miss out on that opportunity. Also, it is with this individual that you will build study groups with that will help you meet more people and  ultimately WILL help to improve your grades. This will also give you a strong support system that you can use for all your issues in college because there is almost always someone who has experienced what you are dealing with. Lastly, do not be afraid to talk to your professors, they are some of the most knowledgeable people on the campus and they are way cooler than you think. They have limitless stories and experiences that will help you with your studies and life. All in all, do your best to step outside your comfort zone, you never know what it can bring you!” – Marc Fasshauer, Senior Finance Major

Professors:

“If you got into NIU, you belong at NIU. If you belong at NIU, prove it to yourself by performing academically the way YOU know and WE know you can!” – Bill McCoy, Director of the BELIEF Program

“Engage, engage, engage! Be curious and ask lots of questions. Look for opportunities and seize them!” – Christine Mooney, Associate Professor of Management

“Get good at saying “No”.  You are going to get pulled in a lot of directions, and if you say “yes” to everything, you will fail to have the time to do the really important things that are your priorities.  Saying “No” is really saying “Yes” to your priorities”.  – Dennis Barsema, Instructor of Management

 

Summer Internship Experience: For-Profit Edition

Editor’s Note: With the summer just finishing up and the NIU Internship/Full-time Job Fair just around the corner we wanted to highlight students and their internship experiences. In this two part series we will highlight two students, one who interned with a for-profit company and another who interned with a nonprofit company. By highlighting these two sectors we hope to give students different perspectives so that when it comes time for them to make the decision of their own they’re better prepared.

Hello! My name is Luis Sandoval and I am a senior double majoring in Management Information Systems and Applied Mathematics.  I am also double minoring in Marketing and Computer Science.  I was originally an accounting student but quickly found out that I really didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life.  It did not seem interesting to me but rather static. In addition, I also felt that there wasn’t much room for personal innovation and that did not align with what I envisioned for my future.

I have had the great opportunity to intern with AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company, for the past two summers. The summer of 2013, I took on the role of a Business Systems Analyst and worked with the company on enhancing the overall performance and user experience of an international financial planning tool. At the end of my internship I had the opportunity to present my results in front of the project steering committee. This past summer, I took on the role of a developer and built an interface that allowed for the communication of an external and internal systems. During both summers I worked within a team, that’s just how the business world is.

Over the past two summers, I really developed my leadership, communication, teamwork and professional skills. I learned to put myself out there by simply putting myself out there. It may have been uncomfortable but I managed to overcome that. I was able to put myself in situations (networking, pitches, one-on-ones with directors and management, etc.) until it became more familiar to me rather than uncomfortable. That naturally allowed me to develop the skills listed above. I ultimately learned to put myself out there and I got used to being comfortable in uncomfortable and new situations.

I definitely did not have a good grasp on everything all the time. However, I asked tons of questions and did many hours of personal research outside of work. I feel that’s what everyone should do. You can’t just wait and expect for things to come to you. I am grateful to say that I will be starting full time with AbbVie in their IT Development Program in January.

Summer Internship Experience: Nonprofit Edition

Editor’s Note: With the summer just finishing up and the NIU Internship/Full-time Job Fair just around the corner we wanted to highlight students and their internship experiences. In this two part series we will highlight two students, one who interned with a for-profit company and another who interned with a nonprofit company. By highlighting these two sectors we hope to give students different perspectives so that when it comes time for them to make the decision of their own they’re better prepared.

Entrepreneurs 2 300x270 Summer Internship Experience: Nonprofit Edition

NIU Business Student Kerrian Miller and Co-Founder and Director at Human Connections Elly Rohrer posing for a picture with a local artisan.

Hello! My name is Kerrian Miller, I am a sophomore Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship student in the College of Business. This past summer I was fortunate enough to intern as the Marketing and Media NGO intern in Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico. Three of the goals I set for myself when coming to NIU were to always challenge myself, enjoy what I’m doing, and gain real-world experience. While interning at Human Connections I was able to reach these goals and accomplish much more.

I interned at Human Connections, a non-profit organization that works with low-income artisans and tradespeople in the beautiful town of Bucerías, Nayarit, Mexico. They offer tours showcasing the artisan’s to locals and tourists. The tourists are able to gain a better perspective on the culture and appreciate the hard work that goes into sustaining a small business. The profits from the tour and donations are used to compensate the artisans shown on the tour and provide community classes for clients and their communities.

