BA 466 students present in class. From left are Zachary Bergthold, Connor Howard, Nicholas Rector, Georgia Brown and Megan McGinty.
BA 466 students present in class. From left are Zachary Bergthold, Connor Howard, Nicholas Rector, Georgia Brown and Megan McGinty.

In the real world, the information a manager has to go on isn’t always tidy or thorough – that’s one of the lessons Amol Joshi, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, hopes his BA 466 students learn through the team case analysis presentation that makes up one-sixth of their final grade.

The course syllabus calls BA 466, Integrative Strategic Experience, “the undergraduate capstone course at Oregon State University’s College of Business.” It’s designed as the final preparation for students before beginning their careers and/or graduate school.

Joshi taught two sections of BA 466 winter term, roughly 60 students, and following the last midterm exam in mid-February he divided the students into 12 teams; each team’s mission was to analyze a problem faced by an actual company and make a set of strategic recommendations using knowledge and concepts picked up throughout the course.

The teams, dressed in business attire, made their presentations in class during dead week, meaning they had about three weeks to get everything together. Each presentation was 20 minutes, plus a 10-minute question-and-answer period.

The problems were given to the students in the form of classic cases that are part of the business curricula at either Stanford or MIT, Joshi said. Each dealt with an industry and company the students hadn’t yet studied – industries included automobiles, solar power and pharmaceuticals – and they were required to use only the information given to them in the roughly 30-page case studies.

“I wanted to simulate a real managerial situation,” Joshi said. “Often a manager is given incomplete, imperfect information and has to make the best decision he can based on that – he can’t simply look on the Internet and find a solution. We want to teach critical thinking. And the teams were picked at random because in the business world, unless you own the company, you don’t get to build your own team.

“From my own experience as a manager, I believe many aspects of management are conversational,” added Joshi, a former electrical engineer who’s worked for a variety of firms including BeVocal, Inc., a voice-recognition-technology company he founded and later sold. “You have to engage co-workers and colleagues in dialogue and discussion and debate so you can figure out what’s going on, and I want to help students be more persuasive in their management decisions, to create more compelling points.”

Solar energy was the industry this team spoke about. From left are Gunther Klaus, Melissa Marcaletti, Joseph Forrest, Alex Lewellyn and Jiyuan Yao.
Solar energy was the industry this team spoke about. From left are Gunther Klaus, Melissa Marcaletti, Joseph Forrest, Alex Lewellyn and Jiyuan Yao.
Emma McIlroy explains the WF Intern Challenge to College of Business students.
Emma McIlroy explains the WF Intern Challenge to College of Business students.

Emma McIlroy, co-founder and CEO of tomboy-style clothing retailer Wildfang, was on campus Feb. 26 to invite students from multiple College of Business disciplines to compete for a pair of paid 10-week internships at the Portland-based startup.

The deadline is April 14 to enter the WF Intern Challenge. The challenge is actually five separate challenges that students can choose from depending on their major, expertise and experience.

Basic details are as follows:

  • Design and merchandising students are asked to create four to six pieces for Wildfang’s fall/holiday 2015 Tomboy collection, each retailing for less than $100.
  • Marketing students can either come up with a five-day run-of-show social media campaign, or identify two key consumer moments in 2015 and show a plan “to activate them for Wildfang.”
  • Business students’ mission is to predict where Wildfang might be in five years and give three examples of how the company could potentially modify its business and/or operating models.
  • Operations students are tasked with figuring out the metrics that matter most to a business like Wildfang and how they might trend over the next two years, and providing three initiatives to improve in some or all of those areas.

Nine students attended McIlroy’s presentation in Austin Hall. Wildfang is hoping to hire two interns, each of whom will receive a $1,000 stipend and course credit.

“We’re looking for people with a passion for learning and understanding our brand and our consumers,” she said.

For more information on the intern challenge, visit http://on.fb.me/1MvQ9re.

For more on the company, go to www.wildfang.com.

Employers and students descended on the CH2M HILL Alumni Center ballroom for the mock interviews.
Employers and students descended on the CH2M HILL Alumni Center ballroom for the mock interviews.

Representatives from 23 employers helped College of Business students prepare to compete for jobs Feb. 20 during 5½ hours of mock interviews at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center.

Among the participating organizations were COB corporate partners Mutual of Enumclaw and adidas.

