Inspired Peers of NIU Business
Phillip Wilson, om&is major
"Junior operations and information management major Phillip Wilson of Chicago, IL, had a different start to his college career, due to the influence of his mother. Wilson went to work immediately after graduating from high school and was successful in his job, making good money. But even with this success, his mother continued to push him to enroll in college and to pursue the path of a higher education. 'I thought I’d come out here and be a middle of the road student,' Wilson said. He hadn’t excelled in high school and had mediocre grades. But things are different for him at NIU. 'I didn’t think I’d be getting a 3.4-grade point average and joining honor societies.' He maintains a high grade point average and is going to be a mentor for incoming freshman through the John Henrik Clarke Honor Society. If it wasn’t for his mother, Wilson admits that he would have probably stayed where he was, doing the job he was working at, for the next 50 years. His mother is happy to point this out to Wilson. 'She brings it up as much as she can,' he said. 'She drops it in every conversation.'”
Amanda Zierden, marketing major
“Hard work pays off, if you really want something you’re going to work towards it. It may be rough, but you have to follow through because it will be worth it in the end.”
Jacquelyn Schueler, om&is major
“Well, I am a junior OM&IS major. When I first came to NIU I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I eventually found the College of Business and became an undeclared business major for a while. Then I chose Finance. It only took a few weeks for me to realize that number crunching was not exactly what I wanted to do. And that is when I made the switch to the OM&IS program and I am so glad that I did. There is a bit of friendly competition within my family to do well because my sister is a student and my Dad, Uncle, and Aunt all graduated from NIU. And that definitely pushes me to do the best that I can. They help keep me driven and grounded when life gets chaotic. I know that if I ever have problems, I have a good support system to help me out. Which is really, all you need in life.”
Bhrianna Barker, marketing major
“I will be graduating this May 2016 and starting my career as an ETL with Target. Other than school and work, I enjoy reading, binge watching Netflix TV shows, and shopping for shoes. I am also a proud dog-mom of a maltese named Coco. My first language was Spanish and I will be the first person in my family to graduate college. Currently, I am the Target NIU Campus Liaison and helping find new interns and future managers for Target stores and Distribution Center. I am also President of the organization NABA, and we are still looking for spring members to join.”
Loreal Taylor, marketing major
“I am in my last year of college. I am receiving my undergraduate degree in Marketing. Currently I am an intern for Northern Illinois Athletics communication departments and I also have an internship this summer for Kohl’s. My career path is to be a retail marketing director. I love to help people achieve their goals with internship tips and interview advice.”
John Nazorek, marketing major
“Feels like yesterday I was sitting in class just a few days into freshman year, and graduation seemed like it couldn’t come soon enough. Here I am today, three months before actually graduating, and wishing time would slow down. I’ve had a lot of adventures and met so many amazing people over the past four years that I can’t wait to see what the future has in store. Guess it’s true, time flies by when you’re having fun!
My advice to incoming freshman and lower level undergrads: 1) Enjoy every moment. Go out, make new friends, and get involved. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 2) College isn’t always going to be a piece of cake. Expect the unexpected, go with the flow, and don’t stress yourself out.”
Anita Iyer, accountancy major and economics minor
“I chose NIU because the people I used to hang out with came here and told me all of their success stories. As for my major, I pursued accounting after being encouraged to do so by my high school teachers. The best way to succeed at NIU, personally for me, is to balance your social and academic lives. You really should join an organization that gives back to the community in some way. Service is an unbelievable way to feel accomplished and get involved at the same time.”
Kayi Lawson, marketing major with plans to earn certificates in interactive marketing, professional selling, and information systems
“My two older sisters and my parents were born in Togo, West Africa. My parents did not have it easy when they moved to America and had to work really hard to give us what we have now. My dad received his graduate degree from the NIU College of Business in information systems. Also, my mom obtained her undergraduate degree in information systems while pregnant with me and caring for two young children. My father and my mother have always told us that success was not an option; it was mandatory. My oldest sister is now getting her MBA at Stanford University, and the other is getting her masters in molecular genetics at the University of Birmingham, which is in the United Kingdom. I am a semester ahead and, in my future, I want to also get my MBA. In the end, I will owe my success to my family for always pushing me to do more than expected.”
