One of our most popular majors is stronger than ever, with 13 revamped areas of emphasis that companies value when hiring college graduates. And now there is another option: Lakeland's Master of Business Administration fast-track plan!
If your objective is to gain broad exposure to business curriculum, while honing specific areas of expertise, business administration is the major for you.
"I think what makes it appealing for students is that they have a chance to concentrate on a certain area," says Scott Niederjohn, Charlotte and Walter Kohler Professor of Economics and Business and Dean of Lakeland's J. Garland Schilcutt School of Business and Entrepreneurship. "So while they get the broad-based education, they're also asked to pick (at least) one area where they can really concentrate their studies."
MBA Fast-Track Plan
Receive a bachelor's AND an MBA back-to-back in just five years – without having to apply to enter the MBA program. Here's how it works: During a student's senior year of undergraduate school, he or she will take dual-credit classes that will satisfy requirements for both the bachelor's and the MBA. After graduating with a bachelor's degree, the student will attend one more year of classes to earn the MBA degree, then enter the workforce with both degrees.
"This option was designed to be flexible and meet the needs of our students in a very cost-effective way," Niederjohn said.
Thirteen choices of emphasis
With one or more emphasis attached to your business administration degree, you will be strongly positioned to enter the workforce. Each emphasis area requires completion of 12-27 credits.
Lakeland consulted with employers and advisory boards, and analyzed career development data and national market trends before deciding on the following 13 emphases:
- Business Economics
- Cooperative Education
- Healthcare Management
- Hospitality Management
- Human Resource Management
- International Business
- Nonprofit Management
- Sport Management
- Student Designed
"Any one of these emphasis areas, coupled with our core business administration curriculum, will prepare students for jobs in those fields," says Niederjohn. "These changes create new choices for our students that match needs in the marketplace."
Business Administration at Lakeland
Real-world experiences are critical components of any top-of-the-stack resume, especially when it comes to the world of business. Today's employers want to know if you can do the work, analyze business problems and solve them, often on deadline.
"What makes our business program special? Our links to local employers," says Niederjohn. "Our students are required to do an internship as a for-credit class. But beyond internships, many of our students complete our co-op program providing them as much as a year and half of full-time experience at world-class employers. I think we do a good job of making sure our students find valuable internships and co-ops, and the most common way students find their eventual job is through the connections frequently made through these experiences."
Lakeland senior excels in international business competition
Jacob Barthels, who graduated in May with a bachelor's degree and a double major in accounting and business administration, placed third in the GLO-BUS Best-Strategy Invitational competition, the highest finish ever by a Lakeland student.
He was invited to participate after winning the GLO-BUS simulation in the Global Marketing class at Lakeland this past spring. The Best-Strategy Invitational is a two-week global competition in August among high-performing GLO-BUS companies from around the world. Less than 5 percent of all GLO-BUS players get this invitation.
GLO-BUS is an online business simulation where teams of students run companies that are in a neck-and-neck race for global market leadership in two product categories: wearable video cameras and sophisticated camera-equipped drones.
The companies compete in a global market arena, selling to buyers in four geographic regions—Europe-Africa, North America, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. Company co-managers must make decisions relating to a variety of skills including R&D, component usage, product performance, product line breadth and pricing, work force compensation, outsourcing and many others.
Barthels, who works as an accountant for Clifton Larson Allen in their Sheboygan office, worked with fellow senior Joey McNaught in the spring in the GLO-BUS competition for Lakeland's global marketing class with instructor Kim Viglietti.
"His knowledge in marketing helped us get a competitive advantage in the market," Barthels said. "With the help of my knowledge in accounting and finance, we had a unique competitive advantage against the fellow members of our class who were overwhelmingly marketing majors."
Barthels, who was awarded Lakeland's Outstanding Student in Accounting this past year, said he used the same strategy that he and McNaught used this spring and it paid off as he came within two points of first place.
Two Lakeland degrees fueling her success
In the world of higher education, Erin Kohl’s impressive resume is a bit of a rare find.
As she approaches 15 years in the industry, this two-time Lakeland graduate has quickly climbed the ranks thanks to a variety of roles in academics, student services and marketing.
Earlier this year, Kohl became dean of Madison College’s School of Business and Applied Arts. She oversees a school that offers programming in about 50 programs, from barber cosmetology to accounting and from animation to culinary arts.
Her team includes 90 full-time faculty, a few hundred part-time faculty and also contains several enterprises which generate revenue for the school.
“I get to be involved in a lot of different things, from curriculum development to recruiting to how the website gets presented,” Kohl said. “Being involved in a leadership role on the academic side is exciting to me. I also get a well-rounded view of what our students experience, and it helps me to work with our faculty to make decisions that will benefit our students.”
