IBE Alumni Spotlight – Andrew Topinka

Meet Andrew Topinka – A graduate from the Class of Spring 2017.

Major: Finance // Minors: Engineering and Philosophy

Hometown: Powell, OH

Job: Business Technology Analyst for Deloitte Consulting

Previous Internships/Co-Ops:

  1. Operations Intern, Peletonia (Summer 2014)
  2. Risk Analyst Intern, Willis Towers Watson in Hong Kong (Summer 2015)
    -Most valuable for his personal growth—first time out in the “real world” away from Columbus and his parents
  1. Analyst, AMEND Consulting (Summer 2016)
    -Most valuable for his professional growth—autonomy over projects, and more responsibility than he thought he was ready for at the time

OSU Involvements:

  • Brutus Buckeye
    -He has started the famous Stadium O-H-I-O during a game!
    -While the sporting events were great, Andrew’s favorite memories as Brutus were visiting children in hospitals and leaving a positive, lasting impact on OSU
  • Fellow in the Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program
  • BuckeyeThon
  • Peer advisor for Fisher
  • Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity
  • University Ambassador

Reason for Ohio State:

Andrew chose Ohio State because of the sense of student collaboration that he felt during his visit which vastly differed from atmospheres at other schools. While he initially did not want to go to OSU because of the proximity to home, he quickly fell in love with campus, and the rest is history!

Why IBE?

Andrew received so many emails about IBE during his first semester freshman year that he thought they were just spam. One of his good friends freshman year joined the program and told him about it after his first class during the second semester. After hearing about the program, he called his advisor and joined IBE! He had strongly already considered engineering as his major, and the entrepreneurial aspect of the freshman design project completely sold him on the idea of IBE.

IBE Capstone Project?

Andrew’s team worked on a project for P&G that was centered around capturing the millennial market for their Tide products. He and his team ultimately recommended that P&G pursued a future in laundry service. This happened to be the same conclusion that P&G’s internal investigation had developed. P&G bought a startup in Dallas that was doing just that during his senior year. As a result, Andrew and his team were able to travel to travel to Dallas and visit this startup with the intentions of optimizing their standard procedures and improving their processes.

How did IBE help you with your internships?

When asked about applying knowledge that he gained while in college, Andrew believes that his most valuable courses during college were the freshman year design project and his senior year capstone. These IBE projects were his most beneficial academic experiences, and he believes that they are applicable to real life problem solving which he carried with him to internships and his current job.

What is an example of a project from your current job at Deloitte?

Andrew was able to work on a project for a large car manufacturer. This company had new mobility services that they wanted to start offering (Remote start for cars, mobile keys, etc.), but they needed help making money on the services from a tech perspective. integrating the technology. Andrew and his team worked to understand the customers’ needs so that they could best monetize these new services. They ended up recommending what their customer’s experience should be when getting these services and how they could achieve it from a technology perspective.

What is the most valuable skill for consultants?

Andrew stressed that the major of a potential employee is not as important as some people make it out to be. The primary characteristic that employers are looking for is people who can think. Technical skills are important for some jobs, but, generally speaking, the skills you need and the jargon of the profession can be learned on the job. Employers desire people who showcase that they can quickly solve problems.

Fun fact?

Andrew’s most difficult course while at Ohio State was a Philosophy logic course!

 

Andrew is happy to talk about anything related to IBE, professional experiences, or Ohio State in general. He can be contacted at andrewtopinka@gmail.com.

IBE Student Spotlight – Mitali Singh

For this week’s student spotlight, we’ll take a look through the eyes of Mitali Singh!

Hello!! My name is Mitali Singh. I’m a first year Chemical Engineering major from Dublin, OH.

I spent most of high school not really knowing what I wanted to study in college. I took classes in all areas and realized I loved science, specifically chemistry. I thought chemical engineering could be a cool way of applying my passion for chemistry.

However, during my senior year in high school, I  got a job at Best Buy and loved it. Getting to interact with people and work towards a sales goal was so fun. IBE is where I could see two things I really like be able to collide. There is an endless number of routes I could take because of the opportunities that IBE provides.

IBE has been an absolute blast so far, but I honestly just love the Fundamentals of Engineering Honors class. I especially love my lab table in the back with Maari, Anita, and Neha and just getting to work through problems together. They are the absolute best.