Jenee Carlson, freshman business major with plans to earn a certificate in social entrepreneurship
“I grew up in the small town of Sycamore. I was rather sheltered, and with my dad as the principle that didn’t help much. But all joking aside, growing up my dad was always my role model and emphasized doing the right thing. I had my first job with an after school program that helped a lot with at-risk youth.
So I wanted to be a Social Worker until that job, when I realized that, emotionally, I could not handle it. That said, I knew from then on out I want to help people in my life. During my senior year of high school, I was introduced to the Business Leadership Academy, which is a program at Kishwaukee Community College. That organization was managed by Bruce Griffith, and he became my mentor through my senior year. I worked really close with him. He introduced me to the business world and showed me that its more than just making money. Rather, it’s about ethics and helping people through business.
After that program, I realized I was going to be a business major, and since NIU has one of the best business schools in the country, it was a no brainer coming here. From there, I had some friends who were in Research Rookies, so I heard about it through them. That’s how I got involved with Research Rookies and the opportunity to work on the research project I’m on now. The research project is “Food Insecurity Among College Students.” We want to know if hunger is a chronic issue on campuses.
I really think this is an important issue to confront, as some people might not think about hunger on campus with meal plans and all. But it’s an issue that, I think, if we address it, could help out students significantly. I think it’s important to realize that if you don’t know where your next meal is going to be, it’s rather hard to be expected to perform academically. So having that perspective on this potential issue will really help the student body grow closer together.”
Samantha Larson, accountancy major
“I am always grateful for the opportunity to be studying accounting at NIU. My parents and sisters are my big motivation. I want to be someone my sisters can look up to. I would encourage everyone to get involved in college and find something they are passionate about. At the same time, I think students need to make time to enjoy being in college and enjoy themselves.”
Corey Meredith, accountancy major and social entrepreneurship minor
“The biggest adventure of my life so far was when I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. A year ago, I had the opportunity to spend a semester at the University of Economics in Prague. While I was there I took courses on international business, marketing, and even an introductory Czech language course. In order to adapt, I had to immerse myself into a foreign environment and culture. This was difficult at times, but the lessons I learned about life and people were priceless. I was able to travel around to 15 different countries during the four months I was abroad, and the main lesson I took away was that we are all not so different. People all around the world have similar wants, dreams, and aspirations for their life. This realization has inspired me to look for the best in others, and encourage everyone to follow their dreams. Never take anything for granted because not everyone has the opportunity to do what they love!”
Cordnei Gibson, management major
“I'm from Canton Michigan, and a lot of people have asked me why I came to NIU, with all of the other universities around my hometown. The cool thing about NIU is the school reaches out to a lot of students in the US, and the world for that matter, reaching a much greater audience. I checked out the website and it was really easy to navigate! The virtual tours and student resources were a huge help for my friend and me. As a result, we both ended up applying. I called my dad all excited and visited campus three times to make sure it was the right decision. I ended up falling in love with the atmosphere here. The campus is gorgeous and the entire time all the advisors talked about internship opportunities at the College of Business. At NIU, the College of Business provides hands on, real-world experience and I couldn't pass that up. I definitely made the right decision. I honestly feel like I have a leg up on people at other schools, simply because I'm in NIU’s College of Business. The opportunities they give us are phenomenal. The way the college does orientation makes you feel comfortable right away. Everyone is willing to sit down with you and go through your career plan. I haven't seen that with any other college so early in the college career process. I’m a sophomore, but I feel comfortable with my career choices going forward.After joining Pi Sigma Epsilon, they encouraged me to network with others and gave me opportunities to meet managers and recruiters right away, my freshman year. That opportunity was and still continues to be an amazing experience. It’s always nice to get out and meet business owners and managers, no matter where you are in your professional career.”
Stephanie Sanchez, om&is major
“My father never went to high school, born and raised in Mexico. Mom was born here, some college but never attended a university. I’m not the first in my family to go to college, but it’s coming from that background of my parents not having a high level of education that created a lot of pride but also put a lot of pressure on my shoulders. No one was there to hold my hand and walk me through these pressures and occurrences that happen here at NIU. You jump in feet first and you figure out the world on your own. The pride however, came from being able to show my parents how their framework that they laid for me, really has paid off. My parents showed me I can do whatever I want in life. Growing up and seeing how my dad got so far without even speaking English, is incredible really. It’s honestly amazing being able to speak two languages and set myself apart from my peers.”
