The Honda Fit.
The Honda Fit.

Reggie Williams took many lessons away from his role as team leader on a Close to the Customer project that involved helping Honda plan a redesign of its popular subcompact car, the Fit.

“The Honda project was my first as part of the C2C and I learned that there may not be a clear-cut question from a client,” said Williams, who completed his psychology degree spring term. “Coming up with multiple solutions is helpful, as well as taking into consideration client needs and specifics of the market when coming up with a solution.”

The project involved Honda wanting “to get a feel for Instagram and what people were posting about their Honda Fit,” said Amanda Terhes, director of the C2C. “The exciting part for students was when they asked, ‘how do we do this,’ we said, ‘I don’t know but we’ll figure it out.’”

The student team led by Williams ended up pulling approximately 1,000 Honda Fit photos from Instagram and then categorized them thematically – e.g., by what activity they were being used for.

The themes were used to create topic guides for field research by marketing professor Jim McAlexander in the Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles areas. McAlexander conducted six one-on-one interviews with customers and also did nine triads – a triad is a mini focus group of three people.

McAlexander, whose contacts in the auto industry paved the way for C2C being granted the project, presented the results to Honda. The results are understandably proprietary as Honda prepares to execute the redesign of the Fit in five or six years — in such a way that the four-door, front-wheel-drive vehicle still appeals to current customers and potentially attracts new, first-time Fit owners as well.

Williams’ student team included finance major Chris Koenig and MBA student-to-be Jill Wells, plus a sociology major.

“It’s great to have a team with different backgrounds and diverse perspectives and approaches,” Williams said. “A lot of psychology goes into market research, understanding and eventually trying to influence behavior. Thinking outside of the box but at the same time maintaining structure and providing valid results is fundamental to the art of marketing research. It helped that we had a great staff of professors and our director who allowed us creative control and input while guiding us through the process.”

Adam Nasset.

Having spent his youth in Salem building computers and providing technical support for a variety of family members, and even their companies, Adam Nasset arrived at Oregon State in fall 2002 planning to study engineering and computer science.

But when he began his studies, he realized what he really wanted to do was take his technical background and give it a business focus.

So Nasset pointed himself toward the College of Business and double majored in Management Information Systems (now Business Information Systems) and Accounting, and the result has been a rapid ascent in the profession of information system auditing.

“It definitely set me up well,” said the 2007 COB graduate, who began his latest job April 13, doing IT security and compliance work for The Standard Insurance. “The curriculum is set up well for work, and getting sponsored by ISACA was a good move.”

For more on Nasset, and for information on other BIS grads and the program in general, click here.

The Asian & Pacific Cultural Center.
The Asian & Pacific Cultural Center.

Like the rest of the Oregon State campus this time of year, the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center exudes a sleepy summertime vibe, but staff at the center, next door to College of Business headquarters Austin Hall, are filled with anticipation for their first full school year at the heart of campus.

The 25-year-old center opened its new facility in February and hosted a grand opening celebration in April. Before the move, it was housed in a small, older home on Jackson Street at the campus’ edge.

On a recent afternoon, assistant director Reagan Le and student leadership liaison An Vuong held down the fort, greeting visitors and reiterating the center’s goal to be a place for students of all nationalities. Outreach and community building are cornerstones of the center’s mission, and Le said he hopes the center and the College of Business can partner on events and projects whenever possible.

The one-story, 3,500 square-foot structure was designed by Jones & Jones Architecture of Seattle. Its exterior is based on a mix of housing styles found in some of the regions represented by the center, and the interior features meeting spaces, a student kitchen, offices and a meditation/quiet room, all following the theme of drawing from cultural aspects of Asian and Pacific Island regions.

College of Business students, as well as all other students, should feel free to drop by the center to visit, study or just hang out. It’s just west of Austin Hall on Jefferson Way.

For more photos of the center, click here.


Scholarship recipients Brittany Soto and Charles White with retired management professor Jack Rettig, for whom the scholarship is named.
Scholarship recipients Brittany Soto and Charles White with retired management professor Jack Rettig, for whom the scholarship is named.
Scholarship recipients Brittany Soto and Charles White with retired management professor Jack Rettig, for whom the scholarship is named.

Management majors Charles White and Brittany Soto have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Jack Rettig Scholarship, named for longtime College of Business management professor Jack Rettig and established by one of Rettig’s first and most grateful students at OSU.

White and Soto recently met at Austin Hall with Rettig, who retired in 1986, and his son, Richard.

“I am so honored to be a recipient of the Jack Rettig Scholarship,” Soto said. “It all made sense when meeting Jack why this scholarship is in his name. He is passionate about the College of Business and the success of the students. He recognizes the hardships students have to endure in order to graduate from the university and admires efforts to make it happen. I am truly thankful.”

The scholarship was created by William Allen Sizer, a 1965 College of Business graduate who died in 2012. Sizer, who worked two jobs to put himself through college, went on to a successful career in the life insurance/financial planning industry and never forgot the impact Rettig had on him, particularly in understanding his economic challenges.