“We’ve developed a very strong relationship with the College of Business, and every time we interact with someone from the business school, we walk away amazed at how much of a partnership we’ve built and how cool the students are,” said Larry Beck, a trainer for Mutual of Enumclaw who was conducting mock interviews at Oregon State for the first time.

Added adidas recruiter Thomas Stuyvesant, also a first-time mock interviewer: “We get a lot of talent from OSU, so it’s important for us to maintain that relationship. It’s about pipelining and building goodwill and preparing these strong students to be successful in their careers. It could pay immediate dividends for us, or it could be down the road.”

Prior to the start of the afternoon session, Stuyvesant said he was “very impressed” with the students he’d talked to.

“It’s been great,” he said. “I’ve interviewed four so far, and they’ve all had obvious strengths. One of them, I wish he’d have applied for our internship; he’d have been a great candidate.”

Student reactions to the interviews were just as positive.

“I thought it was so helpful,” said Megan Goody, a junior in finance and management, following an interview with a representative from Target. “I haven’t done a lot of interviews, and she made me feel relaxed, at ease about this whole situation. I was so nervous going into it.

“I think you just need to relax before you answer a question and not let nerves get to you. Take a deep breath — you do have a second to think.”

Mohannad Hadi, a senior business information systems student, interviewed with a representative of the State of Oregon.

“It was really worth it,” he said. “She gave me a lot of advice. I’m planning to get a graduate degree, and she gave advice about what fields to go into.”

And he also learned a key lesson about being a strong interviewee.

“That I should relate my answers to experience listed in resume,” Hadi said. “That was really useful.”

Delaney Howard, right, interviews with Thomas Stuyvesant of adidas.
Delaney Howard, right, interviews with Thomas Stuyvesant of adidas.
Allison Scallon, right, with Olivia Gonzales at a viewpoint overlooking  the Dolomites.
Allison Scallon, right, with Olivia Gonzales at a viewpoint overlooking the Dolomites.

Studying abroad means gaining insights about yourself as well as about other cultures, two Oregon State University design seniors said after spending fall term 2014 in Florence, Italy.

“I learned I was more independent than I thought,” said Allison Scallon, an apparel design and merchandising management major who studied at Accademia Italiana, an international fine arts university.

Scallon was one of nine OSU students at AI last fall, a group that also included apparel design major Haley Lillybridge.

“Don’t be the thing that limits you from doing what you want,” Lillybridge said. “There are plenty of other limitations – don’t let yourself be one of them. Get yourself out of your comfort zone.”

Lillybridge and Scallon were among seven students who took part in a panel discussion in January aimed at encouraging others to study abroad. The panel also included Aaron LaVigne, who studied in Denmark; Cristina Juarez-Hernandez (Thailand); Elyse Hathaway (Germany); Fiona Bai (Spain); Arseniy Goldberg (Czech Republic) and Phung Mach (South Korea).

Haley Lillybridge, with the ruins of Pompeii in the background.
Haley Lillybridge, with the ruins of Pompeii in the background.

For Lillybridge, Accademia Italia fulfilled a five-year-old aspiration that originated with an 11-day tour to Switzerland, Italy and France that she took while a junior in high school in Bremerton, Wash.

“It was just a quick view of everything, and Florence was my favorite city,” she said. “I wanted to come back; I always had that goal to live abroad.”

She took five courses in Italy – history of 20th century fashion, history of Tuscany, advanced Italian, graphic design, and screen printing – and visited 11 countries.

“I’m a cold-weather person, so I went north and west,” said Lillybridge, who’s the president of the OSU snowboarding club, C.ORE Freeride, and aspires to a career in the technical design of winter outerwear.

Scallon’s interests, meanwhile, lie in surfwear product development – she’s from Burbank, Calif. – and she also had five classes in Florence: photographing Florence, fashion illustration, Italian, collections, and history of fashion.

Her photography class included stops at places such as the home of Michelangelo.

“We had a museum pass that allowed us to go to basically any museum in Florence,” said Scallon, who two months after returning still thinks about her trip every day.

She advises students considering going abroad to “just do it.”

“Don’t have fear,” she said. “You’ll learn a lot about yourself. The world is big but not that big – I met an OSU alum in Amsterdam.”

For more information about studying overseas, visit http://business.oregonstate.edu/international-opportunities.

Lillybridge took this photo from the Great Tower in San Gimignano, Tuscany.
Lillybridge took this photo from the Great Tower in San Gimignano, Tuscany.
Students and employers mingle at last month's career fair.
Students and employers mingle at last month’s career fair.