Michael Palacios, NIU business major and active in the Foreign Language Residency Program
“I spent some time in Japan in high school, as part of a Study Abroad program with a company called AFS. The family I stayed with while I was there ran their own small business. Seeing the way that Japanese people conducted their business, and comparing it with the way Americans do business, I realized that there was a notable difference in the way businesses are run around the world. It really intrigued me. I think it’s important to understand that the United States isn’t the only country in the world, and that one can pursue a life anywhere. NIU and the College of Business do a really great job of promoting global awareness. I chose NIU, not only because of the reputation the College of Business has, but also because of the Foreign Language Residency Program. A global perspective is a very powerful thing, and I think that American students, especially, need to work harder to achieve one. Our school is doing a very good job of helping us to do that.”
Jeffrey Kamholz, marketing major
“The final frame, the ninth inning, overtime, you get the picture. I guess I want to tell a story. So, as a senior I was looking for a school that could have some scholarship opportunities and provide success for my future. The moment I stepped foot on campus I knew I had found a home. You know, I got as involved as I could my freshman year. I started to pledge Delta Sigma Pi, and joined a few organizations then right in the middle of it, I blew out my ACL. What I learned from that just 8 weeks in was that I had surrounded myself with people who barely knew me but they still wanted to help out. The brothers of DSP didn’t owe me anything but they were great and helped me out. That was the theme of my time at NIU. Great students, great faculty, to great alumni. I have been able to accomplish so much because of everyone surrounding me. I guess looking back, you reminisce about everything. It’s been an incredible four years here and I hope to stay as involved as I can after graduation and as life goes on. I guess all I can say next is, Go Huskies.”
Jinay Shah, accountancy major with finance minor
“I was born and raised in India and moved here nearly six years ago in search of a better education and career opportunities. Moving to the United States has been quite a rewarding experience as it has taught me to go beyond my comfort zone to meet new people, and learn a new culture. My goal is to start my own consulting/business intelligence firm to help manage risk in businesses, and with individuals in India and other developing nations. I look forward to another fun semester and a great senior year ahead!”
Shawn McGinnis, accountancy major
“I chose accounting because of my sister; she has been and still is a big influence in my life. She is a very successful accountant, so I feel like I need to do the same and be as good as she is. When I initially looked at schools, I wanted a university with a good business college. I was choosing between U of I and NIU. NIU stood out more in the business and the accounting program here. I made my final decision during an accounting visit day. I talked to advisors and master students while touring Barsema Hall, the world-class facility that is home to NIU Business. I was sold from then on out. Amazing accounting program, and the career fair is bar none. Not to mention, the career preparation courses all have been an amazing help. With the help of ACCY 370, and all of the career fair preparation, I landed my internship with Plante Moran. I will be interning with their tax department in the Spring of 2017. A big thanks to the accounting program and the business school is needed. I’m doing what I want in life because of them. Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) is a great organization and I have learned a lot from the upper class accounting majors. They really guided me in the right direction.”
Jason Kaye, marketing and om&is double-major, NIU Presidential Scholar, NIU Honors Program
“I’m from Round Lake IL. I have three younger siblings, but I’m the first one in college. A big reason why I chose NIU was for the College of Business honestly. I actually took sports marketing in high school, and that’s how I got into this career space. That said, I am a huge Cubs fan! The best decision I have made so far was joining Delta Sigma Pi and CAUSE. My interests are: Intramural sports, reading when I can, watching Netflix and playing video games. I try to get the most out of every day. I tend to reflect on what I accomplished each day and be proud of making myself better.”
Dalton Stokes, accountancy major and marketing minor
“Out of both my parents, I am the first one to go to a university. My real parents got separated when I was a little kid. My mom has always pushed me to do my best and to always be out there doing well. I held that close to me, and tried to never disappoint her. Being in a university like NIU is a great opportunity. I can now get to where I want to go, all thanks to my mom. So I push myself to my limits to make her feel like she is accomplished, with my success. It’s a tough road getting there, and I’m happy where I am now. If you have the opportunity to go to college, take it. Big opportunities like this only come once in a lifetime, so take it and run with it.”
