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Broad College Employee Spotlight: Ian Semivan

By Grace Griffin, student writer
Monday, March 25, 2024

Spartans are known for our determination to make a difference, and one way this ethos is brought to life at the Broad College of Business is through our employees. In this Broad College Employee Spotlight Q&A series, get to know the many passionate faculty and staff members across the college.

Ian Semivan headshot

Ian Semivan

Ian Semivan has been part of the Broad College for a little over a year, but in this time he has accomplished an incredible amount. As a marketing analyst, he is responsible for developing, executing and managing the branded marketing of the Broad College and all its departments. Semivan works with various stakeholders to create specific, impactful messages through paid and organic channels.

“The goal I am working toward with the above action items is to increase our overall brand recognition so that people associate ‘Broad College’ or ‘Broad College of Business’ with MSU when they hear the words. This also means that, yes, ultimately, I feel responsible for people knowing that it is pronounced brōd and not br/ɔ/d,” says Semivan.

In addition to maintaining the branded image of the Broad College, Semivan has helped oversee the broad.msu.edu website since August. Technology cannot always be reliable, and he’s stepped up to make sure everything is running properly. Earlier this year, when the website had suddenly shut down, he and web developer Ken Thomas were able to get it up and running again.

He also works closely with fellow MarCom team member Chelsea Stein, associate director of content strategy, on the college’s search engine optimization strategy. “Chelsea has her finger on the pulse of literally everything happening in this college, and I have no idea how she does it. While others are involved in the process, she is the leader when it comes to establishing and maintaining our brand voice within our organic content both on social media, in our newsroom and on third-party sites as well,” he explained. “My job here is to amplify that voice as much as possible. For every article that is written by Chelsea and her team, I am asked what search term or phrase we should target so that the article can get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. I brought an SEO strategy with me from my previous job in the private sector but have continued to tweak it as I learn how google indexes webpages that fall under a .edu domain.”

Finally, Semivan also offers marketing assistance to the college’s specialized master’s and MBA programs. He acts as a consultant to external agency partners and guides program directors on interpreting results and marketing efforts. Most importantly, Semivan provides positivity. He is known for his morale boosting, working to make people feel connected as they work towards a common goal. He tries to connect with everyone and works to put a smile on your face.

“It’s impossible to always be at our best, but we should all be doing what we can, when we can, in order to create an environment where people feel comfortable, appreciated and seen,” Semivan said.

Broad News: What inspired you to begin working at Michigan State University?

Semivan: There are so many factors that played into this decision. I was laid off in the summer of 2022 from the failing startup that I had previously worked for, which forced me to look for a new position. Before starting my career in marketing, I worked in education, teaching high school and then managing a private learning center, so naturally, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for education.

A close friend of mine, Nick Wujcik, event manager for the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development, reached out to me about the open position. He not only told me that he believed I probably had the experience and skillset that the Broad College MarCom team was looking for, but also that I’d probably thrive within the team culture. He was right on both fronts.

Through my interview process, it felt like I was talking to people that I had known for a long time. Add to that the fact that I was able to return to the world of education, albeit in a very different way than I had originally pictured during my time as an undergrad at MSU’s College of Education, and everything in my mind, gut and heart told me that this was the right move.

I could go on because there is so much to say here, but I’ll stick to the three reasons above as the source for my main inspiration.

“I am always amazed by the talent and knowledge everyone possesses, but mostly I am impressed by the dedication and effort that stakeholders put forth.”

Broad News: What do you like most about being an employee at the Broad College?

Semivan: I get to be my weird, human self. I don’t have to hide any details about my identity. I think that while we deal with moments of extreme stress, the unwritten rule of our “work culture” (and trust me, I hate that expression because it is a direct result of companies being given more political breaks, freedoms and power than individuals, which I fundamentally disagree with) is that as long as you are putting forth the effort that you can in that moment, you try to go above and beyond when it is possible to do so, and you are not doing anything that makes anyone else associated with any work that you are doing uncomfortable or unsafe, then nothing about your personal life is held against you.

In my opinion, that is as good as it gets when it comes to our current definition of “inclusion,” even though there is still more work for our culture and society to do regarding that topic.

Broad News: What motivates or renews your commitment to MSU on a regular basis?

Semivan: The relationships that I have with my team and the people I collaborate with outside of my team. Everyone I have come in contact with here seems to be of the mindset that we work to live. I’m not saying that we show up, do the bare minimum, collect our paycheck and move on. What I am saying is that I am seen as a human first — people are genuinely interested and concerned about me as who I am first, and then we move forward with the work that we need to accomplish together.

And when we are buried in the work, I am always amazed by the talent and knowledge everyone possesses, but mostly I am impressed by the dedication and effort that stakeholders put forth. I am so many things before I am an employee of the Broad College, but that still is part of my identity, and I’m glad the other people I come into contact with take pride in that as well.

Broad News: What are you most looking forward to this academic year?

Semivan: Continuing to grow the MarCom team. We recently welcomed Brennan Andrews as the team’s new senior director and hope to expand the team further soon.

Broad News: What’s been one high point of your time at the Broad College?

Semivan: Launching what [the MarCom team] refers to as the “Inspire” brand campaign during the Fall 2023 semester. You may have seen the ads for this on I-96 or I-94 in Metro Detroit, on social media or even in the Detroit Metro Airport. But this was a project that from start to finish I managed, helped to develop and launch. The campaign is still certainly in its infancy, and we are continuing to tweak it, but we have already seen awesome response to the messaging, especially from companies and recruiters who don’t necessarily have any association with the college or even MSU.

Broad News: What is one fun fact about you?

Semivan: I play in a small local indie punk band called Mickey Shorr and the RadioShacks. We mainly play around southeast Michigan, but we played our first ever Lansing show at Mac’s Bar on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Broad News: What advice would you give someone new at Broad?

Semivan: Make yourself visible, raise your hand when you can and figure out how to make the people you work with feel seen.

Also, when you get the message that your Panera order is ready, it is not. Wait about 10 minutes after you get the notification, then go pick it up.

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