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Management Panel Hosted for Students

May 08, 2017, Chelsea Kujawa

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Students listening to a speaker during the Management Panel

The Department of Management hosted a panel for students on April 27 in Morris Library. Nearly 100 students attended one of the two panel sessions.

Members of the panel included:

  • Jennifer Olson, loan officer and vice president of Farmers State Bank.
  • Richard Brodkorb, president and principal consultant with REB Management Co.
  • Lily Sugathan, accountant at Martz & Wilson LLP.
  • Penny Clancy, vice president of human resources, Sentinel Technologies Inc.
  • Herby Voss, director of marketing, public relations and business development for Heartland Regional Medical Center.

Pete Mykytyn, department chair and professor of management, played a big role in making the management panel possible for students.

“The purpose of the panel is to enlighten students about a whole lot of things,” Mykytyn said. “There are a number of points that the panelists will bring up and students will also have the opportunity to ask questions.”

The discussion points included:

  • Would you recommend getting an advanced degree right away after getting a bachelor’s degree, or gain experience before returning to school?
  • What is your recommendation regarding obtaining an advanced degree or some kind of certification?
  • What are the factors you should consider when selecting your first job? Should money be the most important criterion, or should it be another factor such as promotion, personal growth, benefits, peer recognition, sense of pride (accomplishment) and sense of team (helping others)?
  • What good or bad advice have you received?
  • What should a new hire do to be successful in his or her first career position?
  • What did you learn from your first job experience?
  • If you had to do it over again, what would you change?
  • What were your biggest risks you have taken in your career?
  • What are employers looking for?
  • What are challenges to overcome?

“The panel consisted of Department of Management external advisory board members,” Mykytyn said. “These are individuals from business, industry, the public sector, entrepreneurs, etc.”

Abigail Meyers, a senior studying management with a specialization in personnel/human resource management, attended the panel and shared her experience.

“I really enjoyed this panel,” Meyers said. “I had the opportunity to ask Penny Clancy some important questions regarding human resources that I have always wanted to ask someone. I also got to ask Herby Voss a few questions regarding healthcare management, which I have been interested in. I was fortunate to receive business cards for both Penny and Herby, and I plan to keep in touch with them if I ever have any questions or need advice.”

“During this panel, one important piece of advice I learned was to try to go to graduate school as soon as possible,” Meyers added. “All three panelists agreed that it is very difficult to go back to school once you have a family and a full-time job. It can be done, but it is hard. I have been on the fence regarding graduate school, so this piece of advice was very helpful.”

Austin Mallow, a senior studying management with a concentration in entrepreneurship and a minor in finance, also attended the event.

“The panel discussed the difficulty of going back to earn an MBA once one has been out of school and in the workforce for several years,” Mallow said. “This made me consider going straight through to graduate school after graduation. Their experiences made me consider working for a smaller organization, so that I may be exposed to more functional areas and have more roles than an employee at a large company.”

“They also said one should be worried more about obtaining an experience rather than money the first few years out of college as, this would help advance one’s career down the road,” Mallow added. “Listening to the members of the advisory board gave me inspiration to pursue advanced degrees and certifications, since I have an entrepreneurship concentration. Richard Brodkorb, a member of the board, has started several companies and is an example of a successful entrepreneur, giving hope to me and others who wish to start their own firms.”

Kaitlyn Kern, a senior studying business management with a specialization in health-care enterprises and a minor in health care management, also attended the event.

“From the panel, I gained a lot of knowledge I had not previously known,” Kern said. “The panel I attended had three board members with diverse work experience. It was interesting to hear about their journeys, along with their struggles that may be similar to the ones I soon may be faced with in the upcoming months. Since they all had vastly different careers, it allowed for questions to be targeted toward a specific panelist or to all of them, allowing different viewpoints based on their personal experiences. Each gave a different take on topics ranging from graduate school, internships, interviews, and getting your first job.

“It was helpful to hear their points of view while also being allowed to ask questions,” Kern added. “The panelists agreed on some topics while some had varying viewpoints. I definitely hope they continue to hold panel discussions and get more panelists and students involved, because it is such a great opportunity to gain some unique insight.”

Marshon Tucker also attended the event. He is a senior studying business management with a specialization in entrepreneurship.

“At first, I didn’t expect the panel to be so down-to-earth and relatable,” Tucker said. “Richard Brodkorb, Lily Sugathan and Jennifer Olson all brought something to the table that I could relate to. Richard discussed the importance of critical thinking, and how adding value to yourself can give you a competitive advantage. I use my critical thinking skills on a regular basis for problem solving or decision-making purposes. If I am not in class learning, I tend to read the news articles from Bloomberg and CNBC, or watch podcasts on entrepreneurship and self-development.

“When Lily attended SIU, her parents wanted her to pursue a medical degree, but somehow she ended up taking a course in almost every building on campus to find out what she really wanted to do with her life,” Tucker added. “My parents did the same thing with engineering; but shortly after my first year of college I started to learn more about business, entrepreneurship and investments.”

“The one panelist that I could relate to the most would be Jenifer Olson,” Tucker said. “Jennifer explained how she could never get a job by sending in her cover letter and résumé. Whenever she would receive a job opportunity, it would be because of someone she knew personally. Jennifer let her hard work, dedication and personal connections speak for her when a résumé couldn’t.

“Most of the opportunities that come my way are because of who I am and what I can bring to the table,” Tucker added. “The panel’s combined decades of experience and wisdom helped me realize that if I continue to work hard for what I want in life, I can have a tremendous amount of success.”

William Schefelbein, a junior studying management, also attended the event.

“I learned about the aspects that go into furthering your education,” Schefelbein said. “I heard both sides of the issue of getting your MBA right after undergrad or working a couple years and then getting it. There are benefits to both. If you have the resources to get your MBA right after undergrad, then do it! On the other hand, a lot of MBA classes rely on your experience in the working world to better understand the material. I have learned that either option will not hinder your chances on receiving a decent job offer. Once you have your MBA, regardless of the institution, no one can take that away from you.”

The management panel takes place every spring. Watch for information or talk to your professors to get involved next year.