By Omar Sofradzija
Charles Willis arrived at Michigan State University as a pre-med major. But his journey of personal discovery detoured through the Eli Broad College of Business, and now he is so glad that it did.
“It’s done great things,” Willis, of South Haven, Michigan said just before accepting his supply chain management diploma at commencement exercises on Saturday, May 5. After switching majors, “it’s been the best thing ever since. It’s opened so many doors for me.”
“I’ve had internships and met wonderful people just because I’ve been in business now. It’s done a lot for me. It’s really shaped the person that I’ve become after these four years of being at MSU” and Broad.
He’s not alone. Many newly-minted grads at the Breslin Center commencement reflected positively on their time at the Broad College of Business.
“Broad has been instrumental to my growth as an individual and in my career as well,” said Grant Jackson of Franklin, Michigan, who majored in Broad’s nationally-recognized supply chain management program. “I think the biggest thing is the networking that Michigan State has with so many different companies in so many different states and countries.”
Jackson added, “just going to career fairs and having that solid support system to not only go study and get good grades, but also be able to apply it to real-time things and have internships that give me quality experience outside the classroom.”
Key to that has been Broad’s professor corps, and what they do to connect their knowledge with students.
“There’s a lot of team projects with our classes, which helped me work with other people and I think that really sets me up well for the workplace,” said Nolan Russ, a supply chain management major from Wixom, Michigan. “Access to the professors has been instrumental to how I’ve developed as a student … being available, and they do a lot of research too. I think that sets them apart.”
Carly Stieve, a human resource management major from DeWitt, Michigan, said she was helped by “all of the services that they’ve provided for me, especially study abroad. That was huge for me. Having professors and counselors help me through as references was awesome.”
Added accounting major Angelique Ratkov of Detroit: “One thing I really liked is how Broad offered a lot of career services and professional resources to help us get an internship and get experience in the real world while we were in college. That really prepared me for my internship and my full-time job in a few years,” after she completes a master’s program at Broad.
Monique Harris, an accounting major from Oak Park, Michigan, said such services were key to her success.
“Within Broad there is what’s called the Multicultural Business Program, and I feel like MBP made this huge college kind of smaller, and it gave me a lot of resources. They provided tutoring; they had different organizations where you could go to meetings and network with employers; and they really tried to prepare you for career fairs and just the real world,” she said. “I’ve just grown professionally a lot, and I definitely built genuine life-long relationships and networking.”
Tia Prescott, a finance major from Detroit, said she “felt very taken care of. I never felt alone here. Coming from an inner city and going to a large university, having somebody care about me really definitely carry me through” her time here. “MSU definitely gave me a better opportunity for life.”
“It put us in the face of companies. I got exposure to companies very early on. I was able to have an internship every single year I’ve been here, and that’s definitely through MBP,” she said. “I’m graduating with honors, with a job offer. So, it’s been great.”
While important, such support was not surprising to Broad alums.
“The Broad College as a whole has been extremely supportive of all of their students,” said Megan Burnie, a hospitality business major from DeWitt, Michigan. “They help everybody along the way.”
Being a part of Broad helped motivate finance major Gayatri Chincholkar of Detroit: “Being surrounded by such hard-driven, really successful people has helped me want to be that same way.”
Puja Patel, a finance major from Bridgeman, Michigan, learned important lessons that go beyond rote learning.
“I learned that if you want to achieve something, you really have to put the time and effort into it,” she said. “The resources at Broad have really helped me to do so,” she said. “This place has helped a lot with each and every step. This school has great resources.”
Not only were students impressed with their Broad experiences, so were their loved ones.
Rubye Dobyne of Atlanta, Georgia, said “it means a lot” for her grandson, finance major Jordan Dobyne of Chicago, to graduate from Broad. He is the third relative of hers to graduate from MSU, including a son who went on to Harvard for his MBA.
“I’m very impressed” with Broad and MSU, she said.
Vicky Vulaj of Brighton, Michigan, on hand to see her daughter Lillian Vulaj graduate with a degree in hospitality business, said Broad “definitely helped her to grow as a person. As a student, she’s learned so much. She’s come a long way as an individual, just from a maturity standpoint … it’s just been an all-around excellent experience.”
Armed with a Broad degree, Lillian is now weighing several job offers, both locally and out of state. Said Vicki: “She’s kind of teeter-tottering a little bit, but that’s a good place to be for her.”
Indeed, that’s a good problem to have.