Matthew Douglas graduated in 2007 with a Marketing degree. He is currently employed by Shell Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Royal Dutch Shell is one of the world's top oil producers. He is currently stationed at AlbianSANDS Energy Inc. in northern Alberta working on the Athabasca Oil Sands Expansion Project. “I was hired as a Junior Buyer in the Supply Chain Management Department of Shell Canada Ltd. in a New Graduate Position. This position has a duration of three years at which point I will be evaluated based on my performance and repositioned in the company into a permanent role. Since I have just started at this job it is difficult to explain completely the scope of my employment. This is a very exciting time as it is essentially the "black gold rush" in northern Alberta with the potential to supply North America with enough oil for the next 200 years.”
Much of the reason that Matthew chose SVSU was because he was recruited to play baseball. When he decided to enroll, he was honored as a President’s Scholar and a Horizon’s Scholar. The Horizon Scholarship allows Canadian students to receive in-state tuition rates. This was a huge benefit for Matthew because his hometown is Ontario.
The Marketing program at SVSU is something that Matthew thoroughly enjoyed. One aspect of the program that Matthew particularly liked was the small class size because it allows the students to interact directly with the professors. “Learning occurred on a personal level instead of simply through textbook reading and mundane lectures.” Matthew also raves about the facilities at SVSU, stating that they are “top-notch.” “I enjoyed being able to experience learning through the latest technologies such as the "smart podiums", computer communication interfaces (VSpace, VSpace, etc.), etc.” In addition to the other reasons why Matthew loved his program, the marketing program at SVSU is very group-oriented, which appealed directly to Matthew’s needs. “I personally found this extremely valuable since many positions in the "real world" involve collaborating in teams and managing group dynamics.”
Matthew enjoyed many of the classes he took, even the ones outside of his major program. He feels that many of these miscellaneous classes will help him out in the real world. “For instance, I know in my current position I will not only be expected, but required, to use elements of various classes such as marketing, management, finance, business law, communication, sociology, and even psychology. I personally think it's important to have a balance of academic learning in order to formulate a well-rounded, educated individual upon graduation. SVSU has managed to attain this goal.”
Matthew speaks very highly of the faculty he encountered at SVSU, stating that most of them were very instrumental in molding him into the well-rounded business professional he is today. However, Matthew was able to choose two members that immensely helped him grow into the professional he is.
“I would like to recognize Dr. Marwan Wafa, the Dean of the College of Business and Management. Dr. Wafa gave me the opportunity to participate on the College of Business and Management Student Advisory Council. Our goal on the "Council" was to give SVSU business students a voice in the future of all business programs. The students on the council raised concerns to the administration about issues such as class scheduling conflicts, academic affairs problems, SVSU's reputation in the local business community, and so on. The council also gave me the opportunity to network with some of the most influential business leaders in the Mid-Michigan area. Dean Wafa genuinely cared about the concerns of the students and implemented new policies based on the recommendations supplied to him by our council. Dr. Wafa continues to make the right changes in order to ensure that the SVSU College of Business and Management is the best that it can possibly be today, tomorrow, and in the future!”
“I would also like to recognize Dr. Gary Clark, Professor of Marketing and Management. He was not only a professor but a personal mentor and, most importantly, a dear friend that I will stay in touch with for years to come. Dr. Clark offers his students the opportunity to participate in client-funded, real world projects that truly make a difference in the local community. As one of Dr. Clark's students I got the chance to:
create marketing and advertising materials for the construction of a Boundless Playground in Kochville Township; create a business plan and analysis for a local tutoring organization; and create market research that helped the Bay Area Family YMCA make a multi-million dollar relocation decision. Dr. Clark does his best to intertwine real world business practices with classroom learning in a way that really relates to his students. He made me a better writer, a better speaker, a better team member, and most importantly, a better critical thinker. I can't thank him enough for all that he has done for me.”
These projects taught the business students: key marketing concepts; supplied them with invaluable networking opportunities; and gave them a taste of how business operates in the real world. “Dr. Clark also gave me the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for a Marketing Principles class and even volunteered as a staff advisor on my curricular practical training project that I completed titled, ‘The Marketing of Sports Entertainment.’” This just shows how many faculty members go above and beyond to help their students succeed.
Because Matthew is Canadian, he was awarded the opportunity to participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). CPT allows students who otherwise would not be able to work in the United States the opportunity to be a part of a company that conducts business within the scope of the student's major in order to gain course credit. After completing CPT, students are also allowed the opportunity to participate in OPT. OPT is equal to one year of full-time, paid employment. Students usually choose to participate in OPT after graduation in order to gain some experience in their field of study. Many are eventually hired by the company that they complete OPT with. “I was lucky enough to be able to work with the Saginaw Spirit OHL Hockey Franchise for the duration of my CPT and OPT. I had a great time working at such a world-class organization. My job with the Spirit allowed me the opportunity to interact with fans, present world-class entertainment, and network with influential business leaders in the Mid-Michigan area.”
In response to what opportunities are available to marketing graduates from SVSU, Matthew replied with, “Opportunities are endless. The only limitations that you have are those that you enforce on yourself. SVSU gave me the tools to succeed in the real world. The moral of the story... don't ever give up on your dreams. If you believe in yourself and work hard enough you can do anything!”