More than 100 employers and about 800 students came together Feb. 18 at the all-majors winter career fair hosted by OSU’s Career Development Center at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center.

Afterward, the College of Business and the Department of Athletics held a reception in the Reser Stadium loge that gave COB students and Beaver athletes a chance to connect with prospective employers in a less formal, more conversational setting.

Strong consensus among recruiters and job seekers alike indicated that both events were valuable as well as enjoyable.

“I love going to these things,” recent marketing graduate Chris Pham said at the career fair. “It’s a great chance to network.”

“It’s excellent,” agreed freshman pre-business student Sean Fox, who had talked with roughly a dozen companies. “I’m trying to position myself so that two or three years from now I can put together a resume that looks like I have five or six years of experience.”

A few hours later in the loge level of the football stadium’s northeast grandstand, College of Business students had a second opportunity to market themselves.

“More informal conversations, more personal,” is how Matt Adams, a junior studying finance and business information systems, described the after-hours reception. Among other things, Adams used the event as a chance to talk with a representative from Fisher Investments for a fifth time.

“Anytime students get to interact with professionals, it’s great,” said Sukhpreet Singh, a senior double-majoring in business information systems and accounting. “I’m trying to get a lot of companies interested in me and weigh which is the best fit for me. You can’t know what’s the best fit if you only look at one or two.”

Slade Crooks, general manager of Foodguys, called the after-hours reception “a great event.”

“You get to talk to students in a more casual setting and get insight into who they really are,” he said. “I’m looking for people interested in sales, so I watch how they interact, who the wallflowers are, who are the aggressive ones who put themselves out there.”

Juili Tonape, an MBA student in the marketing track, was trying to do just that. She admitted, though, “it’s not really natural for me. It’s a little overwhelming.”

In all, the reception featured more than 100 students and representatives from roughly 80 businesses.

 

Three dozen students, roughly double the size of Oregon State’s typical contingent, immersed themselves in the fashion industry’s biggest trade show last month, the world-renowned MAGIC event in Las Vegas.

Chrissy Walter, left, and Eliot Frack enjoyed the Women's Wear Daily photo booth.
Chrissy Walter, left, and Eliot Frack enjoyed the Women’s Wear Daily photo booth.

“It’s usually 18 or 20, but I can’t justify turning anyone down,” said apparel design instructor Marianne Dickson, who led the group. “Especially because the more people who go, the cheaper it becomes. I have students who have never left Oregon, never been on plane, but it’s a really great experience even for people who travel all the time.”

The three-day, two-night trip is a relatively inexpensive one since MAGIC grants Dickson and her students free admission.

“We’re one of the few schools that go – I don’t know why,” she said. “We started about eight years ago. I just called and got permission and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

MAGIC stands for the Men’s Apparel Guild In California, which organized its first show in 1933 in Los Angeles. The twice-yearly events, one in February, the other in August, have been held in Las Vegas since 1988. About 80,000 people were at the Mandalay Bay and Las Vegas convention centers for the most recent edition of the largest global marketplace for apparel, accessories, footwear and sourcing resources.

“Students get to see thousands of brands that have booths, large and small, and they get to see the products that will be in stores in three to six months,” Dickson said. “They get to witness buyers from all over the world meeting with brands and placing orders and hear about the latest trends in fashion and manufacturing.”

Eliot Frack, a senior double-majoring in apparel design and merchandising management, learned that when it comes to deal-making, everything is “a huge haggle.”

“How it’s delivered, who it’s delivered to, who’s paying for shipment – you hear conversations going on all over the place in the background,” she said.

Grant Abel, a senior in merchandising management, took note of the power of social media.

“One thing that I genuinely enjoyed seeing as a man who loves men’s fashion and men’s-only brands were smaller, luxury brands that I’ve discovered through social media,” he said. “To get to this point where the public already supports and buys from them gives much more leverage going into talks with buyers; it’s a huge advantage in today’s retailing world that can make or break your chances of success.”

Among the OSU contingent were, from left, Sara Smee, Haley Price, Chrissy Walter, Riley Nelson, Megan Hiatt, Eliot Frack, Serena Tucker and John Conner.
Among the OSU contingent were, from left, Sara Smee, Haley Price, Chrissy Walter, Riley Nelson, Megan Hiatt, Eliot Frack, Serena Tucker and John Conner.
Cameron Stanislowski picks up tips from OSU alum Katie Barger, who works for Nike.
Cameron Stanislowski picks up tips from OSU alum Katie Barger, who works for Nike.

