November 21, 2014
October 27, 2014
John Stadwick, 1983, B.B.A., came to SVSU in 1978 as a student-athlete. A member of the track team. John was a three-time All American and part of the 1982 and 1983 Men's Indoor National Track Championship team. Today, he serves as vice president of Shanghai-GM Automobile Co. Ltd. (Shanghai-GM) and Vice president of sales, service and marketing for General Motors China.
Lessons learned as a student-athlete helped him achieve success in his professional career.
“On the track team, everybody had different specialties, different strengths,” John said. “We learned to leverage them. This translates into the working world where you identify and leverage individuals’ strengths to build a winning team.”
A native of Harrison Township near Detroit, John chose SVSU because the university was building a nationally-recognized track and cross country program.
“When I was in high school, I received a recruitment package from [track coach] Dr. [Doug] Hansen,” explained John. “I wanted to continue running track and cross country in college, and SVSU seemed to be a good ?t.”
Not only was SVSU a good fit for the college freshman, but it was also a good place to “grow up.”
“Going to college is [often] the first time you live away from home,” John said. “So it’s a big growth time emotionally, physically and psychologically. SVSU provided a positive environment for my growth and development. Those years were very influential in providing me with a solid foundation that I use in decision-making every day of my life.
“A couple of great coaches — Ed Skrelunas and Doug Hansen — acted as mentors to a bunch of young men and women,” John said. “They instilled some pretty good values: integrity, trust, dedication and teamwork. These helped me in my career, especially as I work around the world. You have to build trust; your colleagues need to believe in you, and you need to believe in them.”
John’s road to success has taken him across the country and around the world. After earning his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1983, he joined the district manager-in-training program at GM’s Oldsmobile division in Lansing.
Working for a global company, John realized there were many opportunities outside of southeast Michigan.
His career has taken him from New York to California and points in between. In the late 1990s, John left Oldsmobile to join GM’s corporate office. His first overseas opportunity came in 2004, when he moved to Mexico as director for General Motors Service Parts Operation for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
By that time, John and his wife, Andrea, had three children. The move to Mexico gave them a broader perspective on the world.
“When we moved to Mexico, my daughter participated in a United Nations event with kids from all over the world,” John recalled. “They talked about global politics and shared personal perspectives. My kids’ experiences really made them global citizens.”
Although John hadn’t experienced international travel as a student, he said his experience at SVSU helped prepare him for life abroad.
“Reflecting back, my first roommate was a kid who grew up in Greece,” John said. “Lou Iordanou and I became best friends and are still friends. That was my first exposure to a different culture and language.
“Being on the track and cross country teams taught me how to adapt and adjust to people from diverse backgrounds. I didn’t realize I was even learning those lessons, but they came into play later.”
While in Mexico, John learned to speak Spanish, which led to an appointment as regional director of aftersales for GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. In 2009, he accepted the position of vice president of aftersales for GM International Operations in Shanghai. In 2010, John became president and managing director of General Motors Middle East Operations, based in Dubai.
John’s success earned the attention of Evo Middle East, a leading auto publication, which named him “2011 Man of the Year.” In 2013, Forbes Middle East included John on its “Global Meets Local” list of top influential leaders of global corporations’ regional operations.
Late last fall, John once again packed up his office and returned to Shanghai.
John credits his experience at SVSU as a positive influence and essential in the development of his successful life and career. Because of that, he supports the university.
“I’m not sure I’d be where I am if I had not gone to SVSU,” he said. “I believe in giving back. I want to make sure other students have the same opportunities that were available to me.”
As for his many moves around the world, John credits his wife. “When traveling and relocating around the world, you need strong support from your spouse,” John says. “My wife has moved our family multiple times. I could not have done it without her.”
The road from SVSU to Shanghai has been interesting for John Stadwick, and he’s eager to see where it takes him next, and so is SVSU.
October 21, 2014
Kaustav Misra knows that economics isn’t called the dismal science for its thrilling course content.
“The moment you start with big words, phenomena, concepts — students will leave the class,” the assistant professor in economics said. “Physically, they’ll be there, but mentally, they’ll have left.”
“Your most important job is to keep them alive in the classroom,” he added. That’s why Misra brings laughter to his lectures. “You have to teach it in a way that students feel connected,” he said.