I had an amazing experience working at Human Connections. I learned so much in the short six weeks I was there. It was great to gain experience in consulting, marketing, and non-profit organizational leadership. This internship helped me to gain a better understanding of non-profits, immerse myself in a different culture, and it exposed me to people with such different stories. I was continuously learning, taking on new tasks, and being a positive contributor.

While interning for Human Connections, I helped create the strategic marketing plan. I loved offering creative and innovative ideas toward marketing material that would help us reach as many people as possible. Working on the website content and layout was very interesting. I had the opportunity to act as a marketing and financial consultant with many artisans and working with them was a very humbling experience. They were always very welcoming and appreciative. Towards the end of my internship I was creating marketing material for a client named Francisco. I know that he was grateful to have a new way to market his products and make tourist understand the work that goes into his craft. I left Mexico knowing that what I did made a difference in the lives of our clients.

Overall, being an intern this past summer has taught me to really think about where I want my career to go and to work diligently towards it. I now think about working internationally or for a non-profit organization. My interest in non-profits, social enterprises, and entrepreneurship has really grown. It was an amazing learning opportunity. I had such a great time working with students from universities from all over the country. Being an intern has made me realize how much I’m capable of. There was never a moment where I felt like I wasn’t doing something worthwhile. Human Connections is so invested in the artisans, tradespeople, and small business owners we work with. I have so much respect and appreciation for the team and work done at Human Connections. I know that having that experience will lead me towards more new and exciting opportunities.

Score a FREE Lunch!! (Contest Details)

If you are an NIU Business major (freshman through senior levels) and if you like food (especially when it’s free!) AND if you want an opportunity to meet other students and the NIU Business Dean in a relaxed setting, then this is the contest for you.

Follow the instructions (below) and you may win a free lunch!  Not only that, but you’ll have fun, meet some new friends, chat with NIU Business Dean Denise Schoenbachler, and maybe even learn something new about ways to make the most of your time at NIU!

“Score a FREE Lunch” Contest Instructions

  1.  Send an email to jacobiferguson@yahoo.com and include this information:
    1. Make the email subject:  “Score a Free Lunch Contest”
    2. In the body of your email, provide:  your name, your declared NIU Business major, and your academic year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior).
    3. Please also briefly share “Why I Chose NIU.”  (There’s no right or wrong answer to this!  We just love learning more about you!)
  2. Send your email no later than WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 10th!  In order to be eligible your email must adhere to all of the contest instructions listed here.

Winner Selection and Announcement Details

Contest entries will be grouped by academic class (NIU Business:  Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior).  Winners will be randomly selected from each academic class and notified via email on Friday, September 12th.  The email notification will include more specific information about the free lunch and will be sent to the winners by jacobiferguson@yahoo.com .

Any questions?  Lemme know in the comments section!  If not, well, then GO! and fill out the contest instructions!

 

And the Journey Begins…

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NIU College of Business Marketing and Social Media Intern - Jacob Ferguson

Hello! My name is Jacob Ferguson and I am a senior Operations Management and Information Systems (OM&IS) major here at Northern Illinois University. Before we get started I would just like to thank all of the previous interns and authors particularly the most recent one, Rob Willer, for all their hard work and their dedication to making this blog the best that it can be. The goal of this post is to give you a brief introduction to myself and to inform you on the direction that we at College of Business plan to take the Student Voices Blog this year.

I graduated from Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois in May of 2011 with dreams of going to college and my eyes set on one school, Northern Illinois University. One of my main missions since entering Northern Illinois University has been to leave it a better place than when I started and to enjoy myself as much as possible along the way. I think I have managed to accomplish at least one of those in my time here thus far. Furthermore, I am involved in such organizations as Delta Sigma Pi, CAUSE (Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs) and the Dean’s Student Advisory Board which I believe have all helped me to make tremendous strides in achieving the two goals mentioned above.

At the end of the day a lot has changed since beginning my time here at Northern Illinois University and it hasn’t always been good. I plan to be transparent in my posts and will try to give you a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to this place that most of us call home for four some odd years. Topics will be selected by students and we will focus heavily on guest posts to give you different perspectives. This blog is written for students and by students.

Go Huskies!