“It was a unique experience to have met Jack Rettig,” White said. “He was a person who understood the difficulties that students had and felt particularly inclined to help support their success. Mr. Rettig made a dramatic impact on his student’s life so much so that Mr. Rettig was honored with the opportunity through this scholarship to continue to impact the success of students long into the future. I hope that someday I can have that kind of impact on the people whose lives I touch.”

White and Soto each received $1,500 toward next year’s tuition, having been selected by a College of Business committee. Plans call for two winners this first year and one each year thereafter.

“It was a real honor to receive this scholarship,” White added. “Not only did it validate the hard work that I have put in throughout my time spent at OSU but really made me feel a part of the community even more so than before. Even better was the fact that I got the chance to share the honor with a friend and peer, Miss Soto, who I feel is an excellent student, and it was good to be aligned with a person who has such intelligence and talent.”

Back from Europe, Annemarie Lewandowski is interning in Gresham at Boeing.
Back from Europe, Annemarie Lewandowski is interning in Gresham at Boeing.
Back from Europe, Annemarie Lewandowski is interning in Gresham at Boeing.

Summer is a relaxing time for many university students, but often it’s a busy season for College of Business students looking to broaden their experiences, widen their networks and deepen their resumes.

Take Annemarie Lewandowski, a senior majoring in management.

The first part of summer found her studying international business administration at the Bad Mergentheim, Germany, campus of Duale Hochschule Baden-Wurttemberg. DHBW is one of the College of Business’ partner institutions through the Arthur Stonehill International Exchange Program.

“I liked it,” Lewandowski said. “It was a really good experience being in a different culture in a different country, a whole different system. I’m definitely glad I went – it’s one of greatest things I’ve ever done.”

The course structure and schedule took a little getting used to, though.

“We’d have like one class for a week and a half and then be done (before moving on to the next class),” she said. “It was horrible at first being in class from 9 to 4:30 straight; the first couple of weeks were rough. But we’d take a 10-minute break every hour and a half for the smoking students – it was funny, I was shocked at the reason, but I wasn’t complaining.”

While in Europe, Lewandowski visited nine nations.

“You cross over into another country for a weekend, the culture changes, the language changes,” she said. “Everything’s so close and so small, but each country is unique. I was the most fascinated with that. Within 20 feet, the architecture style changed, and the people were completely different in their views and opinions.”

Lewandowski particularly enjoyed the citywide beauty of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

“It’s magnificent, one of the places I would go back to,” she said.

Back home in Oregon, Lewandowski is working in Gresham as a business operations intern at Boeing.
She’s helping project managers on individual projects, and also assisting with a company-wide initiative toward leaner, more efficient meetings and reports.

“It’s something we definitely hear about in all of our classes – lean, lean, lean,” she said. “It’s been nice to be onsite, implementing it myself, to see what is taught in class come to life.”

For information about study-abroad opportunities, contact the College of Business advising office, 122 Austin Hall or 541-737-3716. For information about internships, drop by the Career Success Center, 102 Austin Hall, or call the CSC at 541-737-8957.

Parliament building in Budapest.
Parliament building in Budapest.
Hiking in Croatia.
Hiking in Croatia.
Willen Sin, right, with Benny Beaver and fellow Trail Blazer staffers McKenzie Malone, left, Hannah Blumhardt and Lindsay Jones at Reser Stadium.
Willen Sin, right, with Benny Beaver and fellow Trail Blazer staffers McKenzie Malone, left, Hannah Blumhardt and Lindsay Jones at Reser Stadium.

Like many sports fans growing up in the Portland area, Willen Sin had long dreamed of working for the Trail Blazers.

Empowered with a degree from the College of Business, Sin is making that dream come true.

“Oregon State is pretty embedded in me,” said Sin, a partnership marketing specialist.

Sin completed his studies at OSU in 2013, graduating with a marketing degree and international business option. He was also involved in the Austin Entrepreneurship Program, and he says the event management skills he picked up in the AEP come in particularly handy in his role with the Blazers, which requires him to handle the logistics for a wide range of corporate-sponsored events including the Toyota Half Court Shot (more on that in a minute).

Sin signed on with the Blazers in September 2013 as corporate partnership intern; he worked game nights and basically made sure the team’s business partners had everything they needed. Sin started as a full-fledged Blazer employee in July 2014.

He personally manages about 15 accounts and assists with the management of five larger accounts, including Toyota.

The Toyota Half Court Shot takes place 11 times a year, and the basic format is simple: At halftime, the contestant spins a wheel to determine which kind of car he’ll win if his heave goes through the hoop.

Sin says no one had connected for four or five years – until March 5, when a bearded man in his late 20s named Chris found the bottom of the net — Rip City, indeed — and drove off with an Avalon hybrid, sparking pandemonium among the fans … and the person who coordinates the promotion.

“This is business to me, but I’m a fan too, and I just lost it,” Sin said. “I was so excited for the guy. And then I realized I had a ton of paperwork to do. It was another two or three months of processing everything. It was a roller coaster.”