Rachel Lapidus, management major and Business Passport student advisory board member
“The thing I’m most excited about is Business Passport Palooza week because I help to plan fun events for this in the college. In my free time, I like to sing, play guitar (I’m not very good yet though), watch Netflix, and cook. Also, not many people know this, but I speak Russian! I’ve actually found a couple of people in my OM&IS class who do as well, which I feel is really surprising to find in DeKalb. If anyone sees me around Barsema, I basically live here, so please say hi!”
Stephanie Aboutar, management leadership major and marketing minor with a certificate in interactive marketing
“My check-list for success:
- Always conduct yourself in a professional manner and show respect to others.
- Keep your options open and be open minded.
- Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you.
- Live in the moment and do not dwell on the past.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated; you do not know their story.
- Follow your heart and dreams and make them a reality.
- Take on stress by changing the way you think about it, or removing yourself from the situation.
- The anchor holds in spite of the storm.”
Sarah Woo, accountancy major
“What really interested me at NIU was the accountancy program. When I came to visit NIU, I really got the sense that this is a community that helps develop the student body. When you look at universities of comparable competitive standing, professors tend to have a focus solely on research. At NIU, research is certainly important but the development of the students is the highest priority. That was immediately evident, and I was – and still am – impressed by it. Last semester, I wrapped up my internship with BDO USA, LLP. They asked for me to come back for a second internship during the spring semester and then offered a full-time position to me upon my graduation. I’ve accepted that offer, and I couldn’t be more excited to get started! I really commend the accountancy program, the career fair, and the classes here, as they give me the tools to be able to find these opportunities for growth and success. I couldn’t be more grateful. My first internship was in audit, and the second internship will be in tax. The firm was really flexible in offering different accounting opportunities and they ultimately gave me the choice of what my full-time offer will be in. I am excited to start my career in public accounting with them. As I leave NIU, I think there are a few things I could say to those who are in or just entering the College of Business. The College of Business offers so many rich opportunities for students to explore. One very important thing to do is to dive on in. Get involved with the student organizations around you and get to know your peers. These people are going to be your greatest resources and your largest support groups. Also, get to know your professors; you never know who could possibly be your next role model. The professors here really have impressive backgrounds. They all have accomplished really important and great things, and I’ve found they’re all willing to share their experiences. Ask questions, stay curious, and have a positive attitude. If you do that, nothing can stop you.”
Devin Stompanato, om&is major and computer science minor
“At first when I came in here I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to do om&is. Getting involved with Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) really helped me with what I wanted to do. Being around all of these motivated people in DSP, pushed me to do more, learn more and be better. It taught me not to settle for anything, that’s how I live my life now. You’re here and it’s so unique, some people don’t have this rare opportunity of going to college, think about that. If you can get anything just go for it, two majors, a double certificate, literally anything just go for it. I’ve used that motto to get involved and make myself my best. No one else is going to push you forward anymore. This is all on you now. It’s real in college. It hits you right away.”
Kevin Mui, marketing major
“This is my third year here at NIU and it has been an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I would highly recommend that transfers or freshmen get involved on campus. For me, joining Kappa Pi Beta was one of the best things I’ve done to help me transition into college. The organization definitely helped break me out of my shell. They provided me with a plethora of opportunities to develop myself into a well-rounded leader while still keeping an emphasis in maintaining academic excellence and time-management. It also helped me branch off to other organizations and take leadership roles in them. To stay motivated, I always ask myself 'Will I regret not taking advantage of these opportunities when I’m older?' My other motivating factors would be my parents. They moved here from China not knowing any english at all. They’re one of the main reasons why I grind so hard in school. They took care of me and sacrificed so much for a chance for me and my siblings to succeed and have a better future. I want them to know that I don’t take it for granted and I’ll be taking care of them one day. That will be the day I can finally be happy and relieved knowing that their sacrifices have paid off.”
Sam Kusswurm, finance and accountancy double-major
“It’s hard to imagine, but in a few months I will be graduating from NIU and beginning my career at PwC. During every big transition it’s pretty common to think about the different choices that were made and experiences that were had. I’m really happy to say that I view my time at NIU as a great success and want to share some advice on how other students can make the most out of their time here as well. I think one of the biggest contributors to my experience at NIU was the decision to get involved, and specifically to get involved early. I wasn’t very involved in high school and wanted to change that in college. I found some amazing organizations to join early on that helped me to develop as a friend, professional, and leader. Serving as President for both Delta Sigma Pi and NIU Investment Association has been incredibly rewarding. Both have given me some of my best friends and a family here on campus. I wouldn’t have received so much from them though if I hadn’t joined early, which is why I encourage everyone to try and get involved as soon as they get on campus.”
