McGraw School of Business Semester Update

Olivet students receive accolades at annual business competitions

May 10, 2019 Academics, Business

The McGraw School of Business offers degrees in accounting, business administration, economics and finance, international business, management information systems, and marketing, with concentrations in more than 18 specific areas of business. 

During Olivet’s 2018-19 academic year, 381 students were enrolled as business majors, many of who participated in the business clubs and organizations. While each group has a different concentration, they all seek to encourage personal development and professional readiness through real-world, practical applications.


The following five clubs received high marks at their respective intercollegiate competitions this spring.

An active club at Olivet for over 20 years, Enactus had 70 student participants this year and collectively devoted over 3,000 hours to serving the community through 11 unique initiatives. On May 5-7, 2019, the competition team including Jonah Posthumus, Lauren Donaldson, Eric Christopherson, Noah Schuitema, Madeira Sherwood, Sarah Throneburg, and Matthew Poortenga, presented at the National Enactus event, about how each project directly addressed United Nations goal and impacted the local community.


Two standout projects from the 2018-19 academic year were the Food Recovery Network and Bye Bye Bags. Since the establishment of the Food Recovery Network in November 2017, the initiative has collected 11,000 pounds of food from Sodexo food service, and redirected the meals to the local Salvation Army.

Concerned about Olivet’s contribution to the waste, the ONU Enactus team started the Bye Bye Bags program to reduce waste through the recycling of plastic bags used for carry-out campus dining options. Plastic bags are collected in designated receptacles around campus and repurposed at the Center for Hope Food Pantry in Kankakee. ONU Enactus held its first bag drive in February 2019, gathering 785 bags for the Center of Hope. This saved the center about $400 per month. The “Bye Bye Bags” initiative will be put into full effect during the fall 2019 semester. 

Freshman psychology major, Lindsay Alcock co-led the project with Maggie Carnahan, a senior business administration major with a concentration in healthcare management. Maggie says. “I hope that the project will raise awareness about the number of plastic bags used on our campus and that it will lead to a reduction in the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills from other sources too.”

Dr. Lynda Allen, professor of marketing and faculty advisor for Enactus says, “I’m so proud of the work of our Enactus team this year. We came in second in our league (top 32 in the nation), but much more important, we made a Kingdom difference in our community and beyond. These students are world changers, and I am so incredibly blessed to know them!”

National Student Advertising Competition
On April 12, 2019, four students from the McGraw School of Business traveled to South Bend, Indiana, to compete in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). The purpose of NSAC is to build self-esteem and develop students into creative thinkers and goal-oriented professionals. This competition is the premier college advertising competition, providing 2,000 college students with the valuable experience of creating advertising materials for a real-world, corporate client.


This year, each university team researched corporate sponsor, Weinershnitzel, to identify gaps in the company’s current marketing campaign and to suggest new advertising opportunities to the competition judges. 

Senior marketing major, Kelly Garcia said, “The practical applications learned through this process required the team to work together, which is not always easy. Also, learning to handle myself in a professional manner on stage, even when things go wrong, is a practical skill that I can use in my future career.”

Professor Chris Perez says, “I am so excited to provide an opportunity like the National Student Advertising Competition for students in the McGraw School of Business. Each year the case study we receive reflects a real-world situation to challenge students’ critical thinking abilities and creativity. Our students develop some esprit de corps through professional competitions, and it accelerates their personal and professional growth.” 

Phi Beta Lambda Club
On April 5-6, 2019, the Olivet Phi Beta Lambda club participated in the FBLA-PBL State Leadership Conference at the Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham, Illinois. Students competed in a variety of categories including: Accounting Principles, Accounting Analysis and Design, Business Law, Entrepreneurship Concepts, Insurance Concepts, Justice Administration, Public Speaking, Strategic Analysis and Decision Making.


The Illinois State Leadership competition is beneficial for students as it showcases their academic abilities to a wide audience. Sara Duncan, the public relations director for PBL describes the club as “a business oriented academic association in which students are given the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom setting in a competition environment.”

Professor Brad Thomas, the club faculty sponsor, said of the competition weekend, “I’m very proud of our students. They conducted themselves as ambassadors of Christ and representatives of ONU.” Olivet students received 16 state titles in various categories, 8 students qualified for the national competition, and Ellie Murphy was elected as the Illinois PBL State President.

Society for Human Resource Management club
On March 29, 2019, the McGraw School of Business’s Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) club took part in a regional Illinois competition hosted by Illinois State University. This year, the team was led by senior, Luke Cavender.


The SHRM competition gave students hands-on experiences with a variety of industry issues faced by human resource professionals every day. Before the competition, students were given a case study, for which they were asked to analyze and develop a solution. At the competition, the team presented their analysis and suggested changes to a board of HR professional selected by Illinois State University. In addition to presenting their findings, Olivet students had the opportunity to take part in networking events with other students and industry professionals. 

Junior, Sarah Feddes said of the competition, “It was a really good learning experience to work with a team and to be introduced to so many people going into the same industry as I am. The preparation was very hands-on and covered a lot of issues, ranging from benefits to culture issues, which required critical thinking and taught us practical skills.”

Federal Reserve Challenge
The Federal Reserve Challenge allows for students to better understand the role of the Federal Reserve by taking part in modeling the Federal Open Market Committee. University teams, comprised of five students, competed at the annual competition in Chicago, Illinois. 

Olivet_mcgraw_school_business_competition_enactus_student_leadership_web4.jpgDakota Mellish, a member of the 2018-19 Olivet team, describes the competition as, “a regional collegiate competition in which participants simulate a Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The meeting’s purpose is to understand the current condition of the national economy through use of economic data and theory. A decision can then be made regarding the benchmark interest rate, which the Fed uses to conduct monetary policy.”

The 2018-19 FED Challenge team included Dakota, Brooke Whetstone, Courtney West, Faith Anderson, and Colter Stevenson. Brooke says of the experience, “The Fed Challenge presented us with the opportunity to combine different economic theories and finance concepts with actual data in order to obtain a comprehensive view of the economic condition of the United States.”

In the 2018-19 academic year, the McGraw School of Business had great participation in initiatives such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and the ONU Investment Club. Additionally, five students in the healthcare management concentration earned Six Sigma certification.

Six Sigma – Healthcare Management Concentration
In the fall of 2018, healthcare management concentration students had the opportunity to take the IASSA (International Association for Six Sigma Certification) Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification exam. 


During the spring 2019 semester, the McGraw School of Business partnered with AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital to create the Health Lean Process Improvement course for students to use their impressive Six Sigma lean management skills in a hospital environment. At the end of the semester, students presented their lean process improvement projects to staff members of St. Mary’s.

Senior Diana Jacobs, said of her experience working with AMITA Health, “The course provided me with hands-on experiences that will not only boost my resume, but will also assist me as I am entering into the working world.” 

For more information about the McGraw School of Business, and other areas of study, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.

Photos submitted and used with permission.
Published 5/13/19

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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