BIS and the art of bridge building

Madeline Mill.
Madeline Mill.

Madeline Mill figures her education in business information systems makes her a builder of bridges – the type that links the work of data gatherers and analysts with those who need that information to make effective business decisions.

“I was a double major in BIS and accounting,” says Mill. “I picked up BIS at first to help meet 225 credits, which are required to take the CPA exam. But I soon found out that I enjoyed BIS much, much more than I ever would have thought.”

So much so that upon her graduation, she went to work for professional services giant Deloitte as a consultant.

“A lot of people I met in the college weren’t sure what BIS was exactly, but I just like to explain it as the bridge between management and technical processes,” Mill says. “The things learned in BIS classes help students identify how business processes can be improved with technical solutions.”

At OSU, Mills immersed herself in projects undertaken by the Students of Information Management Club. The biggest one involved researching how the university mitigates risk when changes are made to Banner, Blackboard and other computer systems used on campus.

“We made flow charts of the process and made documentation of the process and potential improvements,” Mill says. “This project allowed me to gain real-world experience and help the OSU community. It also made me attractive to potential employers because I stood out for doing this extra project outside of class for my own learning.”

SIM Club.
Members of SIM Club hold signs indicating where their job offers came from.

Internships: The ins and outs


Yuan Feng Chao
Yuan Feng Chao addresses the audience as fellow panelists Tyler Kluempke, left, and Keenan Seguancia listen during the Students Speak Out event on Jan. 27.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and come up with at least one to ask every day.

Find a mentor.

Anticipate interview questions and practice answering them.

Research the company well in advance.

Lose your ego and be ready to learn from everyone in the company.

Develop your communication skills, both the formal and informal ones.

Understand that you’ll likely be asked to do at least some amount of grunt work.

Those were among the internship lessons passed along Jan. 27 by an eight-member panel during Students Speak Out. The Career Success Center organized the event, the first of its kind, and the near-capacity audience of about 50 in the Robert Family Events Room included a mix of majors and grade levels ranging from freshmen to MBA candidates.

Senior panelist Keenan Seguancia praised the first-year students for taking the initiative to learn about internships so early in their college careers and wished he had done the same thing. Seguancia, a business information systems/accounting major, interned with Nike in summer 2014.

In seeking out internships, Seguancia emphasized using the Career Success Center – “They search for opportunities for us day in and day out,” he said – and to research companies to see if their core values and mission statement align with those of the prospective intern. He also stressed the value of joining clubs on campus both for the resume-building and networking value.

Other panelists’ internship firms included Neil Kelly, Daimler Trucks North America, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Naked Wines, Mutual of Enumclaw, Olah Inc. and Robert W. Baird & Co.

Tiga Evans, a sophomore majoring in merchandising management and sustainability, spoke of being ready for whatever questions the interviewers might ask, including in her case, “Why do you want to work for this company?” and even “What is your favorite movie?”

Taylor Wobig, a senior in interior design, urged students not to exaggerate their skills when interviewing, and she also offered a networking tip: When you receive someone’s business card, write down additional information about the person on the back of the card for future reference.

Students Speak Out audience.
About 50 students of varying majors and class levels attended.

And Hannah Taylor, a senior in finance, reminded the students that while internships provide for a variety of interesting and challenging responsibilities, they’re not all glamorous ones.

“Know you might be doing grunt work at the beginning,” she said. “It’s what you’re there for.”

For more information about internships, visit the Career Success Center, Austin Hall 102, and also like the center on Facebook,


Professional development and your brand


Gene Young.
Gene Young.

Ask College of Business students of any major about faculty members who have had a particular impact on them, and the response is likely to include instructor Gene Young.

Young, a former engineer and manager at Hewlett-Packard, created the course he teaches: BA 353. The course title is Professional Development, and Young explains that his class has two primary objectives: “To pop the bubble of what school is versus what happens in the workplace, and to prepare them to give killer interviews.”

