Call it a success. The third annual Business Week certainly touched all three elements of this year’s theme: “Creativity, Innovation and Vision.” The event was sponsored by the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business and Career Services at UW-Green Bay.

This year’s lineup (see news release) of events included a job and internship fair, an employer panel, an etiquette lunch, panel presentations and mock interview day, as well as a keynote presentation from Betsy Mitchell, retired Vice President of Organizational Development for the Green Bay Packers.

“To me, there’s one big underlying theme of all the ‘Business Week’ activities,” says Associate Professor of Business Administration, Bill Lepley, “opportunities for student interactions with business professionals. The sponsored activities aren’t always brand-new ones for our campus, but our ‘packaging’ — as part of Business Week — helps raise their profile.”

Business Week 2013 included a new event called the “Elevator Pitch & Networking Night,” in which students had the chance to create a 60-second video clip pitching their career strengths, abilities and goals.

Students’ videos were first judged by a panel made up primarily of UW-Green Bay professors. The videos were reviewed and scored and the top 15 contestants gave their speeches to a live audience of roughly 80 students and business professionals from the community. A panel of community business professionals judged and chose the top three contestants, Amanda Eckelberg, Danielle Jerominski and Charles Reimer III, who won $200, $150 and $100, respectively. All 15 finalists received a cash prize.

Reimer, a junior majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in management, said leadership and management experience from his time serving in the Air Force helped him to write his pitch in an organized manner allowing him to highlight his accomplishments for a potential employer.

“I prepared by asking myself what information would be relevant to a prospective employer and crafted a message that contained as much of that information as possible,” Reimer said. “Part of any supervisor’s job in the Air Force is to write performance reports and award packages, and they require very specific language.”

After presenting his pitch, Reimer was approached by a representative from a local company who was impressed by Reimer’s military experience. After 10 minutes of chatting, the representative shared his business card with Reimer and told him to interview with the company for a position with management responsibilities.

The mock interviews day provided students the opportunity to gain experience interviewing with community business professionals. Communication major Nicole Lasee participated in the mock interview to get practical interviewing experience in a low-stress setting.

“The process was very stress free, and the interviewer and I were able to talk afterwards about my strengths and weaknesses within the interview,” Lasee said. “I signed up for the vocalized feedback. The most stressful part of an interview is wondering how it went; in this setting I was able to hear it firsthand.”

Lasee said she interviewed with Mark Kersher from Schneider National who shared the importance of building contacts.

“My experience was very beneficial and I learned a lot about how I interview after being able to talk with my interviewer,” Lasee said. “It was an excellent experience, and the materials that Career Services offered to prepare for the event were helpful as well.”

Business Week 2013 closed with a networking reception and dinner held at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, March 7. The invitation-only event gave top students from the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business the opportunity to network with top business leaders from the community. The keynote address, which closely tied to the Business Week 2013 theme of “Creativity, Innovation and Vision,” was given by Betsy Mitchell, retired Vice President of Organizational Development for the Green Bay Packers.

The top three pitches from the elevator pitch competition were also shared at the networking reception and dinner where many more business professionals were in attendance.

“I was approached by many people congratulating me for my accomplishments and got a few more very solid proposals to apply for jobs,” Reimer said. “I traded business cards and am currently polishing my resume for interviews.”

Business Administration Prof. Lucy Arendt said UW-Green Bay students left a great impression.

“Business leaders commented that they were extremely impressed with our students’ preparation and self-confidence,” she said. “Business Week 2013 also gave the Cofrin School of Business the opportunity to showcase the range of exciting initiatives being undertaken by our faculty and students to enhance the connection between the university and the community.”

Written by Sue Bodilly, Marketing Coordinator, University Communications and Marketing