Eastern Michigan University
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Business Alumni of Eastern Michigan University Share Insight at Professional Development Business Conference

Published October 29, 2013

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David Provost

David Provost presents on the topic
of "Pick Your Network Wisely...
Especially One That Can Give You
$400 Million" at the First Annual
College of Business Professional
Development Conference.

Eastern Michigan University’s Business Conference took place September 19 at the College of Business, serving as the inaugural event for their new professional development program, which launched earlier this semester.

The all-day event was designed to help students build the personal and professional skills necessary to achieve career success. More than 1,800 students attended with over 40 alumni gathered from around the country to speak to students about what it means to be a business professional.

Some of the topics included the power of networking, women in leadership, do’s and don’ts of career planning ad starting and sustaining a new business.

Michael Tidwell, dean of the College of Business, says the conference exceeded his expectations.

“First time through, I couldn’t have asked for much more. It was great,” says Tidwell. “We expect it to be even bigger and better next year.”

The conference attracted accomplished alumni such as David Provost, chairman, president and CEO of Talmer Bank and Trust; Rick Neu, director of Huntington Bancshares and MCG Capital; and Anna Schmitt, global director of communications at NSF International.

Steve Futrell, CEO/President of Technology Solutions and one of the event’s speakers, says he was impressed with how many alumni from multiple industries around the country returned to EMU to lend their insight, and share their stories on how they became successful.

“From my perspective, the conference was a big hit,” says Futrell. “Students had the chance to interact with the speakers as well throughout the day. I would have loved this opportunity back when I was a student at EMU.”

Fay Poissant, senior recruiter at PNC Bank, who was also one of the event’s speakers, says she gives Tidwell and his team major kudos for putting on a great first-time event.

“There was definitely a sense of pride and belonging as you saw students talking with alumni and [vice versa],” says Poissant.

The primary goal of the professional development program, which is co-curricular, is to ensure that students who graduate from the College of Business have everything they need to be successful within the field.

“We understand they have great technical skills in the classroom, but there’s a whole other set of polishing they need to be successful,” says Tidwell. “They either learn those skills when they start their career, which means they’re already making mistakes, or they get them here, where it’s safe to make mistakes. This program is designed to help them out.”

That other set of polishing includes etiquette, interviewing, resume writing and networking–things you don’t necessarily learn from a textbook, so to speak. The conference was a great place for students to practice some of those skills.

“We had a lot of opportunities for students to network with alums, and for alums to network with [other] alums,” says Tidwell.


-Written by Princess Gabbara, a senior at Eastern Michigan University, where she will soon earn her bachelor's degree in journalism.

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