Representatives from more than 50 companies were at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on Wednesday for the 29th annual Career Symposium for College of Business students majoring in interior design, graphic design, apparel design and merchandising management.

“It’s great to be involved with people in the industry, and it’s cool they brought it to us,” Hannah Bonilla said during a “life after graduation” networking session featuring Oregon State apparel design and merchandising management alumni who work for companies such as Aquent, Firebrand Sports, Gap and Macy’s.

“You hear what they do and think ‘Oh, I might want to do that too,’” said Makenzie Donnerberg, like Bonilla, a junior majoring in merchandising management.

Fred Meyer, Kohl’s, Nike and SmithCFI were the gold-level sponsors for the four-hour symposium, the theme of which was, “Yesterday’s Dream, Today’s Mission, Tomorrow’s Reality: Shaping the Future of Business & Design.”

Columbia Sportswear and Dream Careers were silver-level sponsors, and traditional-level sponsors included Accademia Italiana, Adidas, American Home & Stone, the American Society of Interior Designers, Buckle, Fine, Hanna Andersson, JanSport, Linn County, Lucy, The North Face, Pacific Furnishings and Pendleton Woolen Mills.

“It’s really fun to walk around and talk to people and see what they’re doing and figure out what I’ll actually do after graduation,” said John Conner, a senior in apparel design. “I’m interested in sportswear but am keeping everything open.”

Senior Cameron Stanislowski, who’s studying merchandising management, said his dream job would be to work in footwear design or footwear product development, ideally in the areas of cleated, training or basketball shoes.

“It’s so useful to have your past classmates come back and talk to you,” he said. “You can network and really find the heart of what you’re into as you prepare to make that transition from graduation into the possible industries you might be in.”

More than 390 students attended.

Claire Rose, an OSU grad working for Macy's, talks to students at the symposium.
Claire Rose, an OSU grad working for Macy’s, talks to students at the symposium.
Elise McClure, left, and Eileen Frack, center, listen as Angelina Lusetti addresses the audience.
Elise McClure, left, and Eileen Frack, center, listen as Angelina Lusetti addresses the audience.

A trio of executives, all College of Business graduates, spent an hour Monday afternoon fielding questions and offering career tips to about 40 students during a panel discussion in the Austin Hall Events Room.

The panel included Angelina Lusetti, a human resources business partner with Target; tax attorney and retired Starbucks vice president Elise McClure, and Eileen Frack, director of executive management development for Daimler Trucks North America.

The session started with suggestions for applying and interviewing:

  • Find a way to make your interview answers stand out from everyone else’s.
  • Be aware that prospective employers are looking at the entire resume, not just grade-point average.
  • Research the organization you’re interviewing with before you go in for the interview.
  • Say you really want the job and why you’d be great at it.
  • Hone your face-to-face communication skills and writing skills, both of which can suffer from too heavy a day-to-day reliance on text messaging.
  • Take pains to come across as a good, friendly person, since many organizations have a strict no-jerks hiring policy.

The talk then shifted to how to establish yourself in your career and move it forward, and the array of tips centered around one key theme: “Manage your own career and compensation,” said McClure, meaning it’s up to you to try to make things happen regarding advancement and raises, because if you don’t, likely no one will.

Other thoughts from McClure:

  • “Don’t be afraid to move.”
  • “Understand the culture of your company.”
  • “Be willing and able to ask questions.”
  • “Be open to what comes,” as in, don’t become hidebound by the career plan you’ve mapped out.

Frack stressed the importance of learning how to say no and trying hard not to work for bosses you don’t like or respect. She also urged students to “find what feeds your soul” and to establish a healthy work/life balance, including serving on boards of volunteer groups, both for community benefit and to develop leadership skills.

Lusetti emphasized balance too, noting that she puts personal activities on her calendar as a means of holding herself accountable to actually doing them. She also told students to be willing to step outside of their comfort zones as a path toward learning and growth.

The Career Success Center organized Monday’s event. For more career advice, drop by the center, Austin Hall 102, and follow it on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/OSUBIZJOBS.

