Business students explore future career options through alumni networking.
Today’s students face many questions and challenges during college and upon graduation. What do I want to do with my life? What kind of job do I want to have? Where do I want to work? Students from Ohio Northern University’s Dicke College of Business Administration have many opportunities to get some answers.
During the 2017 spring semester, an alumni networking event at Cardinal Health in Dublin, Ohio, connected several students from the College of Business Administration with ONU alumni employed by Cardinal Health. A Fortune 500 company, Cardinal Health has been positively affected by ONU, given that its CFO, Michael Kaufmann, BSBA ’85, is one of the college’s most distinguished alumni and one of 59 ONU alumni currently employed by Cardinal Health worldwide.
Our students were able to see real-life examples of what their futures could be,” says Dr. Matthew Kutch, assistant professor of economics. “Many of our students came away from the experience feeling inspired to consider new opportunities for possible future paths.
Coordinated by ONU alumnus and Cardinal Health employee Jacob Drerup, BSBA ’12, who works in investor relations, the event gave business students a sneak peek into what a career in the health care industry looks like. Students were treated to a panel discussion with College of Business Administration alumni employed at Cardinal Health’s Dublin headquarters as well as a discussion with Kaufmann himself.
Remembering his own experiences as a student, Drerup is happy to be in a position to help alumni pass on their knowledge to the next generation of ONU students and maybe make their journeys a little bit smoother.
“I help with these kinds of events so that I can give back to students and help set them up for success as they come out of college,” says Drerup. “It’s easy now, being in a career, looking back, but I know how overwhelming it felt to have to make what seemed like irrevocable decisions – having some support can make a big difference.”
Networking with alumni really got the students thinking about their futures. They were able to ask questions, make new connections and find potential mentors who are already where they want to go. What better way for students to learn more about their future careers than to talk to those who do the job?
It was a lesson Cardinal Health’s Polar Bears were all too happy to help share. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that they were in the same situation. For many alumni, the event inspired a sense of responsibility to pay it forward and help mentor those just starting out.
It’s my favorite to be able to meet and connect with students, share my experience and be in that mentor role,” says alumna Kendra (Hearn) Strother, BSBA ’11, who works in marketing at Cardinal Health. “I have several mentors myself, and I think that’s one thing that helped to drive me day-to-day.
The value of mentorship was something the students took to heart. Eric Chen, BSBA '17, a recent pharmaceutical and health care business graduate from Mason, Ohio, went into the event with the intent of networking with fellow Polar Bears in his chosen field. He ended up having a great discussion with alumnus Cody Fisher, BSBA ’12, who followed a similar career path in international business at Cardinal Health. Ultimately, Chen gained something truly special.
“At the end of the event, I left with a mentor who is passionate about helping shape me into the best health care professional I can be, regardless of what company I work for,” Chen says.
So, how do you picture your future self? Although it may not be exactly clear to you now, an education at ONU will likely give you multiple opportunities to find out. And ONU can help connect you with professionals like the ones at Cardinal Health who are happy to help chart your course.