The wild ride did nothing, however, to dampen Sin’s overall enthusiasm.

“I’m proud to be part of the Blazers,” he said. “That culture and this brand are so ingrained in this city, I’m building a network that down the road will go a very long way. I’m open to other opportunities, but I’m really enjoying it and still learning, and I want to capture as much knowledge as I can. I have great co-workers and great mentors, and I’m just taking it all in.”

Axel Gerloff speaks about study-abroad opportunities.
Axel Gerloff speaks about study-abroad opportunities.

Prof. Dr. Axel Gerloff, an economics scholar from Duale Hochschule Baden-Wuerttemberg, spoke to students and advisors July 27 about study-abroad opportunities in his home country of Germany.

Gerloff, who is teaching at OSU summer term, told the audience in the Austin Hall Events Room about his university’s two campuses, the main one in Mosbach and a branch campus in Bad Mergentheim. Both cities are in southern Germany and steeped in history; housing the branch campus, for example, is a Renaissance castle.

Gerloff explained that OSU business and engineering students who take part in an exchange would encounter a course schedule that had them focusing on a single subject for one or two weeks, then repeating the process throughout the term with new subjects.

“Our students like just focusing on one topic at a time,” he said. “They don’t have to focus on anything else. But some international students think it’s too intense, that you don’t have time to let it sink in.”

Class size tops out at about 30 students, Gerloff said, which is necessary because of the compressed, accelerated nature of the coursework.

“That works a lot better in smaller classes than larger ones,” he said.

The business program focuses on international business administration, with everything taught in English. Prior to the start of classes, however, is a German-language course geared toward helping international students make their away around the country. Classes feature a mix of students from different nations.

The program is available in one- or two-semester options and is available at both campuses in the spring and at Mosbach in the fall as well.

For more information, drop by the College of Business advising office, 122 Austin Hall, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or call 541-737-3716.




Majed Abdelrasul.
Majed Abdelrasul.

At the College of Business, we always enjoy hearing, and spreading, the news of our alumni as they take what they learned out into the working world.

So whether it’s via social media, email or an old-fashioned letter or phone call, please do as 2015 finance graduate Majed Abdelrasul did this week and stay in touch with us.

Abdelrasul was pleased to report that he’d accepted an offer to be a financial analyst with Aequitas Capital Management starting Aug. 1. He’ll work in Portland and will, he says, “be supporting consumer financing receivable programs, maintaining and reporting of portfolio management performance, implementing and enhancing financial models, and supporting ad hoc tasks for our team.”

“The COB helped me prepare for success by providing tons of resources,” he said. “Whether that was clubs/organizations, or simply bringing in industry professionals to educate us. There was always help from professors and staff members around the college. At the same time, the college held my peers and me accountable for everything we completed and continued to challenge us throughout our tenure. Everyone was very supportive throughout my time at the college. If I ever had a question, I felt as if I could go to any faculty/staff member and they would be open to helping me out.”

As he prepares to start his career, Abdelrasul offered some advice for those who’ll follow him in the College of Business: “Never give up and always go above and beyond. Even if you have to sacrifice a few hours of your social life or sleeping schedule, it will be worth it in the end. Continue to learn and take on as many responsibilities as you can. Lastly, hold yourself accountable for everything you do, even if no one is watching.”

During the 2014-15 school year, College of Business photographers, as you might imagine, took thousands of pictures.

As with any large collection of photos, only a small percentage of the ones we took worked their way into public view by finding a home in a blog entry, website feature, social media post or print publication.

That leaves a lot of interesting pictures that only the photographer and a few faculty and staff got to see.

To try to remedy that, at least somewhat, this blog post includes a gallery of a handful of the ones that got away. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Sarah Mazur addresses incoming students at a START session July 13.
Sarah Mazur addresses incoming students at a START session July 13.

START sessions aimed at helping new students, both transfers and freshmen, make a smooth transition toward the College of Business in fall 2015 are under way and will continue periodically throughout August, with a final session scheduled for late September.

A group of about 50, students and parents alike, filed into Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium for one of the sessions on Monday, July 13. Advisors Daniel Schwab and Sarah Mazur briefed the audience on a wide range of topics ranging from core requirements to academic honesty to the importance of networking – an overview of everything a new student needs to know to be successful in the College of Business.

“This makes me feel more focused, more ready,” said freshman to be Sarah Ryner of Oregon City, who’s interested in entrepreneurship. “I’m excited.”

Ryner was accompanied by her sister Rachael, a junior majoring in microbiology.

“I’m playing the role of parent today,” Rachael joked.

The rest of the START sessions are scheduled for July 21 and 24, Aug. 24 and 26, and Sept. 21. The July 21 and Aug. 24 sessions are aimed at freshmen, the July 24 and Aug. 26 ones are geared for transfer students, and the final one is a catch-all.

For more information, visit the advising office, 122 Austin Hall, or call 541-737-3716.