Donna Nguyen, accountancy alumnus and current Leadership Master of Accounting Science (LMAS) major
“I graduated with my undergraduate degree in accountancy from NIU. Immediately after I chose to attend the LMAS (Leadership Master of Accountancy Science) program. The graduate program here does an outstanding job of preparing the students for the CPA exam as well as for the work world. I have already made so many more connections beyond the ones I had made during my undergraduate career. When I was still an undergraduate, I landed various internships, attended multiple leadership conferences, and even signed a full time job with Deloitte in Chicago two years in advance. I would definitely say the time I’ve had so far at NIU has been worth it and forever memorable.”
Megan Howard, marketing major
“I changed majors a lot. I was in architecture competitions in high school, where I designed a resort. I didn’t win but it was really cool. I didn’t want to be behind a computer 90% of the time, I knew that for sure. I questioned multiple things when I was getting my marketing degree through a community college, because I couldn’t do any actual marketing courses there. So I changed paths and got my cosmetology license. When I found out how much I didn’t like doing that as a career, it took the fun out of it for me. So I went and became a full time banker and continued my education in marketing here at NIU. I’m actually hoping to work for Red Bull in their Sports Marketing department, as they work with all of the extreme athletes. I fell in love with that department because I’m passionate about the extreme sports as well. I’m kind of a jack of all trades I guess. I balance everything by going to school only two days a week, then I work every other day. I do stress relief days by cooking, and now I’m getting my own place, so cooking will be easier to do. I know what I want, and I’m moving towards where I want to be. It’s that drive that really keeps me going. The best advice I could say is to never take no for an answer, ever.”
Chloe Pooler, accountancy major with community leadership & civic engagement and social entrepreneurship minors
“If there’s anything I hope every student learns during their time at NIU, it’s that nothing is impossible. You can rise to any challenge you face. Have a dream that seems too difficult to make a reality in your short time in the college? Enable and empower yourself by getting involved and connected and you can make anything happen; follow your passions and you can open doors to make progress on other goals. For example, I care deeply about giving back and through CAUSE and Social Entrepreneurship classes I have accomplished my other dream of studying internationally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers and faculty; we’re a Huskie family! Join groups inside the college and out, take on leadership roles, and, if you’re financing most of your education like me, apply for scholarships! Whatever you do, be fully engaged.”
Ilsa Chaudhri, accountancy major with double-minors in finance and economics
“I think that it’s very important to pass on what you have learned to high schoolers, because we’ve been in their shoes. That was me three years ago. I wish I had more exposure or more insight from people about their transition to college. I want them to know that it’s okay to be out of your comfort zone. It’s okay to not know what you want to major in or what you want to do for the rest of your life. Just jump in and get involved! Get involved with friends, classes, and organizations. Network. Grow as a person. It’s not just about your GPA, it’s about finding out who you are and finding out what you’re passionate about. Everything else will follow.”
Megan O’Brien, accountancy major and marketing minor
“One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for students is to remember to take a little time for yourself every day. I think that we often get so caught up in different organizations and classes that we forget to take time for ourselves and the things that we truly enjoy doing! Whether it’s taking ten minutes to reflect on your day or taking an hour to catch up on Netflix, we all need to make sure we are allocating time for ourselves and taking a break from the stress of everyday life as a student. I wish that I had figured this out sooner in my college career because it makes such a difference in my mindset. We are busy students, but we deserve a break once in awhile too.”
Faith Young, human resource management major
“I am a big advocate for getting involved in student organizations and in the community! As a transfer student, I came in with the goal of being involved in at least one student organization. I started my first semester at NIU as an executive board member for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and as a Student Representative for the University Honors Program. I have continued my commitment to student involvement by being selected as Co-President for SHRM, a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, and Event Coordinator for Sigma Iota Epsilon, National Honorary Management Fraternity. In these roles, my main focus is to encourage other students to get involved and be leaders in all that they do! My advice to other students would be to take risks and set goals for yourself; you’ll be surprised by all that you can achieve!”