“It matters if you’re late,” Young says. “If your boss gives you a task and a deadline and you don’t get it done, you can’t just say ‘I forgot.’ There are no do-overs.”

Being a topnotch interviewee, he says, is all about making a genuine connection with the interviewers and having a story about yourself to tell, and telling it in a confident, coherent manner that includes being able to give examples to back up what you claim your abilities are.

Young explains that hiring decisions, like purchasing decisions, are emotional – you want to hire a particular candidate, or buy a particular car, and then your mind goes to work trying to find logical reasons to justify the desire.

That’s why building an authentic connection with interviewers is so important.

For more information, drop Young an email – he’ll appreciate your initiative – or better yet, enroll in his course.

Austin Hall’s Abacus: Numbers in time

abacus oneOne of the first aspects of Austin Hall, the new home of the OSU College of Business, that visitors can’t help but notice is the artistic array of stainless steel spheres suspended by cables above the building’s central staircase.

To the science oriented, the display might seem molecular in nature, but it’s really mathematical. The artwork by Ray King is called Abacus, named after the ancient tool for counting and calculating.

King lives in Philadelphia and his philosophy is to create “dynamic sculptures that interact with the sun by reflecting light into shadow and refracting light into colors.” He’s exhibited his work internationally since 1976 and has done site-specific artwork throughout the U.S.

King’s Austin Hall creation is actually 24 abaci, each representing an important year in College of Business history — ranging from the 1858 creation of Corvallis Academy, to which Oregon State traces its history, to the 2014 opening of Austin Hall.

A plaque (shown below) on the east-facing wall near the northeast corner of Abacus explains why each date significant and also provides instruction on how to read an abacus. Basically, the columns of spheres stand for thousands, hundreds, tens and ones, with spheres below the abacus’ horizontal rod assigned a value of one each, and spheres above the rod having a value of 10 each.

It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it — though if it takes you a few minutes to do that, don’t feel alone.

For more on Abacus, see

abacus plaque



Allow us to quench your curiosity

Drinking fountain meter
Drinking fountain meter
The third-floor fountain at Austin Hall has already dispensed the equivalent of 6,683 12-ounce bottles.

Likely you’ve satisfied your thirst at an Austin Hall water fountain, so now allow us to quench your curiosity as well.

You’ve probably noticed that each of the College of Business’ four Elkay-brand EZH2O fountains – one per floor – is equipped with a meter that gives a running tally of how many disposable plastic bottles it’s helped eliminate waste from. Those cumulative numbers are nice, but what do they translate to on a level the average Austin Hall water drinker could more readily relate to?

We’re glad you asked, and here’s what we learned:

In a one-week period – in this case from 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, to 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 – the fountains provided enough water to fill 2,528 12-ounce bottles, or 237 gallons. How do we know the bottles referred to are 12 ounces? Experimentation. And in case you were wondering, the meter records water dispensed via the conventional lever in addition to from the bottle-filling sensor.

Here are a few other water fountain fun facts from our informal research project:

—  The second-floor fountain is by far the building’s busiest, having already flowed out water equaling 13,875 bottles in the short history of Austin Hall. During our one-week study period, the number was 1,223, only 72 fewer than the other floors combined.

—  The fourth floor is apparently way less thirsty than the rest. Bottle count to date: 4,516.

—  The third floor has pumped out 6,667 bottles so far.

—  With 7,828 bottles, the first floor combines with the second floor to basically double the joint output of the top two floors.

So ponder all of that the next time you tend to your hydration needs, and reduce your carbon footprint, at an Austin Hall drinking fountain.

Use LinkedIn to your networking advantage

LinkedIn workshop.
Justin Leuck and Carolyn Hoard listen to Career Success Center advisor Tamara Mitchell talk about networking.

Look and sound like a professional.

Ask to be endorsed.

Don’t embellish your capabilities, or worse, make things up.

Don’t include personal information in your profile that you don’t want prospective employers to know about.

Take the time to research groups and then join the ones that seem the most valuable.

