The Business Department celebrated major triumphs in the 2016 spring semester with their Enactus and SHRM clubs earning high recognitions.
Enactus, Entrepreneurial-Action-US, is an organization that holds a presence in more than 17,000 universities, unifying driven business students worldwide. Olivet’s chapter of Enactus has existed for more than 20 years, with more than 70 members this school year.
The club’s participation in national Enactus competitions has ranked them alongside some of the nation’s major-league universities. For the past 13 years Olivet has won at Enactus regionals, then moved up to the national level competition, said Enactus coordinator Professor Lynda Allen.
Enactus teams work on a large variety of projects throughout the school year, putting marketing, finance, inter- national business and many business services into real-life contexts. Olivet’s members worked on 14 different service projects in the 2015-2016 school year. Examples range from VITA, a team of finance students who provided the local community with tax assistance, to the Bridge Project, a team who generated a marketing plan for a teen-focused non-profit.
This year’s prevailing presentation team included junior Rachel Blunier, senior Matthew Bowden, junior Kaleb Miller, junior Wes Neil and junior Ayla Price. As 16 judges sat before them, the team presented an overview of the effects Olivet’s projects had created in the past year.
Price, a three year Enactus veteran, found herself on the presentation team for the very first time. Price said that during the presentation her “internal body was freaking out, even though my mind was totally calm.” Fellow presenter Blunier agreed. “I intentionally joined the competition team because I wanted to overcome my own numbness,” Blunier said.
The nerves were not a result of lack of preparation. Price recounted that team met to rehearse the script every day for over a week, running it through repeatedly. After a solid presentation, the group had the rest of the day to network with attending businesses, but the possibility of another trophy obviously loomed ahead. Junior Sam Morey, the team’s accompanying scriptwriter, described the nervous tension that summited as winning teams were announced.
The team had assumed from previous competitions that only three teams per division, or “league,” would move on to Nationals. But after three schools were chosen, Olivet was announced.
Sam recalled that moment with a humored smile. “Most teams started to scream after their name was called. We were totally bummed out because we thought we had already been eliminated. So when they said our name we just sat there, totally confused.” Nevertheless, the superior six will travel to Nationals in St. Louis this May for another shot at maintaining Olivet’s Enactus status.
Olivet’s success in the national SHRM conference competition is an equally impressive underdog victory. Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) established an Olivet chapter only two years ago.
Senior Andrew Marcotte, who serves as president of the club, began the process of founding Olivet’s SHRM club as a freshman. His passion, combined with a growing number of other human resource (HR) focused students, earned Olivet a spot in the top third of all clubs in their region.
Senior Ashlee Sullivan described how SHRM competitions are very distinct from Enactus, though both aim at attaining real-world solutions. “This year’s case was a moonlighting policy issue. They gave us the case, asking ‘How would you respond to this?’ We were in charge of organizing a solution and at competition we delivered our ideas.”
Junior Jared Broom, the club’s marketing coordinator, added that the team was given 15 minutes to present. As Broom described, unlike Enactus, SHRM competitions do not require full memorization. SHRM’s emphasis is placed on building resourceful HR solutions, rather than skillful performance.
Allen was aglow with pride. “The strength of the two teams really shows the strength of the department,” she said. She also referenced the new accounting club as yet another example of how the Business Department has taken huge steps towards meeting the diverse passions of Olivet students. “With these clubs, students can now get involved with very specific areas of interest. And it all looks great on a résumé too,” Allen said.
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