The foundation for Kohl’s successful career came at Lakeland, as a student taking classes in Lakeland’s evening and online program, and working in several leadership roles at Lakeland.
She received a master of business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Lakeland. She later received a doctor of education degree in educational leadership from Capella University.
She also worked for a decade at Lakeland, serving in a variety of roles including director of the Green Bay Center, associate dean of operations and advising, registrar and interim vice president for Lakeland’s evening and online programs.
“I loved my Lakeland experience,” Kohl said. “I loved the flexibility as a student. I was relocating to different cities and the classes had the flexibility I needed. I always felt the classes were as challenging and rigorous as I needed them to be.”
Kohl said two of her Lakeland MBA courses were especially helpful – organizational effectiveness and corporate strategy and decision making – because they had great instructors who helped mentor her and shape her career path.
During her time as a Lakeland staff member, Kohl experienced the different departments that contribute to the student experience, and those experiences have contributed to her success in her current role.
“When I served as the registrar at Lakeland it piqued my interest in the academic realm and it was a great growth opportunity,” she said. “I also got to understand the dynamics of Lakeland’s center locations and their various audiences and communities. Collectively, all these opportunities really helped me grow as a professional.”
Madison College’s goal for its students is to set them up for employment or to transfer to a four-year institution when they graduate. Several Madison College full-time faculty members also teach for Lakeland, so connecting Madison College graduates to Lakeland’s Madison Center comes naturally.
Kohl said collaboration between institutions to drive student success is important, especially to help keep graduates working in Wisconsin.
“Breaking down silos has been a theme,” Kohl said. “We work to remove barriers – whether it’s between programs or schools – that students might face when trying to achieve their goals. Our goal is always to make things easier for students.”
2016 grad loving life, work in Costa Rica
Jess Luecke works in paradise.
Since June, Luecke, a 2016 Lakeland graduate, has been serving as chief financial officer for the Peace Lodge Hotel in Vara Blanca, Costa Rica, and The Springs Resort & Spa in Arenal, Costa Rica.
Peace Lodge is a boutique luxury mountain lodge located on the grounds of La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a local nature park, and is 20 minutes from the Poás Volcano. The Springs, located about two hours away, is a luxury resort perched one thousand feet above the Arenal Valley on a mountain ridge just miles north of an active volcano. Average daytime highs are in the 80s in the shade and nighttime lows average in the 70s.
Not a bad way to put her double major in accounting and business administration and a minor in Spanish to work. It’s OK to be a little jealous.
“My goal was to experience something different than my peers chasing careers at Big 4 accounting firms,” Luecke said.
This career opportunity came about very quickly and quite unexpectedly.
For the last two years, Luecke was working in a corporate finance position for Actuant Corporation in Milwaukee. She had taken a short leave of absence from December 2016 until March of 2017 to intern at Peace Lodge, and she paid a visit this past February. After returning home, she emailed the owner to thank him for the internship and the opportunity to return and reconnect with old coworkers/friends.
Luecke never thought a “Hey, let’s keep in touch” email would eventually become an offer to start a new role. But, she quickly packed her bags and moved to Costa Rica.
She resides primarily at Peace Lodge, which is her base of operations. She works about 12-15 days each month at The Springs.
Like any job in hospitality, she wears a lot of hats, and the days are long and demanding. But that’s nothing new for Luecke, a winner of Lakeland’s Clarence Koehler Campus Senior Award who was involved in numerous organizations and events during her time at Lakeland. Luecke was on the executive boards of the Student Foundation, the Accounting Club and the Pi Kappa Gamma sorority.
In her role in Costa Rica, she manages all accounting functions at both properties including signing off on accounts payable, managing all costs and constantly molding and advancing the tax planning activities. She works closely with the controller to manage the business side for the restaurants as well as with the operations manager at The Springs to run all social media and marketing for the properties.
During her first four months, she has been able to make positive financial decisions for Peace Lodge and The Springs using her business and accounting skills. The goals of many of her projects all stem from cutting costs and increasing revenues.
Luecke is also closely involved with the construction of a new property that will be called The Point located along the Pacific Ocean coast in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The target opening date is set to be in 2020. This property is located next to Playa Hermosa and will feature many adventurous activities such as snorkeling, deep sea fishing and jet skiing.
At the age of just 23, Luecke is one of few females in executive management, a real point of pride.
“People ask me ‘What’s your plan?’ I truly believe that for as long as I am continuously learning and am head over heels in love with my life, I think it is unfair to put a finish line on this experience," Luecke said.
Her Lakeland studies focused on accounting and business, but this experience has her learning about construction, hotel operations, a variety of finance functions and how to lead employees in a new culture and different language.