About 40 students attended the panel discussion.
About 40 students attended the panel discussion.
Presenter Katie Merrill talks with schoolmates and students from the UO at the breakfast portion of the meeting.
Presenter Katie Merrill talks with schoolmates and students from the UO at the breakfast portion of the meeting.

You wouldn’t know it from her stylish print dress, but fashion is not a passion for Katie Merrill.

Nevertheless, there the OSU senior was Friday morning, giving an analysis of high-end design company Michael Kors to about four dozen of her peers in an Austin Hall classroom during a joint meeting of the Oregon State Investment Group and the group’s counterparts from the University of Oregon.

“It was kind of nerve-wracking with everyone here,” Merrill said after her 30-minute presentation, during which she recommended both schools’ clubs invest in Michael Kors. “But it’s always fun to present to the combined group. The questions are different.”

Merrill, double-majoring in finance and industrial engineering, said she spent a month preparing for Friday, her fourth such presentation overall.

Her talk, delivered to a dressed-for-success audience, followed a presentation by Oregon’s Matthew Eden and Michael Lyford, who had analyzed Infoblox, a company that deals in IT management tools.

The student investors had no shortage of follow-up questions for the presenters, many of them pointed.

Afterward one of the questioners, the UO’s Graham Simon, a math major, explained: “Someone has to dig into the numbers and find the pressure points.”

The presentations by Lyford, Eden and Merrill came after other club members had given overviews of each group’s three portfolios: Tall Firs, Svigals and DADCO for the University of Oregon, and Large-Cap, DADCO and Russell 2000 Synthetic for Oregon State; DADCO, which stands for the D.A. Davidson Student Investment Competition, features 20 schools throughout the West, each of which is given $50,000 each September to manage. OSIG is the defending champion, having last year turned that $50K into $69,014.35.

The Large-Cap portfolio, which originated with $1 million in funds from the OSU Foundation in October 2008, is now worth $1,944,561.86.

The Oregon State Investment Group meets every Friday from 8 to 10 a.m.

Student investors visit prior to the post-meeting breakfast.
Student investors visit prior to the post-meeting breakfast.
Entrepreneurs fine-tune their plans and their message at the OSU Advantage Accelerator.
Entrepreneurs fine-tune their plans and their messages at the OSU Advantage Accelerator.

Refining the market, retooling the message, reshaping the strategy, reviewing the overall approach – those are the objectives every other Tuesday afternoon when the OSU Advantage Accelerator’s clients give presentations to each other and a group of volunteer mentors from the business community.

The winter 2015 cohort, its third, began its five-month course at the Accelerator the first week of January. Under the co-direction of John Turner and Mark Lieberman and with the assistance of student interns, the Accelerator works with entrepreneurs from Oregon State and the mid-Willamette Valley at large to commercialize their innovations; it focuses on high-growth, traded-sector startups and early-stage businesses.

On Feb. 17, the current cohort presented for the third time – on the way to a total of 10 – as the entrepreneurs tune up their plans and their pitches.

“This group is just getting rolling,” Turner said. “To really appreciate the progress they’ll make, you need to see the evolution over time. Inevitably, you want to compare this cohort to the last, but this one is doing well. They’re making good progress, as good or better progress as the last cohort.”

Six companies comprise the latest group: Beauty Leaf, Inc.; Bridgeway Wellness; Danio Discovery; E-MSion, Northwest Research Laboratories, Inc., and Pure Living.

Beauty Leaf deals with plant-based skin care products, and Bridgeway’s goal is to operate a clinic for tissue regenerative therapies. Danio’s technology involves using zebrafish for pharmaceutical toxicology assessments, E-MSion has come up with an add-on for mass spectrometers, and Northwest Research Laboratories has developed a cleaning-audit product for facilities such as hotels and hospitals. Pure Living’s idea is a website that collects data from different resources regarding the potentially toxic effects of certain chemical compounds on expectant mothers.

“Demo Day is the end point of the process we’re going through now,” Turner said, referring to a June 25 event at which the entrepreneurs will present to an audience at Corvallis’ Majestic Theatre. “We’ll talk about their pitches, work on their pitches, work with them individually, go through the pitch, provide feedback a little at a time, go through the whole process.”

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is part of the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator Network, known as RAIN, created by the Legislature in 2013. RAIN has locations in Corvallis and Eugene, and those cities, along with Albany and Springfield, are partners in the network as well.

For more information, visit http://advantage.oregonstate.edu/advantage-accelerator.