“Then you start bringing the concepts to the table.”
It’s calculated, Misra said. “We joke around, but at the same time, I convey my message through the jokes. No matter what I’m teaching them, I want to make sure they’re getting it.”
And from his experiences, it seems to be working. “They are alive in that classroom,” Misra said. “They talk. They laugh. They argue, and they work with me.”
When you meet him, it’s clear the Calcutta, India, native and Mississippi State University Ph.D. is straightforward. For instance, he knows he has an accent. That’s why he acknowledges it with students on their first day of class.
“I tell them, ‘The accent, you’ve got to deal with,’” he said. “‘But if you think you can deal with it and get along with me, I’m sure the day you step out of this class, you will have learned something from me.’ And students have liked hearing that.”
Overall, though, that’s what Misra wants for them: to think of themselves as investors. “I preach it to students every time I see them: Whatever you’re spending, time or money, find out what you’re getting out of it. Otherwise, you are spending your time and money, and it’s all going to go to the water.”
In fact, from Misra’s teaching, students take theory outside the classroom. During his first semester at SVSU in winter 2011, Misra was teaching his international economics class about how buying and selling currencies can be incredibly lucrative. So students began doing it themselves, and asked Misra for his input.
Today, students still buy and sell currency even as they take classes. Since then, others have stepped forward, asking Misra for investment advice. (He reminds them that this isn’t his expertise and that the risk is entirely theirs, but he’s happy to offer help with the theory.)
But no matter which way you look at it, economics isn’t an exact science. “It’s between a science and an art,” Misra said. “You need an imagination to understand and see it. That’s why the subject is tricky.”
In the end, the study is all an investment, Misra said, and if you stick around, the return is high.
“You open your tired eye and understand the world in a new way.”
October 20, 2014
Betsy Pierce is versed in a variety of topics. Genetics. Accounting. Chronic lung disease. Battlefield 4.
The assistant professor of accounting’s interest in the latter subject, a futuristic war-time video game, doesn’t involve her picking up an Xbox controller, though. Instead, Pierce over the last year has studied the flawed development plan that nearly derailed the video game’s worldwide release in October.
Recently, Pierce and a colleague — Dawna Drum from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire — submitted a case study paper based on the incident to The Accounting Information Systems Educator, an annual publication dedicated to accounting-based education. The paper challenges students to consider their own business strategy when developing and releasing a videogame. Specifically, students are both asked how they would choose an Internet cloud storage client and to consider an exit strategy should that client prove unreliable.
Battlefield 4’s developer, Electronic Arts, experienced such a scenario in the fall when its cloud storage company, Nirvanix, filed for bankruptcy and gave its clients two weeks to remove data from its Internet storage space. The company was able to secure a 2-week extension to the storage deadline, and that relief likely prevented Battlefield 4 developers from losing critical files that could have delayed the game’s multimillion dollar-netting release, Pierce said.
One of Pierce’s many research interests is the growing trend toward firms using cloud storage.
“I’m an old-time accountant, and I lived through the whole automation process, when (companies) had to convince people to use desktop computers,” said Pierce, a practicing accountant until 2000.
She said now members of the American Institute of CPAs are pushing for more firms to use cloud technology.
“It’s interesting to me, and scary,” she said.
It wasn’t so long ago when Pierce’s interests lay in a very different field. The Midland native with a Ph.D. in immunology was a postdoctoral fellow in pediatrics before arriving at SVSU last summer. She was one of a half-dozen people in the world with a focus on studying chronic lung disease in patients who underwent bone marrow transplants.
Before that, she taught courses at the college level on subjects such as genetics and accounting. The experience stuck with her through the years, and when an opportunity opened up at SVSU to educate undergraduates, she applied.
“I love being in the classroom,” she said.
These days, she teaches Financial and Managerial Accounting and is helping revamp the Accounting Information Systems course at SVSU. She recently participated in a study abroad trip in India.
“I’m having a blast,” Pierce said of her SVSU experience.
October 7, 2014
Rosalie Stackpole knows how to seize opportunity. As one of 1,000 summer interns for Quicken Loans, she was determined to seek out new challenges.
“I went in with the attitude that I’m here for a reason,” Stackpole said. “I would speak up at meetings.”