My advice for prospective and current IBE students is to remember that life is so much more than the grades you get in your classes and even what job you get after college. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important, and continue to keep grinding. But when things seem to be rough and ugly, I want you to know that you have a purpose far bigger than your current circumstances and I would love to work that out with you!

One good thing that’s happened to me recently is that this past weekend, I was able to serve middle schoolers for their Wyld Life Fall Weekend! A group and I had different jobs ranging from housekeeping to cleaning the dining hall. It was tiring for sure, but so amazing to see the kids have so much fun and love life.

IBE Student Spotlight – Andy Miller

Welcome back to another IBE Student Spotlight Series!

This week’s IBE student spotlight features Andy Miller. Andy is a fourth year double majoring in Finance and Accounting and minoring in Engineering science.

When asked “why IBE?” Andy says that it’s all about the people: “I chose IBE because coming into college I was not sure whether I wanted to go into engineering or business, but I knew that I at least wanted some experience in both. I think what really makes IBE is the people, not the program itself. While the classes obviously have great professors and are well taught, what’s more important to me are the lasting friendships I’ve made that I don’t think I would’ve found elsewhere.”

His favorite IBE memory is the final presentation for the freshman design project. His team became really close after working together for 3 months. Seeing everything come together in our final product pitch and winning best overall product was a nice touch as well, he reminisces.

Outside of IBE, Andy is involved with Ascent Microfinance, Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Big Data Analytics Association.

Besides academics and extracurriculars, Andy loves to read and keep up to date on current events. It’s very easy to get bogged down in schoolwork/extracurricular activities/job searching, so I like to make sure I know what’s going on in the world, he shares. Beyond that, Andy is a huge Pittsburgh sports fan thanks to his dad, and he follows all 3 teams closely.

Since he’s a fourth year, we asked Andy what his plans are after college. Just like the rest of us, Andy’s still exploring: “I’m still figuring out which field of finance or accounting I really want to go into. Thankfully, I won’t be graduating until next December so I have some more time to figure that out. I’ll probably be headed to JPMorgan this summer, and if I like that I’ll go there full-time. Long-term, I think I’d like to have a career more oriented towards investment management.”

And of course, with age comes wisdom. Andy shares a few words of advice for the younger IBE students and prospective students as well: “Try to get involved with as much as you can early in college (and life), and then you can skim down to really find what you’re most passionate about. Something I really regret is not getting involved with more organizations during my freshman year, but if you get involved early, it gives you more time to realize what means the most to you.”

To end this spotlight, we asked Andy what’s one good thing that happened to him in the past week. “My brother got married over the weekend,” he says. “It was such an awesome experience to be a part of and it was great to see so many family members I hadn’t seen a while.”

And like that, we’ll see you in two weeks with another spotlight. Go bucks!

IBE Student Spotlight – Philip Bradshaw

Welcome to IBE’s Student Spotlight Series! Every 2 weeks, we’ll be highlighting a student from the program.

This week’s IBE student spotlight features Philip Bradshaw. Philip is a second year Marketing major with Engineering, Business Analytics, and Social Psychology minors.

When asked “why IBE?” Philip answers with a resounding response: “IBE was one of the BIG reasons for me to attend OSU. My philosophy is that all the greats in history never just studied one thing. They all were masters in many different disciplines. Eventually, I do want to work more in depth with advertising agencies or within a marketing department, but being able to work cross-functionally is super important in making an industry boom.”

His favorite IBE memory so far has got to be “team bonding” with his Team 7 homies last semester in Engineering 1282.04H.

Outside of IBE, he’s involved with Club Swimming, H2O Church, Photography Enthusiast Society, Scarlet Magazine, and BuckeyeFit.

Philip is passionate about photography: “I’m a fashion and editorial photographer, but I’ve only been shooting for a year. I first got into photography after my senior year pictures. My sister took my senior pictures while my family was on vacation in Hawaii, and I loved seeing the whole process from start to finish; and when I got a camera for my graduation present, I dragged all my friends on photoshoots, watched all of Jessica Kobeissi’s videos on YouTube, and started my own photography Instagram (@pb_phto). Over the summer I made a goal for myself to do at least 2 shoots a week, so I could really improve. And I definitely did! At the end of the summer I was asked to submit an editorial to LaPalme Magazine and ended up having my editorial published on an online exclusive! For the future, I’m definitely going to try to keep up with more photoshoots and reach out to more publications!”

What keeps Philip going is this quote by Alice Adams, the director for BuckeyeFit: “Trust the process, work the process, fail a little, get back up. It’s a journey, not a teleportation.”

