Success Starts Here: Getting Off to a Good Start!

| Gretchen Hutterli

"Success Starts Here" is a series of six articles that introduce new students to the UW-Eau Claire College of Business. This is the last article in the series.

Getting off to a good start

Hello Blugolds! This fall we welcome 387 new business students to campus. If you are anything like past classes, you are eager to begin your college career and experience everything it has to offer. Because your success is important to us, we've asked alums, students, and faculty and staff for tips you can use to help make your first year a great one.


From business alums and friends

Mark Faanes, Partner, Wipfli LLP
I wish someone would have shared with me that my college years would be some of the best years of my life. So my advice for a new student is to take your studies seriously, but enjoy the ride! It goes fast!

JR Menard, Executive VP and Treasurer, Menard, Inc.
Get involved!  From rec sports to student groups the best way to create meaningful, lasting and positive influences and relationships is to participate in activities that not only interest you, but push your comfort level and allow you to explore what you are made of.

Mark Oldenberg, Chief Financial Officer, Peoples State Bank
Make use of all of the resources provided on campus. That means being involved with student organizations, meeting with your advisor and getting an internship in your field of interest.

Jill Riemenschneider, Sales Lead-North America, pladis Global
I wish someone would've told me to take a wide variety of courses in addition to my major courses. Having a broad subject range is incredibly helpful when interacting with people regardless of your field.

Steve Senn, President & CEO, Senn Blacktop (retired)
You have a lot of dreams, great fun, & incredibly exciting knowledge in front of you that you will never forget for the rest of your life. Work at it and enjoy it!

Greg Schmidt, VP-Finance, Coloplast
Congratulations on joining the College of Business! You've already come so far and have done so much; and you have a very bright future ahead of you. My biggest advice is to stay curious. Take the time to learn about others, continue to immerse yourself in new experiences, ask lots of questions. Being curious is not only a behavior, it's a skill. Develop the skill of being curious now, and I promise it will help you be successful when you begin your career after graduation.

Kimberly Underwood Supply Chain Director – Contract Manufacturing, Ecolab
Get involved with clubs/groups outside of class!  It’s a great way to begin to build your network, which can support you for year to come!

From students

Kyle Kolb, President, Financial Management Association
Scheduling classes in college can be very stressful! Get as many credits as you can early on. The more credits you have, the early you will be able to register and get the classes you need to graduate. College is what you make of it and the classroom is not the only place to learn a lot while you are in college! Be motivated!

Justin Mack, President, PSE
The most important part of your freshman year is if something is new to you, try it! Hang out with new people, try new food, listen to new music, try new hobbies, join new organizations - the list is endless. College is most rewarding when you get out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself into new and exciting things. This will allow you to find what you're truly passionate about early on, so you can make the most out of your college experience.

Rodrigo Mendoza, Accounting and Finance student
No matter what happens, whether you don’t do as well as you thought, change majors, or have a difficult class, always remember this: You do belong here and you will get through it. You’re not alone, reach out for help if you need it.

Dier Pulatov, Financial Management Association
Network, network and network! It is a key to get the most out of your college experience. Networking does not cost you much, but brings incredible value that you cannot find anywhere else. It is how I got every job listed on my resume! Invest your time early, and you will have competitive advantage over your peers.

Brock Schauer Secretary, Financial Management Association
Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. College is full of new experiences and the best way to overcome the change is to embrace it. This may mean joining clubs, taking a wide range of classes or participating in a recreational sport you’ve never played before. We are given tremendous opportunities at UWEC, but overall your experience here will be a result of the effort you put into it.

Ashley Tettamanzi, Double Major Marketing and Finance
Take advantage of the opportunities as a Blugold! Whether it be joining organizations, attending networking events for your major, or getting to know your classmates/professors. Make the most out of every day, the years will fly by. Before you know you it, you will be a graduating senior moving on to the next chapter of your life!

Brandon Yates, President, UW-Eau Claire Student Body
I wish someone had told me about all the different types of opportunities there are on campus, and specifically about the opportunities there are when you join a College of Business org.  These opportunities offer you everything from new friendships to leadership experience, to possible internship and employment opportunities.  

From faculty and staff

Mark Alfurth, Senior Lecturer, Accounting & Finance
Get involved! Meet as many people as you can, get involved in student orgs, start a study group, participate in your classes. HAVE FUN! But  remember the primary reason you are here — to prepare for your future through education.

Dr. Raj Aroskar, Department Chair, Accounting & Finance
Be open to new people and ideas. Ask questions and listen to a variety of viewpoints before forming judgments. Having an open mind will help you gain a more complete picture of the people you meet and the world you live in.

Faith Bogstad, Dean's Assistant, COB Dean's Office
Don’t be afraid to ask a question – from anyone! Whether it’s directions or information - we can at least direct you to who you need to speak to!

Dr. Kranti Dugar, Assistant Professor, Management & Marketing
Take the time to get to know your professors. Ask them about their research interests and experiences. Build bridges you might walk on for the rest of your life.

