Olivia Walleser | Troy University

Olivia Walleser

Olivia Walleser

B.S.B.A. Global Business - Management
Hometown: Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin
Expected Graduation Date: December 2018

Why did you choose to major in Business?
I wish that this question could be summed up simply -- something along the lines of ‘I had a lemonade stand when I was six and completely fell in love with business. Unfortunately, it is slightly more complicated to explain than just turning lemons in to lemonade. It seems like I have always known that business was the path for me. Sure, I wanted to be a fashion designer and camp counselor just as much as the next girl, but I can’t recall a time when I didn’t have my eyes set on the business world. For me, business is something that gives me a rush like no other. It is communicating and putting together concepts in a way that solves problems. It is creating profit from nothing but a good idea. It is selling the unsellable. It is turning a small business into a global corporation. The options are endless when it comes to what you can do if you have enough ingenuity and spirt. Ultimately that is what draws me to business the most: possibilities.

What will you take away from your coursework?
The Sorrell College really tries to give its students a well-rounded education. I truly believe that I will take away something of value from every single class I have in Bibb Graves. My classes have really allowed me to dig into subject matter and see how it would apply to the real world.

What are some lessons you learned from professors or mentors in the Sorrell College?
The professors I have had in the Sorrell College have been so encouraging. They are always willing to go the extra mile for students who show that they are interested in making the most of their time at Troy. Professor Dove (Business Law) is brilliant. Her class definitely had some complex concepts but she made the challenge doable and engaging because of her first-hand knowledge. She taught me a lot of real world information that I can apply anywhere from the business world to wedding venue contracts! My business communications Professor Tara Morelock also went above and beyond for me. Her class was easily my favorite so far at Troy and taught me incredibly useful skills. She helped me perfect my resume, execute near perfect presentations, and also set our entire class up with mock interviews with community members so we would be prepared for the future. She has also assisted me tremendously outside of the classroom and really helped me narrow down just exactly what I may want to do in the future, as well as offered to connect me with individuals who can broaden my network! And of course, all of the marketing professors involved in Marketing club go above and beyond to give their students the best experiences possible.

How should business students build their networks?
I used to hate hearing the phrase “It’s who you know” because in an ideal world if a person works hard enough, they will get great opportunities. This is still true, but success is infinitely easier if you know the right people. In the past, I would be terrified to go talk to my teachers but they are the ultimate resource! Same goes to your class mates and past employers. I still use my high school fast food manager as one of my references because he is so familiar with my work ethic and commitment! Also, find someone to be your mentor. My boss Megan at my summer internship has helped me in too many ways to count. She has even helped me find leads at other companies for possible future employment and looked over my resume about a million times.

Have you participated in any extracurricular activities (internships, etc.) during your time at TROY?
During the summer of 2016 I had the privilege of being the events and marketing intern for a company called American Orthodontics. I already know the next question: What does orthodontics have to do with event planning and marketing? I found out that the answer is everything! American Orthodontics is the largest privately held manufacturer of orthodontic material in world. I helped plan and execute events and customer summits all over the US and even got to contribute venue ideas for a gala being held in Milan, Italy. Through this experience I was able to interact and correspond with sales associates from all over the world including Ireland, Belgium, Australia and more. I interacted with their customers as well! I even got to practice copy writing and saw my writing on a national brochure.

I would not have been as prepared as I was without the help of many of my professors. Thanks to Professor Thompson (Marketing) I was brave enough to pitch some of my own ideas about a market research survey being sent to customer during a meeting. Because of what he had talked about with us in class I was able to keep up in the meeting and reference current trends.

My professors at Troy also prepared me well for how to act in business meeting settings. When two of my bosses and I got to go to Lambeau field, home of the Green Bay Packers and listen to a pitch about potential corporate sponsorship I knew exactly how to handle myself. And I also got to have fun while doing it! I know that I never would have been invited had I been unprepared. Lastly, getting to go to Chicago on a business trip to help execute an event outside of corporate headquarters was the ultimate payoff!

During the school year I also try and stay pretty busy. I am involved in Marketing Club, the honors program, Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, and am a Trojan Ambassador. I also am the Vice President Standards for my sorority. My biggest task, however, is being Editor in Chief of Troy Odyssey, an online forum that helps millennials have a voice and start conversations with their writing. This role has actually taught me a lot more about business and a whole lot less about editing than you’d think! I am in charge of managing over 20 individuals, which includes hiring, firing and everything in-between. It is also my goal to train the team to make their articles marketable and have top shares. It takes a lot of my time but is extremely rewarding because I get first-hand experience managing people! Plus, my managing editor Lindsey in New York City has become an amazing mentor and resource.

Have these experiences helped you clarify what you want to do after graduation?
Figuring out what I want to do for the rest of my life is sort of a scary concept. But it would be even more terrifying if I didn’t have the opportunities to practice before I make the real tough decisions. Internships, mentors, and shadowing experiences have helped immensely. My internship and leadership roles showed me what I love, and also what I hate.

What advice do you have for current or future TROY business students?
The biggest piece of advice I could give to someone is to go out and get some experience in any way, shape, or form that you can! Never think that you are too good for a job. You’re never going to get a career or internship waiting around for it to find you. Apply for whatever you could find interesting, even if it’s a long shot. A few other tidbits of advice for when you do land that internship are to practice talking on the phone (apparently it’s impressive because all we millennials are good for is texting), always pay attention in meetings (even if the subject doesn’t pertain to you) and never forget the power of a handwritten thank you note. Also, make the most of your time at Troy by taking every class seriously. Each one will probably teach you something you need to know! And don’t be afraid of “hard” professors – sometimes they are the ones that teach you the most.