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

 

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!

 

Taking Initiative in College

As we transition into the week before Spring Break I wanted to take the time to discuss leadership roles. A leader is classified as a person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. No matter the project or organization, I encourage you to take on a leadership role at least once before you graduate college. It’s one of the most rewarding things you will do as an undergraduate and it’s something you will learn so much about yourself.

To relate this back to here at NIU we are given certain opportunities to take on leadership roles. Some examples that come to mind are group projects throughout the Upper Level of Business Courses, student organizations, internships and even jobs on campus. It’s something that you can’t really describe. It’s a moment of control yet you can see others grow with you. A perfect example is certain organizations here on campus where they just start off with a few members and then grow to 20 members. We always talk about boosting our resumes with these positions but the idea of running your organization is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. In my personal experience I ran our Tennis Club here at Northern Illinois University and I learned so much about myself by dealing with conflicts and hardships. The idea of playing a sport in high school and being able to follow my dreams of playing in college was one of the reasons I took on the role. Some of things involved with this role were taking meeting minutes, having everyone register for USTA, booking hotels and holding practices. I am so grateful for this role because it got me involved in other organizations and even farther along with the Sports Club Council. Now after last year being the President of Tennis, I have been elected to serve on a board of seven members where we distribute budgets for 30 clubs. One leadership role makes your life so much more entertaining and gives you that sense of urgency you need in the business world. Leadership Roles do show employers that you can manage multiple things besides academics but also help you build your own skills in communication and leadership.

Now my boss has asked me to lead a focus group – from identifying the participants, creating the framework, facilitating it to preparing a written and verbal report.  This is new ground for me…but I look forward to taking on the challenge!

“Getting outside your comfort zone.”

Over the course of my 2.5 years here at NIU I have had been faced with challenges. One of these challenges happened my freshman year. As I arrived on campus I feared that school would be too much to handle and I wasn’t going to enjoy my time here at NIU. Over the course of my first semester I gained valuable insight throughout my classes and eventually made some great friends here at NIU. As the next semester hit I began to step outside my comfort zone by joining my first student organization. This student organization is called Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honors Society which is an honors society composed of sophomores that spend a year together by meeting bi-weekly.  This organization is a great avenue for freshman as it gives you the chance to interview for acceptance into the organization. When I say it’s a great avenue I really mean it because it prepares you for a real life interview. Throughout my time in the organization I had the opportunity to make lifelong friends, helped the community through service events and even got to take a leadership role my junior year as a Junior Advisor. This in turn changed me from the shy person who is closed minded to the person who I am today. It’s not a question anymore of “who is going to be there” but instead it is “I’ll see you there.”

Getting involved has always been a challenge for me but once I found something I was able to join the rest is history. My main message I want to convey with this topic is don’t be afraid to jump outside your comfort zone. It’s an interesting idea to think about how that one organization can change you as a person but for me it really did. After Lambda Sigma I transitioned into my next organization NIU Club Tennis. This organization had its own challenges to start off with mainly being an actual club. Over the course of the year I was faced with a few issues involving committed members, not having a budget and lack of knowledge on how to run a club. It not only was a great learning experience but it gave me the chance to overcome challenges and help better run our club.

 

Time Management

            Time Management is an interesting topic for students and I felt I should share some of my personal experiences in the matter. Over my first two years as a Northern Illinois Business Student I have learned some strategies to help with time management. My freshman year like most students was an adjusting period from the likes of no finals and AP classes in high school to 250 person lecture halls and an array of general education courses.  The idea of balancing work and fun has always been a tough one for me personally. Over my first semester I felt that I had to focus solely on school which is still very true but I felt I was missing out on exploring other avenues on campus. This became evident where I saw my friends get involved in student organizations, athletics, and social fraternities/sororities.

            The key for most students is to find the balance between studies and getting involved throughout campus. There are some instances where students get way to involved in the sense where they don’t have time for their studies or even just to get a good night of sleep. In reality as a student this is an unhealthy lifestyle due to certain key aspects of your life that you’re neglecting such as studies, regularly eating and even sleep. Personally my first organization/club I joined was club tennis which is offered as a sports club through the recreation center on campus. At first, I was very timid since I wasn’t sure how much time I would be able to commit to the club each week. As the first week went on I saw two categories of people throughout the tennis club. There was the person that was very devoted to the club and was a regular at practice and notified the club if they were going to be late or unable to make it. In addition, there was the person that only studies and doesn’t join organizations or enjoy certain aspects of college such as athletics, homecoming, networking with alumni.

As I entered my sophomore year I started to find that balance when I took over the NIU Tennis Club here at Northern. It gave me the chance to make something my own and the ability to reshape the club for future success. There were many challenges along the way in terms of funding, reliability among members and lack of players but overall a great experience. It will play an important role as I develop even more skills for future job interviews and internships.  It gave me the opportunity to take a leadership role here as a sophomore and paved the way for success in such roles as I continued my education. At some points throughout the year it did become an issue when it came to time. One week I might have three tests and a few projects the next nothing at all. The key for this situation was to somehow balance all of my school work and time devoted to tennis. I then joined organizations NIU Cause and Lambda Sigma which created a nice balance of the honors program, athletics and something with in the College of Business.