Emily Elsner Twesme, Lecturer, Business Communication
Do somethings that scares you – take a healthy risk! NOW is the time in your life to try new things.

Dale Fenton, Academic Advisor
Ask questions early and often. Smart and effective students seek out information and ask for help when needed.

Jessica Franson, Distance Learning Coordinator, iDocs
Take time to dive down “internet rabbit holes” during their academic career. Learn to investigate beyond what you encounter in your textbooks and course materials. Ask questions, consider new perspectives, read articles, engage with experts on social media, watch videos. Remember to exercise caution when validating reputable sources of information. Starting these habits now will extend your learning experience well after receiving your diploma.

Jessica Gardner, Lecturer, Management & Marketing; Coach, Blugold Sales Team
Be willing to go outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Now is the time to find something you are passionate about -- there are so many ways on our campus to get involved. Find at least one new thing that you want to do your first year and do it!

Dr. Kevin Hansen, Assistant Professor, Health Care Administration
Relax. Deep breaths. You will make it through this . . . Take time to study, do your homework, but also take time for YOU, to de-stress, enjoy all of the Blugold experience, and make friends.

Dr. Nancy Hanson-Rasmussen, Assistant Professor, Management & Marketing
Attend class! Resist the temptation to skip a class. Not only do you gain valuable information in class, but you also get to know fellow students and develop friendships. The more people you get to know in a class, the more fun it is.

Dr. Tom Hilton, Professor, Information Systems
Always remember the faculty want you to graduate and have a great life. Rely on us as your allies.

Cindy Hofacker, Senior Lecturer, Business Communication
Come to class a few minutes early and select a chair near the front or on the aisle—your instructor will have more opportunity to visit with you casually before class. Put your phone away and “be that person” who talks with your classmates rather than surfs social media.

Gretchen Hutterli, Assistant Dean, Dean's Office
Put down your iPhone and get to know the people on your dorm floor. Many Blugolds have made lifelong friendships with students they met their freshman year.

Dr. Tony Keys, Department Chair, Information Systems
Learn to be a student - get a handle on life and classes, recognize your challenges and address them. Grades aren’t everything – but they are worth something, so focus on working for good grades right from the start.

Dr. Kristy Lauver, Department Chair, Management & Marketing
Make sure to get involved.  Talk to your professors - they are here to help you.  Keep your grades up - it's much easier to keep your GPA up than have to bring it back up.

Dr. Paula Lentz, Academic Program Director, Business Communication
Get to know your professors. We really do like to see you, and we want to help you with whatever you need. Or just stop by our office and say, "hi".

Major Matthew B. Kelly, ROTC
Prioritize your time - stay on top of your school work and make sure to work in some time for fun.

Dr. Bill Miller, Professor, Accounting & Finance
Regularly go and speak to your professors outside of class. We are here to help. In my experience the students who do seek us out, do better in school than those who don’t.

Dave Nesvacil, Coordinator, COB Instructional Technology
Your laptop will be an important and essential tool during your time here on campus. Have good antivirus software, perform backups, and keep it up to date. Don't forget to utilize your network drives! All students get 2GB of storage for their personal H: drive, and it is backed up twice a day. Finally, never give out your UWEC password under any circumstances! If an email looks suspicious, delete it! 

Dr. Brent Opall, Assistant Professor, Management & Marketing
College is a great time to build character. Surround yourself with people you admire and respect and spend free hours exploring organizations that build character and allow you to develop leadership skills.

Dr. Jean Pratt, Interim Associate Dean, Dean's Office
Get to know at least one faculty member really well each semester. We really want to get to know you. The value we can provide along the way in the form of reference letters later will really benefit you.

John Reichert, Lead Business Academic Advisor
Transition and change affects everyone differently. If you are struggling reach out to someone. We are all here to help you be successful.

Erik Rotvold, Academic Advisor
Meet with your adviser before you are required to do so for registration. Don't be surprised if her or she isn't the person you met during summer orientation. And we've moved! Come visit us in Old Library 2100.

Ann Rupnow, Coordinator, Entrepreneur Program
Use your college experience to become a critical thinker or to advance critical thinking skills you already have. In addition, remember the value of meeting people and creating relationships. It’s a lifelong practice that requires tending, and enriches life – both professionally and personally.

Dr. Scott Swanson, Professor, Management & Marketing
GO TO CLASS, do the readings and keep up with the work, use your campus resources and your professors if you need help.

Brenda Thalacker, Senior Lecturer, Accounting & Finance
Know that your professors want to see every student succeed. We know it can be difficult to be in such a different environment than what you had been in. Don’t be afraid to come to us if you need help.

Dr. Tim Vaughan, Interim Dean, Dean's Office
Come to college ready to explore and take advantage of as many opportunities as you can. This is a time in your life that provides great opportunity, and little real penalty for trying things that are out of your comfort zone. You are here to learn, but not all of that learning is going to occur in your classes.


Introducing the Class of 2022! Meet your classmates, business faculty, staff, advisors, and student leaders, Tuesday, September 5 from 2-3:30 pm in the Davies Center Ojibwe Ballroom. Watch your email for more details.