Michele Derr arrived at The University of Findlay as a freshman student-athlete on a full basketball scholarship with an undecided major.
Derr’s involvement in on-campus activities and an internship allowed her to practice the principles she learned in her classes. “Being part of the Marketing Club has given me hands-on experience with local businesses,” she said.
Derr and other students had the opportunity to speak with local business owners and help them develop marketing strategies to improve their businesses. Club members assist with logos, tag lines, printed materials and promotional ideas. The club also hosts an Xtreme Marketing Makeover event, during which
teams are given a short amount of time to meet with a local business owner, develop marketing ideas and a presentation of those ideas, and give the presentation to the other participants and the business owners. The team with the best presentation wins the challenge.
Also on campus, Derr was a
Dana Scholar, which gave her direct access to local business leaders in
a variety of industries, which, she says, was a great networking
Derr gained additional
business experience during an internship with Marathon Oil Co. in
Atlanta, Ga. As a wholesale marketing intern, Derr was assigned
approximately 15 wholesale Marathon customers, mostly mom-and-pop retail
stores. She responded to questions and requests from each client,
taking care of their day-to-day business needs. Derr also mapped out
territories for managers to use in their travels and did some traveling
of her own to Tampa, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.
three-year member of the women’s basketball team, Derr gained valuable
life lessons. “Sports is one of the best ways to make you a hard worker
and make you balance work, life and school,” said Derr, whose basketball
career ended with a repeat knee injury.
Derr is confident that her college experience has prepared her for a career. “College is when you learn
what you want to do, and it’s about preparing you for life in general,”
she said. “Business has prepared me for the working world. … When I was
doing my internship, I felt comfortable. I was able to pick up on things quickly, and college has helped prepare me for that.”
utilized the tools and resources available to her at Findlay. “I’ve had
a great experience here,” said Derr. “Everyone I’ve met was always
willing to help me with anything I’ve needed. … The University does a
lot more than most people realize.”
Derr advises incoming
freshmen to do some research and get some experience before selecting a
major. She suggests job shadowing and finding an internship during the
first couple of years in college.
Casey Pritts came to The University of Findlay with dreams of landing a job in Marketing. After graduation, she applied for a marketing position at Target but quickly found herself accepting a position as an Executive Team Leader of Human Resource for Target. In fact, they were so happy with her that they asked "where can we get more people like you?"
She credits her success to her experiences at UF. Casey expressed that her marketing skills have helped her with understanding the needs of different audiences. Pritts indicated that her skills translate well in the field of Human Resources, "I work with a variety of different people from interviewing to helping individuals that are having difficulties; my internship experiences prepared me through the ability to tailor my message to each person based on the situation." Knowing SAP was also beneficial for her in this position. Target is new to SAP and recently implemented the software. Having learned it while at UF, Casey was able to assist in the training of personnel.
Pritts also credits her internship experiences to building her skill set. She said that "Many times you have to start at the bottom at an internship. I appreciated the fact that I learned a lot and was able to get that experience under my belt before I graduated. You start off at a better pace when you already have the 'grunt work' done."
The faculty go out of their way to help students build a strong resume prior to graduation. Casey speaks highly of Dr. Chris Ward stating that she "can't begin to describe how much she has helped me. She is someone I can aspire to be like, a true role model".
many activities and successes in the classroom and out earned him the
prestigious Founding Father’s award upon graduation. The award is voted by the
faculty and is awarded to a student who exemplifies the ideals of the
University’s founders and recognizes high achievement in scholarship,
extracurricular involvement, service to the University/Findlay community,
leadership and moral, personal and spiritual integrity.
All of these activities played a vital role in his
development at the time and in his later success as a businessman.
“I grew socially in the fraternity and student
organizations,” he said. “It’s a microcosm of the business world. I learned how
to run a meeting. I learned what to do with no-shows at meetings. I learned how
to get along with people. I learned and practiced all this on campus.”
Mallett, who is a member of the College of Business Advisory
Council, recently accompanied Sears on a U.S. State Department trip to Africa
to promote entrepreneurialism. Sears said that Mallett’s approach to success in
business was evidenced when Mallett, hearing a budding entrepreneur’s plan to
open Niger’s first automatic car wash, advised the young man “to open 100 car
washes!” “I know people who would be willing to invest in that!” Sears recalls
Mallett telling the man.
“My professors took an active and personal interest in me,” Mallett
remembers. “They knew me by name and they knew when I needed extra help and
encouragement. And it wasn’t just me. They did that with all the students – and
they still do. I get to see the faculty interacting with students all the time.
Nothing has changed; it is still a great place to be a student and to prepare
“Whatever success I’ve had goes right back to the experience
I had at Findlay,” he says. “It gave me the skills and the confidence I needed
to meet challenges and seize opportunities. I’m forever grateful.”