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Broad Alum & Spartan Basketball Guard Builds Top Workplace

By Caroline Brooks

Broad College of Business alumnus Mat Ishbia (BA Management ’03) is no stranger to reaching new heights.

Mat Ishbia
Ishbia excelled in the classroom and on the basketball court as a student, and today excels in leading a dynamic workplace

As a student at Michigan State University, he not only excelled academically but also played on a top-five Spartan basketball team. By the time he graduated, Ishbia had played in three straight Final Fours, won a national championship in 2000, made the All-Big Ten academic team three times, and was so respected by coach Tom Izzo that he was made a student assistant coach the year after he graduated. But that was just the beginning of his wins.

Today, Ishbia is president and CEO of United Shore, a financial services company specializing in wholesale mortgage lending services. Once telling Business Insider that he runs his company “like a 2,000 person basketball team,” Ishbia not only led United Shore’s annual revenue to jump 68 percent year-over-year from 2015 to 2016, but also landed the company on Inc. Magazine’s 2017 list of Best Places to Work.

From a strict 40-hour workweek policy to an in-house concert from rapper Nelly, Ishbia has found the right mix of culture and commitment to allow his employees and business to thrive. And it was at the Broad College that Ishbia said he “learned how to effectively collaborate with others and how to build a solid business foundation.”

Just as important as his commitment to his company is that to his alma mater. In 2017, the Broad College awarded Ishbia with the Young Alumni Award for his ongoing commitment, support, and engagement with the college and its academic advancement.

You can learn more about the United Shore workplace in its full Inc. Magazine profile, but even more interesting is what Ishbia says are three key strategies to creating a top workplace:

  1. High-level engagement. “Having strong team member engagement is a big part of hitting business goals and creating a strong culture in the workplace. If your people have their opinions heard and have a real say in the direction of the company, they’ll feel more attached to their work and the differences they can make.”
  2. Opportunity. “The objective is to make your workplace a destination spot, not a stepping stone. Don’t put stock into people’s past accolades. Hire people based on their work ethic and attitude, give them the training they need to excel, and provide opportunity for upward mobility in your company. We want our team members to feel that United Shore’s combination of culture, purpose, and career growth opportunities makes it a place they want to work at until they retire.”
  3. Appeal to the human side. “Your team members want to feel appreciated, they want work-life balance, and they want to have memorable experiences. It’s about more than what they do at the office for eight hours a day. Give your people cool experiences, allow them to integrate their families with their work family, and lead with the mindset that ‘You work to live, not live to work.’”

Eli Broad College of Business

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