Now as you can see I didn’t really start to get involved on campus until Sophomore Year. What I recommend for freshman to do once they are on campus. The most important event to attend as a freshman is the Involvement Fair during the first weekend on campus.  The fair gives every student organization on campus a voice and the opportunity to tell incoming freshman what they do and when they meet. The idea that there are over 300 student organizations on campus is unbelievable it’s something you can’t get at a community college or just any college. There are fraternities and sororities that are social and classified as business professional. There are over 30 sports club here at Northern Illinois all the way from Bass Fishing to Roller Hockey. Just in the College of Business alone there are 28 student organizations across the six majors in the college. My message to all students is to get involved it’s been one of the most rewarding things I have done here at Northern Illinois University. At first it doesn’t have to be a big commitment it can resemble my story where I picked up my tennis racket and showed up to tennis club. Our student leaders and members of these student organizations on campus are all great people and have shown great leadership skills for taking on the roles they hold. There are only four years here at NIU and believe me they go very quick. In the fall of 2011 I was in all of your shoes as I have mentioned above a freshman looking to get involved with student organizations. In my mind there is no harm checking out these student organizations. They can only benefit you as time move forwards with the network you build for future job interviews and lasting friendships that should last a lifetime.

Stay Tuned: for a Guest Post by Rachel McBride a Graduate Student here at Northern Illinois University. She will be taking a look back on her time spent in Tanzania over the summer and what she has learned about the culture and lifestyle.

Creating Your Own Path

This next post is written by Marek Swierczewski, a Senior Marketing Major at the NIU College of Business.Marek 224x300 Creating Your Own Path

When I first came into NIU I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. On one hand my whole life I’ve spent obsessing about cars and racing which led me to believe engineering was the right course of action.  On the other, I’ve already taken business and economics classes in High School and was set to go into management or marketing in college. I chose to go into marketing, but I had another dilemma on my hands; how to get involved? There are a lot of great organizations in the marketing department, like the American Marketing Association or the Collegiate Sales Advisory Board, but none really seemed to fit me. It so happened that my dilemma was solved by my brother attending Cornfest at the DeKalb airport my freshman year.

While at Cornfest my brother ran across the NIU Motorsports Formula team. The team designs, creates, and races a formula style car every year. Well, my brother told me about them and I attended the informational meeting where I found out that a big portion of the competition is a marketing presentation, I was hooked instantly. This was a way for me to take part in both of my passions simultaneously.

Engineering Car 1024x768 Creating Your Own Path

"I was hooked instantly"

It so happened that the team never had a dedicated marketing person on their team, they’ve never even had a business major on the team; I was the first. After some time I realized that there’s a huge business portion to the team that most members don’t even pay attention to. Biggest of all is the sponsorships, the team runs completely with money from sponsors so it is imperative that all members learn how to deal with potential sponsors. I have focused a lot of my time on teaching each member how to deal with potential sponsors and how to properly approach a sponsor. But the biggest part of my job is selling the car and the whole organization to a panel of potential investors in a mock selling scenario at competition at the end of the year. I’ve had to learn all about marketing plans, selling, finance, even production plant layout to be able to market our team as the best investment against over 100 different universities from around the world.

I am on my fourth year with the team right now, I am the head of the marketing department and am currently in charge of recruitment for the team, and I enjoy it more now than ever. The team has given me a way to practice my skills in marketing in an automotive environment which has lead me to realize the perfect career path for me. I am dedicated to join the racing industry as a sponsor relationship manager, and it is because of my four years on the team actually going out and doing what I am learning in my marketing and sales classes that I have been able to truly find my perfect career. If there is one thing that my experiences with the team have taught me is that there are many different ways to put what you learn in a classroom to work. Don’t limit yourself to just taking classes, go out, find what you are truly passionate about, and get involved, it is by far the best way to spend your years in college.

Hidden Treasures

Figuratively, there are dozens of hidden treasures sprinkled into the NIU experience.  These “hidden treasures” are the opportunities that you have to seek out.  They are the opportunities that aren’t always announced in your classes or sent to your zmail.  They are some of the most rewarding activities you can do, but they are often overlooked or unknown to many students.  I will describe a few of my own “treasures” and welcome all of you to share more of your own.  After all, we’re not just here for the classes are we?!  College is an experience.  Make it one!

All my life I always loved exploring.  Biking, hiking, and venturing off into nature preserves was always my thing.  Unfortunately, I could never really find a place where students like me could get together to do these activities.  It was by sheer luck that one day while working out at the recreation center, I walked out the wrong door.  Unbeknownst to me, this door led straight to the NIU Outdoor Adventures office.  Upon entering the room my eye caught the bulletin boards with listings for rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking trips and more!  Only a few weeks later I was signed up to go backpacking for a week in the Smoky Mountain National Forest in Tennessee.  The trip was a defining point of my college experience, if not my life in general.

Appalachian Trail 300x175 Hidden Treasures

An experience unlike any other.

I highly recommend that students look into the opportunities that the Outdoor Adventures office provides.  http://www.niu.edu/campusrec/outdoor_adventures/index.shtml

Another experience that is more academic in nature was my involvement with the College of Business Experiential Learning Center.  Don’t let the title fool you!  You do not have to be a student of the College of Business to participate.  In fact, during my own ELC project, I worked with students from the visual arts program as well as special education.  What the ELC does is quite special.  Students go through an application process and are handpicked by faculty advisors to work on a team.  This team of students will then be presented with a non mission critical issue for a real world company.  After working for an entire semester, teams will present their findings to their client company where  C-level executives will be present.  Many times students will receive job offers from their client company.  Even without an offer, the ELC provides students with a valuable talking point in interview conversations and more importantly, a taste of the real world.  http://www.cob.niu.edu/elc/index.asp

ELC 300x224 Hidden Treasures

I shared the experience with exceptional students and networked with high level executives of my client company.

What are some “hidden treasures” that you’ve found in your NIU experience? Post to our Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NIUCollegeofBusiness or write a guest post for the Student Voices blog at http://www.cob.niu.edu/studentvoices/index.php/guest-posts/. 2.0out