To end this spotlight, we asked Philip what he’s grateful for this week. “Vitamin C,” he says, “because I cannot let this cold come back around to me again.”

See you in two weeks with another spotlight on a bright and passionate IBE student!! Go bucks!

 

IBE Alumni Spotlight – Bryan Barrett

Meet Bryan Barrett – A recent graduate from the Class of Spring 2018.

Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering // Minor: Business

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Previous Internships/Co-Ops:

  1. Studied Chinese language and culture abroad in Shanghai (Summer 2014)
  2. Project Specialist, Tesla (Summer 2015)
  3. Internal Operations Consultant, United Airlines (Spring 2016)
  4. Business Portfolio and Project Management Intern, LBrands (Summer 2016)
  5. Engineering, Innovation, and Research Intern, Battelle (Summer 2017)

OSU Involvements:

  • Student-Alumni Council
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Buckeye Leadership Fellow
  • Phi Gamma Delta – Executive board
  • Homecoming Court

In his free time, Bryan enjoys skiing, cycling, backpacking, and traveling.

Reason for Ohio State:

Bryan chose Ohio State because he enjoyed all the diverse opportunities available at such a large school. Unsure of whether to pursue an engineering or business major, he appreciated how well developed the various colleges and departments were. As a result, he felt no worry about either decision because he had excellent opportunities in both areas.

Why IBE?

Bryan was in the very first cohort of IBE. Because of his interest in engineering and business, IBE was the perfect next step for him to continue his engineering education while expanding his business knowledge.

Favorite IBE memory?

Bryan was able to go to Switzerland during the summer of 2016 with 18 other IBE students to work at CERN. He valued the incredible international experience, and the ability to apply the various innovation techniques he had learned in his IBE coursework – in one of the largest research institutions anywhere in the world. Bryan felt that through his 3 years of education in IBE, he was easily able to make a meaningful impact through his work on the trip.

How did IBE help you with your internships?

When Bryan worked at Battelle on the Lean Startup team, he was able to apply specific techniques he had learned from his IBE capstone and other IBE coursework. He was excited that himself, Kai, and Kartik were able to implement specific techniques from the IBE curriculum, and act as experts of lean startup within a national organization. Through driving value creation, innovation, and introducing new methodologies, Bryan believed he was really able to make an impact on Battelle through his time working for them.

Where will you be this fall? How did IBE help you earn this position?

Bryan will be working as a Business Analyst Consultant at CapTech. He believes that the kinds of experiences that IBE exposed him to really helped him solidify his role for the fall. Through the interdisciplinary learning in IBE, Bryan fit right into CapTech’s goals of merging technology and business in the consulting world. He especially attributes his success to his IBE capstone, which prepared him for the tech and management consulting environment he looks forward to experiencing at CapTech.

What would you like to say to everyone in IBE?

“Never lose faith in the program, because you will always be able to form the program to the experiences you want to have with it, as I know a lot of younger people in this program are doing. Just never lose sight of the fact that this program is for you, and if you aren’t getting out of IBE what you think you should be, then you should change it – and you have all the power in the world to make that happen at The Ohio State.”

 

Bryan is happy to talk about anything related to IBE, professional experiences, or Ohio State in general. He can be contacted at bryanbarrett2013@gmail.com

IBE Alumni Spotlight – Zach Cowen

Meet Zach Cowen. A recent graduate from the Class of Spring 2018.

Major: Industrial & Systems Engineering // Minor: Business

Hometown: Hilliard, OH

Previous Internships/Co-Ops:

Nationwide

  1. Application Developer (Summer 2017)
  2. Automated Test Analyst (Summer 2016)
  3. Test Analyst (Summer 2015)

Zach liked the location of Nationwide (Columbus, family, friends, familiarity) and also enjoyed exploring the different roles and opportunities within Nationwide. 

OSU Involvements:

In the Spring of 2017, Zach started the Buckeye Mudder Club after finding no luck when searching for a Tough Mudder related organization on campus. The club originated with 10-15 members but quickly grew to 40 members last semester. They were able to send over half of their members to a Tough Mudder event in North Carolina this past October. Tough Mudders are unique in that “everyone works together as a team to overcome obstacles and get to the finish, not caring about the finishing time or place.

Reason for Ohio State

Zach came to Ohio State for its proximity to home and family as well as its strong Engineering reputation.

