Poets&Quants’ annual “Best & Brightest Business Majors” list recognizes graduating undergraduate students for their outstanding accomplishments. Since 2017, Spartans from the Broad College have been recognized and honored as part of this list, and for the Class of 2021, the legacy continues. This year’s honorees have not only excelled academically but also served as selfless leaders within the Broad student community: supply chain management senior Lydia Whipple and finance and political theory senior Noah Skrok.
Commitment to Excellence
During her time at MSU, Whipple landed an internship at Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, and now, following graduation, she is looking forward to returning as a full-time project specialist for the Partner Management and Sourcing team. In all she’s done, Whipple has proven to be a driven leader who is passionate about making a lasting, positive impact.
Whipple’s resume of extracurriculars is impressive. She served as president of the MSU Supply Chain Management Association, co-founder of Innovative Nonprofit Creative Solutions Initiative, a mentor for the Broad Mentorship and the Honors College International Peer Mentorship programs and a teaching assistant for an upper-level supply chain management course.
In addition, she was a WISE Future Leaders Symposium ambassador, attended an Institute for Supply Management conference as a guest speaker, received first place at the 2019 University Undergraduate research and Arts Forum Poster Presentation and has been recognized with several awards for her dedication as a cadet in the MSU Air Force ROTC.
To top it all off, Whipple will be representing the Class of 2021 as a student speaker at commencement this week.
Mike Thibideau, fixed-term faculty in the Department of Supply Chain Management, said, “Lydia’s commitment to learning, growth, academic excellence, community engagement, meaningful internships and her track record of high achievement indicate she is an emerging leader and difference maker in the field of supply chain management.”
As she enters her new life chapter, Whipple is eager to continue helping others find their own passions and to fully lead and implement a major innovative project.
“It seems that every role I am drawn to holds responsibility for guiding and mentoring others,” she said. “Everything seems to point back to an attempt to share the knowledge passed down to me and to help people struggling in their efforts to figure out what they want to do. I am so blessed with an amazing family, wonderful coworkers and fabulous classmates who have helped guide me along the way. My hope is to pay this forward to everyone I can.”
The power of altruism
With his multifaceted ambition, Skrok has exemplified the Spartans Will spirit in his own courageous ways. He has made several meaningful contributions through various leadership roles including serving as president of Broad Student Senate, director of finance and legal at Spectrum Consulting Group and a peer career coach for the Russell Palmer Career Management Center. In total, Skrok has gained an array of valuable professional experience through four summer internships with four different companies, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and interning abroad at LMP Education.
Aside from his business-related endeavors, Skrok is also passionate about community service. One of his experiences led him to be an international volunteer at an orphanage located in Lima, Peru, as a part of the special needs/child care program.
“During my two-week experience, I was given the chance to provide operational support to under-resourced child care centers,” he explained. “I was also given the chance to develop my global awareness while opening the minds of the children I worked with to new cultures and possibilities.”
The MSU Center for Community Engaged Learning awarded Skrok the 2020 MSU Spartan Volunteer Service Award, a presidential recognition and the most prestigious annual award presented to students, capturing his continuous enthusiasm for discovering more ways to help others. Skrok has impressively dedicated over 100 hours of community-engaged learning and volunteering during his time as a Spartan.
In the future, Skrok hopes to attend law school and one day start his own nonprofit charity organization to combat socioeconomic disparity.
“The world of business is more than just engaging in commerce with other individuals; it is extremely multifaceted with many moving parts,” Skrok said. “While studying business I was fortunate enough to be exposed to many different sides of business, and I am excited to keep learning about them as I continue my education.”
Advice to fellow Spartans
Throughout their academic career at Broad, Whipple and Skrok have each picked up invaluable learning experiences that have helped to shape them into the admirable young business professionals they are today. Their personal advice encouraged current students to learn from their own surrounding network with an open mind.
“It’s important to not focus on what you are going to say next, but digest what others are saying and reflect their thoughts back to them,” Skrok shared. “I often recommend others to learn to be an active listener and to listen more than they speak. By doing so, you might be astonished by what you can learn about business and the world as a whole.”
Whipple urged Spartans to take advantage of the strong community at MSU. “It is a small world. The network of students, alumni, faculty and staff at Michigan State University, as well as business professionals beyond, is so interconnected and strong that I have truly been shocked at how interrelated my network has become,” she said. “Be aware that while people sometimes forget a name, they rarely forget a face and they definitely do not forget actions.”