Alexis SchmidtHometown: Rocky River, Ohio

Class year and major: 2013, Finance and Spanish

Why did you choose Butler: When I was doing my college search I had no idea what I wanted to major in, so I looked for a school that offered a variety of majors that interested me. Being from a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, I didn’t know anyone who had attended Butler and I hadn’t even heard of the school prior to my search. I wanted a small- to medium-size school that was academically challenging, and was located no more than 8 hours from my home. Butler was the last on a list of 16 schools to visit. When I arrived, I instantly knew it was the right school for me. I never believed all the tour guides who said “you’ll find the right fit,” but I did, and it was Butler. It’s the perfect size – I’m known by name, not by a number in class – it’s 5 hours from my home, and is just minutes from downtown Indianapolis. Having declared a major in business, I was glad I chose a school with a reputable business program that will prepare me for my professional career.

Most memorable academic experience(s) at Butler: Without a doubt, the Real Business Experience (RBE) course is one of the most memorable academic experiences I’ve had. The RBE class gives students the opportunity to develop a business and actually run it for a proof of concept. My team chose to run a shuttle service – The Bulldog Express – which provided rides for students to/from the Apartment Village and the academic quad. Through this business, we experienced a great deal of challenges and obstacles, such as obtaining a golf cart for the trial week, approval from various Butler personnel, and even scheduling the team members to drive the golf cart. I will never forget the shift where I had to drive through tornado warnings, severe storms and high winds. In the end, we were successful in proving the viability of our concept and received approval from the financial board for a loan. Despite the numerous challenges, it definitely gave us a firsthand experience of all of the aspects involved in running a business and was an extremely valuable and positive experience.

Activities you’re involved with outside of the classroom: As a finance major, I decided to join both the Finance Club B.I.G. (Butler Investment Group) and the Accounting Club. Both of these clubs provide various networking events and help me learn more about the business world. These clubs also have several professionals come speak to us about their work and/or different exams and certifications in accounting and finance.

I also take part in numerous volunteer events, as I find it both rewarding and enjoyable to help out in the surrounding community. My freshman year I took part in the BITS (Bulldogs Into The Streets) program and volunteered at Coburn Place. I then decided to join Alpha Phi Omega, the coed service fraternity. During my sophomore year, I volunteered weekly at Indianapolis Public School #42 and helped out a kindergarten class. I even had the chance to apply my Spanish skills and assist a bilingual kindergartener with his schoolwork. I’m also a member of the Dawg Pound and Independent Council.

The most important thing you’ve learned at Butler: As cliché as it may sound, it really is who you know, not what you know. While the academic component and your overall GPA is important, reaching out to various professionals and staying connected with them is key, especially in today’s competitive job market. From experience, I’ve come to realize that many opportunities are found through networking and connections. For instance, I attained a babysitting job from friends of friends. For my capstone paper for business law and ethics, I interviewed a family friend who then set me up with an upper level sales executive at Microsoft.

The world is a lot smaller than you might think, so be aware of your surroundings and build strong relationships with your colleagues because you never know when you’ll see them again or who they might know.

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