Have you heard the saying, “It’s not just what you know, but it’s also who you know”? Senior Kyle Bartholomay has found the opportunities through the Offutt School of Business and the Concordia alumni network to be incredible assets for his career building.
Kyle Bartholomay ’17, Circle Pines, Minn.
Major: Business with concentrations in finance and marketing
Why did you choose Concordia?
I did an overnight visit at Concordia, enjoyed my time touring, and knew it was the right fit for me. Also, I drove up to Concordia the spring of my senior year in high school to listen to Bill Gates and get a tour of the new Offutt School of Business, where I knew I was going to spend a lot of time during college.
What makes Concordia home to you?
All the great faculty, staff, and students who make Concordia very warm and welcoming. Growing up three hours away from Concordia, I was slightly worried it was too far away from family, but I instantly felt at home after the Concordia road trip and knew it was the right place to spend my next four years at college.
What has been a highlight of your college career?
Hard to choose between the May Seminar to Washington, D.C., the experience in Hong Kong, and the fun-packed weekends! Leading the senior class to sing the school song at Mick’s during our senior night was pretty great, too.
Tell us about any special opportunities you’ve had with the Offutt School of Business.
I went on a business trip to Hong Kong with my finance professor, Chris Mason, who set up visits with global corporations such as Intel, Cisco, Thomson Reuters, Ernst & Young, and Deutsche Bank. Along with learning the companies’ cultural differences and how they operate in other parts of the world, we also hiked the Dragon’s Back trail, the premier urban hiking opportunity in Asia.
I also took the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., with Professor Al Kagan and visit with 52 regulating agencies including the FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, SEC, and other agencies I had only dreamed of visiting.
I have taken part in many great projects in the Offutt School of Business including creating, developing, and selling Offutt School of Business jackets to 150 students, faculty, and staff (35% of the business school). The design was a black North Face jacket with the business school logo. I had the opportunity to specialize and deliver a jacket to Ron Offutt, an alumnus that was integral in making the business school possible.
What is one thing you wish you knew about college before you started?
I wish I would have known how valuable my professors would be. I would have reached out to my professors starting freshman year and prompted conversations about my career, interests, and jobs that fit my personality and skill set. My professors have helped me connect with very important people to make my job search process easier. Staff across the whole campus are friendly and willing to help if you ever need help solving a problem. Also, color catchers are a miracle saver for doing laundry!
What activities/cocurriculars/internships/etc. have you been involved with?
When I arrived at Concordia, I was looking to get involved and try things I always wanted to do that my high school didn't offer. My freshman year, I attended the Cobber Expo, an event where all the campus clubs had booths you could check out and sign up to learn more about their club. I signed up for various clubs including:
Concordia On-Air, where I interviewed guests and hosted the sports segment; KORD Radio, where a friend and I would host a weekly radio show; Concordia club hockey team; Marketing Club; and Offutt School of Business Leadership Organization.
I was very involved in hall-related leadership opportunities including helping plan and hyping up events in Erickson Hall my sophomore year and as a resident assistant my junior year in Livedalen.
I also wanted to get involved in student government, so I became a Junior Class Representative and had the opportunity to help design the new PEAK experiences on the core curriculum committee. My senior year, I was a project manager for the student body.
I was also one of the founding members of a group on campus called Students and Alumni Linked Together (SALT). SALT puts on events and finds ways to help both students and alumni connect and learn from each other. I have found networking events like Careers Connecting Cobbers, Lorentzsen Luncheons, and Offutt School Presents to be really beneficial events for meeting influential people that help you in your career. I also learned a lot from sitting in on meetings with faculty, alumni, and other college leadership.
I worked with two different startup companies during my junior year and gained a wealth of experience in growing companies.
The first startup was an invention that was solving the problem of people with Parkinson’s disease and arthritis or anyone who had trouble pouring milk from a gallon jug. I worked with a mechanical engineer to create a prototype, and we eventually received a patent and started selling the product.
The second was a startup venture capital firm called Hill Capital Corporation based in St. Paul, Minn. I helped present our "Shark Tank"-like pitch to investors in the region. I also worked alongside venture capitalists compiling due diligence of companies’ financial statements and scouted potential entrepreneurs/investments. At the end of the internship, we had raised more than $15 million.
Do you have plans yet for after graduation?
I have received offers for positions and have narrowed my choices to mostly sales-related jobs located in the Midwest, but I’m also considering taking a job in Hong Kong for a couple years to experience a different culture.
I have learned at Concordia to follow your passion and do what you love, and I cannot wait to see what I will be doing in a year. Thankfully, I will be leaving Concordia with lifelong friends, great connections, and a wealth of experience that will help me succeed wherever I land!
Laura Caroon '06 is a content strategist at Concordia College.