These were all among the lessons Wednesday afternoon as career advisor Tamara Mitchell conducted a student workshop in the College of Business’ Career Success Center on how to use LinkedIn, a social networking site aimed at career building.

Mitchell said data from the U.S. Department of Labor show that 75 percent of all jobs in this country are obtained through some form of networking, highlighting the importance of using every type of available tool for making connections with prospective employers.

LinkedIn gives users the opportunity to network with vast numbers of professionals in their field and related ones, provides excellent job search and company research capabilities, and perhaps best of all, it allows organizations to actively and efficiently hunt for job-seekers as they try to fill openings.

“People are going to search for you,” Mitchell said. “You might as well make it easy on them.”

Workshops are scheduled for 3 p.m. at the CSC two of the next three Wednesdays as well. On Jan. 21, the topic is “How to be competitive in the job market.” On Feb. 4, students will learn more about networking skills.

For more information on the Career Success Center and its workshops, visit or drop by the CSC, Austin Hall 102.

Tamara Mitchell
Mitchell explains the best ways to use alumni connections in your job search.


Accelerator clients give progress updates

Corrosion control.

Stan Baker
Stan Baker talks about his company, Baker Seed, which produces nutrient-coated grass seed.

The safe storage of energy.

Sustainably produced sunglasses and ski goggles.

Four-legged military robots whose motion replicates the efficient gait of animals.

Those were just a few of the presentation topics the evening of Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Majestic Theatre in downtown Corvallis as the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator held its first Demo Day.

The event’s aim was to bring together current and future clients for a night of networking and getting the word out regarding their technologies and business operations to an audience that included state Sen. Lee Beyer and various members of the OSU College of Business, including Dean Ilene Kleinsorge.

Beyer, a Democrat from Springfield who represents District 6, led the $3.75 million funding effort in 2013 that created the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator Network, known as RAIN, which has locations in Corvallis and Eugene; those cities, along with Albany and Springfield, are partners in the network as well.

OSU Advantage Accelerator co-directors Mark Lieberman and John Turner hosted the event, at which each member of the fall 2014 Accelerator cohort was asked to give a seven-minute presentation about his product, the technology behind it, the status of the business, and projections about short- and long-term growth and profitability.

The fall cohort includes Agility Robotics, Baker Seed, Bosky Optics, KW Associates, NRGindependence and TAPs, a stainless steel surface modification technology business whose motto is “Solving the World’s Corrosion Problem One Piece of Metal at a Time.”

After the presentations, Lieberman and Turner presented four awards. The Archimedes Award went to Accelerator intern Brady Finkenauer, a wealth management MBA student; the Chasing the Bone Award went to Alex Cruft and Matthew Miner of Bosky Optics; the Pounding the Pavement Award went to Stan and Glenda Baker of Baker Seed, whose product is grass seed coated in nutrients for optimum germination and health; and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Paul King of KW Associates, which aims to solve safety and efficiency problems in the specialty metals and industrial microwave industries.

After the fall 2014 cohort presentations, members of the winter 2015 cohort spoke for a minute or two each outlining the technologies they’d be bringing to Accelerator for commercialization assistance. They’ll get a chance for longer presentations at the next Demo Day, a date for which has not yet been set.

Mark Lieberman and John Turner.
OSU Advantage co-directors Mark Lieberman, left, and John Turner were the Demo Day hosts.


Bosky Optics sunglasses.

Enactus sees big results from small loans

OSU Enactus in Nicaragua.
High-fives from Nicaraguan children were among the highlights for the OSU Enactus group.

For eight members of OSU Enactus, winter break meant a trip to someplace warm, but not to rest and relax.

Enactus is an international group through which university students work to discover their own potential while helping to improve the economic situation of others, and the Beaver chapter of the organization sent a contingent to Nicaragua for continued work on a microloan program there. OSU Enactus has made multiple journeys to Nicaragua, including one last July.