Only a few weeks into the summer, Stackpole received a rare opportunity for an intern: she was part of a team that prepared a marketing campaign proposal they presented directly to Quicken’s CEO.
“I was intimidated at first,” she said.
Anxiety was replaced with confidence – and a lot of assignments – after Stackpole’s team saw their idea endorsed, impressing the company’s leader.
“It was a real pleasure having Rosalie with us this summer,” said Jay Farner, president and CEO of Quicken Loans. “Her enthusiasm and passion is a great representation of the exceptional work we’ve seen from our interns, and we are thrilled to have had as big an impact on her as she has had on Quicken Loans.”
Stackpole made such an impression that Quicken asked her to recruit other SVSU students with the intelligence and work ethic she displayed. While completing her marketing degree, Stackpole remains on the payroll as a campus ambassador, and she is organizing a bus trip for 50 students to visit Quicken headquarters Friday, Oct. 10.
“I tried to sell SVSU while I was there,” she explained. “I’m a Cardinal. That’s what we do.”
In addition to introducing around 1,000 interns to the company each year, Quicken also seeks to sell them on the revival of Detroit.
“It worked on me,” Stackpole said.
Born and raised in the Detroit suburb of Trenton, Stackpole’s parents had reservations about their daughter working in downtown Detroit, but she assured them that their fears were unfounded.
“I walked from Cobo Hall every day and I felt completely safe,” she said. “Quicken expects their interns to work hard and put in long hours, but they also want you to enjoy Detroit.”
Stackpole participated in the “Live Downtown” games, where several companies sponsor employees to compete in socially responsible contests. She was part of a team that raced to see who would be the fastest to fill 500 emergency baskets for the American Red Cross; they won.
“We have actual gold medals,” Stackpole said.
On pace to graduate with her SVSU business degree next May, Stackpole was selected for SVSU’s Vitito Global Business Leadership Institute, an 18-month leadership development program with international travel for SVSU business students. She also remains heavily involved on campus as a manager for the women’s basketball team and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.
Stackpole hopes her current assignment with Quicken leads to an opportunity to work for the company full-time.
“I learned a lot about mortgages,” she said, “and I fell in love with Quicken Loans.”
August 26, 2014
As Leecia Barnes moved closer to graduating from high school in 2011, her parents regularly asked, “What’s the plan?”
Three years later, she’s close to completing that plan — graduating from Saginaw Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance — and already has found success in her next plan, well before most college students do.
Barnes, an intern at Enterprise Holdings since May, impressed her employers enough this summer that she was offered a full-time position at the parent company of several car rental businesses including Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
The Flint native will begin her role as a management trainee after she earns her SVSU degree in December.
“It’s been so great,” she said of the internship that turned into the promise of a full-time job.
Barnes worked at various Enterprise Holdings branches across the Great Lakes Bay Region as an intern this summer, largely assisting in customer service issues. One week, she was put in charge of the Midland branch while a manager was out of the office.
“They trained me up to the point where they could leave me in charge of the place,” she said. “That was cool.”
Her success professionally matches her upward trajectory academically.
When Barnes’ dancing coach recommended she attend SVSU after graduating from Beecher High School, Barnes enrolled at the Saginaw university and began classes in fall 2011 as a recipient of the President’s Scholarship.
Since, she’s also been active as a student outside of the classroom, working for the university’s Admissions office and joining both the institution’s Forte Dance Team — where she currently serves as captain — and the SVSU chapter of Delta Sigma Pi, an international business fraternity.
She credits SVSU’s finance program in part for helping prepare her for the professional world.
“Just listening to how the professors work with their own budgets, it’s helped me figure out how to grow my money and be responsible,” Barnes said.
Those SVSU classes also prepared her to answer her parents’ question — “What’s the plan?” — years in advance. Barnes, who one day intends to apply for graduate school programs in urban planning, hopes eventually to purchase and renovate abandoned buildings while improving struggling neighborhoods.
“I want to get to the point where I can buy (a building) with my own money, and just by listening to how the professors grow their own budgets, it’s helped me figure out how I can do that,” she said. “I want to be able to use that (education) to improve communities.
“What’s the plan? That’s the plan.”
Scott L. Carmona College of Business
Saginaw Valley State University
7400 Bay Road
University Center, MI 48710
Acting Assistant Dean