“My boss runs such a high-functioning, multifaceted operation and I feel so blessed to work under his leadership,” Luecke said. “I am grateful that I am able to practice all of my strengths while constantly improving weaknesses without feeling nervous or judged. If it weren't enough to feel wholeheartedly in love with my job, my Costa Rican coworkers are hands down the biggest motivation and sweetest people I've ever met.”
LU's Barthels building robust résumé
Jacob Barthels is such a nice guy, he doesn’t like to decline reasonable requests.
Last summer, when a campus-wide request asked students to represent Lakeland University in the July 4 Sheboygan parade, Jacob immediately volunteered. But there’s only so much time in a day, and when the junior double major (accounting and business with a finance and insurance emphasis) was recently offered five great internships in a two-week span, he had no choice but to turn a few of them down.
Barthels, a junior from Sheboygan Falls, Wis., is busy. Starting in spring, he will help continue to strengthen LU’s great relationship with Schenck SC when he interns there. Then, in the summer, he will serve as an intern at Sargento – one of the nation’s biggest cheese companies. He will be Lakeland’s first Sargento intern in nearly two decades.
These experiences will make Jacob’s already-strong résumé even more robust. He’s already completed an internship in Lakeland’s finance office and in the finance office of Clipper City Co-op in Manitowoc. Jacob has always had an affinity for math and working with money. His dream job is to someday serve as the CFO for a large manufacturing company.
At Lakeland, he likes to be involved, and is currently the treasurer for three organizations: Cru, Lakeland Rotaract and the LU Accounting Club.
“Lakeland’s family feel is what I love most,” he said. “Knowing so many staff and faculty members on such a personal level, being able to say ‘hi’ to them every day and just talk about life; that’s really meaningful.
“Also, there are so many career opportunities with really big-time companies in the Sheboygan area. There are tons of jobs out there, right outside our door.”
MBA degree offers new concentrations
Supply chain management and human resources management are important areas for employers in the modern business world.
Starting this fall, Lakeland University’s Master of Business Administration program will offer concentrations in both.
Those are just two of the significant additions to Lakeland’s academic programming, additions that include new marketing emphases and a degree that combines business administration and computer science skills.
Recent Grads, Real Careers
Listed below are just some of the jobs Lakeland University business administration students from recent graduating classes have landed:
- Quality assurance supervisor, Oshkosh Corporation-defense segment
- Safety/HR and compliance manager, RSR Services
- Director of sales and marketing, Emerging Technologies
- Executive team leader, Target
- Credit solutions counselor, Kohl's Corporate
- Commercial lines underwriter, Acuity
- Assistant manager, Wal-Mart
- Administrative assistant, City of Sheboygan Housing Authority
- Production manager, Badgerland Exteriors
- Service representative, BMO Harris Bank
- Enrollment specialist, Humana
- Claims representative, Wilson Mutual Insurance
- Team leader, Ariens Company
- Sales representative, Milwaukee Bucks
- Sales representative, Milwaukee Bucks
- Enrollment specialist, Bisk Education
- Global category manager/contract labor and supplier diversity manager, Motorola
- Purchasing agent, Polyfab
- Loan officer, Associated Bank
- Brand Manager, Sargento
Listed below are some of the internships Lakeland University business administration students have landed during their stay at Lakeland:
- ACUITY- Sheboygan, Wis.
- Ansay & Associates - Port Washington, Wis.
- Aurora Health Care Center - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Blackstone Creek Golf Club - Germantown, Wis.
- Cascade Cheese - Cascade, Wis.
- Dental Health Products - New Franken, Wis.
- Family Service Association - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Great Marriages - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Harbor Centre Marina - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Harris Blueberries - Bloomingdale, Mich.
- Holiday House - Manitowoc, Wis.
- Holiday Shores Watersports - Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
- Holy Family Memorial - Manitowoc, Wis.
- HSA Bank - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Il Ritrovo - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Jessica's School of Dance - Sheboygan, Wis.
- KMC Stampings - Port Washington, Wis.
- Port Washington State Bank - Port Washington, Wis.
- Plymouth Arts Center - Plymouth, Wis.
- Rental Finders - Appleton, Wis.
- Schwarz Fish Market - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Shanghai East China Computer - China
- Shanghai Rongshi Spraying Machinery - China
- SME Partners - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Sony Music Entertainment - Milwaukee, Wis.
- Spaceport - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Tamoshanter Golf Course - Niles, Ill.
- Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Van Horn Chevrolet - Plymouth, Wis.
- Vector Marketing - Sheboygan, Wis.
- Veritas - Plymouth, Wis.
- Wadell & Reed - Appleton, Wis.
- Ziemann & Associates - Sheboygan, Wis.
Business Administration Faculty