“There were many heartwarming stories that gave us contentment for all of the hard work that had been put in,” Garret Flowers reported on the OSU Enactus blog.

One of them involved a woman named Andrea Sanhante, who has a business that sells tortillas, beans and cheese to community members.

“We were inspired by her work ethic and her ability to multitask with her career and her family,” Flowers wrote. “It is amazing to see how the program impacted her small business. She has said that she has increased her profits by nearly 50 percent.”

For more blog posts from OSU Enactus members, check out, and for more information on the organization, send an email to


Academic advisor living her dream

Ramsing, Allison
Allison Ramsing has been honored as the top new advisor in Region 8.

Allison Ramsing, academic advisor in the Oregon State University College of Business, learned while growing up in tiny Aurelia, Iowa, that life was about meeting challenges and mapping out plans to get where she wanted to be.

As a child she had a condition that, given the state’s agricultural claim to fame, was an obstacle to say the least.

“I was allergic to corn,” she said. “You can imagine how well that worked.”

In the nation’s top corn-producing state, not that well.

But neither the allergy nor her small-town roots – Aurelia had fewer than 1,000 residents, and her high school graduating class numbered just 33 – got in the way of her pursuing, obtaining and excelling at what she calls her dream job: advising design and fashion students.

And her work has drawn the attention of the National Academic Advising Association, which in December named her the Region 8 2014 New Advisor Award Winner. She’ll be honored at the regional conference in Couer d’Alene, Idaho, in March and is eligible for consideration as the national award winner.

Ramsing started at the College of Business in July 2012 as advisor and retention coordinator for the School of Design and Human Environment. She holds a Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kansas, a Certificate of Appreciative Advising from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Production from Iowa State University.

Ramsing consults with her freshmen students at least once a term, and with her upper-level students at least once a year.

“We look at the whole picture,” she said. “How are you doing with your classwork, in your residence hall, with your family, with your friends, are you involved?”

Merchandising management student Magda Ponce calls Ramsing “the reason why I am continuing to pursue an education at Oregon State University.”

Carol Leder, head advisor for the College of Business, cites two examples of Ramsing’s commitment to student development: co-teaching of a freshman-level course, BA 160, designed to instruct students about how to be successful in college, and advising the DAMChic student club that puts out an online fashion magazine of the same name. (It can be viewed at

“As an academic advisor, I am responsible for helping foster each student’s potential and assisting them in understanding the difference between a major and a career,” Ramsing said.


Ten steps toward the right career path

Bart Cleveland
Bart Cleveland has developed branding for a broad range of companies.

Fall term is a good time to begin thinking about a summer internship and researching what needs to be done to be competitive. One way to do that is to attend presentations by professionals.

During most weeks of the term, the Career Success Center offers the opportunity to meet with professionals, learn about their industry and get tips about how to prepare for internship and job searches.


This fall, Bart Cleveland was one of the first professionals to meet with students in Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium. Throughout his career, Cleveland has developed branding for a broad range of brands including Coca-Cola, The Ritz-Carlton and CNN. As the founder of Job Propulsion Lab, he now helps young professionals navigate marketing and advertising careers more successfully.

In a room full of College of Business students, including design, entrepreneurship, marketing and management majors, Cleveland talked about the Ten Steps to the Right Advertising or Digital Careers.

Drawing from his award-winning career as a creative director and through his success mentoring dozens of young professionals and guiding them to careers at top-tier agencies like Wieden+Kennedy, Goodby Silverstein and Mother NY, Cleveland developed the following 10 steps:

Bart Cleveland delivers his presentation.
Cleveland told the students in the audience at Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium to become their own brand.
  1. Get help.
  2. Plot your course.
  3. Build the right portfolio.
  4. Market yourself.
  5. Become a brand
  6. Stalk. Quietly.
  7. Talk. Loudly.
  8. Look like a pro.
  9. Act like a pro.
  10. Don’t blow the interview.

For the complete presentation, you can see his presentation slides via slideshare: Ten Steps to the Right Advertising or Digital Careers.