Like many students, Max Baltzersen, ’16, chose to attend college for the job opportunities an advanced education could provide; however, Baltzersen decided an education wasn’t enough—he wanted experience, so while working to complete an undergraduate business administration degree, he chose to build upon his education by expanding into the professional field using the services Mount St. Joseph University provides.
One of the services Baltzersen says helped the most was the Talent Opportunity Program (TOP). Designed to fit any major, not just business, TOP allows students to achieve three different levels—bronze, silver, or gold—each with different requirements and benefits that help students polish their professional skills. Baltzersen achieved the highest level—gold. By completing three classes focused on professional development, attending leadership events and workshops, and co-oping, Baltzersen continued to hone his professional edge. “The classes aided me in thinking about the future, recognizing my strengths, and always polishing my professional skills,” he says. “Throughout TOP, I was always reinforcing my professional skills.
In addition to classes, Baltzersen says he attended many leadership events, too. “I always went to the career fair and tried to hear as many guest speakers as possible,” he says. During the events, he had the opportunity to network and talk with professionals who provided multiple perspectives from a variety of careers. “[TOP] gave me the push to interact and work with people that I normally wouldn’t approach,” he says. “My classes, co-ops, study abroad, TOP events, career fairs, etc. all collectively helped me with my life after the Mount.”
Baltzersen also completed a co-op while at the Mount, and he says it has made all the difference. His role as a Social Media co-op with the Mount’s Marketing Department allowed him to see how an office worked. “[My supervisor] Jill gave me lots of creative freedom and lots of constructive feedback, which I loved,” Baltzersen says. “I was able to implement some of the things I learned in class into the real world.”
Being able to participate in a co-op enabled Baltzersen to work on his professional skills, such as communication, time management, and professional attire. He also says his co-op helped him earn a graduate assistant position at the University of Cincinnati where he is currently working toward his master’s degree in applied economics. “[As a graduate assistant] I helped implement Twitter into a large lecture hall and even taught a couple of classes through Twitter,” Baltzersen says. “Now I am writing a paper with one of my professors on how to incorporate social media in a college classroom, and it all happened because of my co-op.”
Between co-oping and attending TOP events, Baltzersen also made time to travel the world. Through the study abroad program, he spent the 2015 fall semester in London, England, and during the first half of the 2016 summer session, he traveled down to Santiago, Chile. Being able to experience other countries and cultures helped shape his education by giving him an international perspective. “The world is a lot bigger than just Delhi or Cincinnati or even America,” Baltzersen says. “I have friends from all over the world, and I learned just as much from them as I did my classes while abroad.”
Since graduating from the Mount, Baltzersen hasn’t stopped. As mentioned, he is currently working toward his master’s in applied economics at UC and will complete his degree this summer. Because his experience with study abroad has been so profound, he is also working toward a graduate certificate in International Business. He will complete his capstone by traveling to Norway and then plans to do some exploring in Europe. Despite his intensive graduate studies, Baltzersen says, “My undergraduate studies at the Mount definitely prepared me to take the next step.”
After graduating, Baltzersen plans to join the Peace Corps in South America. “I will do economic development and social entrepreneurship,” he says, and after the Peace Corps, he would like to earn his Ph.D. in management or economics. “I love academia,” Baltzersen says. “The Mount gave me a love for all that….[and] the skills I learned from MSJ are accelerating me forward and giving me an edge over the students from other universities.” For Baltzersen, his undergraduate studies enabled him to expand his education and build his professional skills in a way that prepared him for graduate studies and beyond.
To learn more about how you can earn a degree like Max Baltzersen, visit our Department of Business Administration webpage. Also check out our study abroad, TOP, and Career & Experiential Learning webpages to learn about the opportunities students have for expanding their education beyond the classroom.