How did you hear about the IBE program and why did you choose it?

Zach heard about the IBE program when his mother saw a post on Ohio State’s website during college applications. Immediately, he knew the program would be a good fit for his dual interests in engineering and business.

Please explain a specific instance you felt what you learned in IBE was really making an impact.

During his first summer at nationwide as test analyst, he developed automated testing scripts for policy holders. In this role, he utilized the principles of IBE by explaining the technical details to business-oriented people, so they could provide a list of his needs and explain the system functionality to others. 

What’s your favorite class you took because of IBE?

Zach’s favorite class was the IBE Innovation Management Seminar (BUSMHR 3400) taught by Professor Leiblein because he could learn about the extensive opportunities within technology and also the different perspectives in decision making through case studies. 

Did you always know you wanted to work in tech?

Initially, Zach came in as a Computer Science major, but he later switched to ISE once he realized he could utilize some of his Computer Science and Programming background in applications to bigger problems and systems. He wanted to use his tools to make decisions and fix problems.

What is your favorite IBE moment/memory?

Zach’s favorite IBE moment was freshman year, when he worked with his team to develop a canoe portaging device. “[The project] helped set the stage for bigger projects and other future classes.  It was a crash course in four months of developing a project, testing it, and designing a business model around it.”

What are your after graduation plans?

Zach will be starting full time at Nationwide as an Application Developer where he will work on web development for Nationwide’s Investment’s departments (specifically real estate investments).

How did IBE help you secure this position?/What do you plan on applying that you learned in IBE in your job?

“IBE helped with the networking. Making connections within and outside of my department so that I have people to talk to all across the company and find common ground with people of different backgrounds.”

What kind of impact do you see IBE making in the future?

“Having people who understand how to talk to people on both sides of projects. Being able to talk to technical people from the business side helps with making high level decisions and keeps the technology-side of things moving.”

What’s something you want to say to IBE underclassmen?

“Keep going at it even if it isn’t your favorite class right now. You’ll still take away stuff from it and apply it in future classes, projects, teams.”

 

Freshmen Presentations

During the second semester of freshman year, the Integrated Business and Engineering Cohort is required to take ENGR 1282.04H – Fundamentals of Engineering II. This course is exclusively offered to IBE students with a focus on product development using CAD.

This semester, the students were challenged to create a product for people affected by arthritis. In groups of 5-6 people, different teams created their own unique solution to everyday tasks that people with arthritis struggled with. This product development process included multiple prototype testings, business model analyses, and interaction with end users through interviews and user feedback surveys.

At the end of the semester, the teams pitched their products to a panel of faculty and industry professionals where they were judged on a series of criteria. Awards were given out to the teams with the Best Business Presentation, Best Technical Design, and Best Overall.

Best Overall – This team created a shirt un/buttoner 

Best Technical Design – This team created a spray bottle trigger extension

 

Best Business Presentation – This team created a jar opener

 

IBE Alumni Spotlight — Alisa Noll

Introducing the IBE Alumni Spotlight Series!

Meet Alisa Noll. She graduated from Ohio State this past December and will be working full time at Boston Consulting Group.

Major: Industrial Engineering // Minor: Business

Hometown: Columbus, OH. When Alisa was training for a half marathon, she would run home and back to campus as her workout routine! Both her parents, aunts, and uncles went to OSU, so she’s lifelong Buckeye.

Previous Internships/Co-Ops: Alisa has a wide range of experience in multiple industries. Her internships are as follow:

General Electric — Manufacturing

Eaton — Technical Sales

Webber Associates — Data Analytics/Consulting

IBM (Summer and Fall) — Data Science Consulting

Kalypso — Consulting

Drive Capital — Data Science in a venture capital firm

OSU Involvements:

Big Data and Analytics Association — Executive Vice President

Ascent Microfinance (Non-Profit) — Previous CEO and now Board Member

Society of Women Engineers- Active Member

Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club — Analyst

Pi Beta Phi, Homecoming Court

How did you hear about the IBE program and why did you choose it?

Alisa’s cohort was not told about the IBE program until the middle of their Freshman year. They were sent an initial email explaining the program in order to gage interest. From there, she met with Dr. Rogers, one of the program heads, to discover more about it. She says, “The selling point for me was the design project that occurs second semester freshman year. Building a product that you have to find a need for, design, and market felt extremely applicable. Eventually, I got to work with a team of amazing and smart individuals who came from such different backgrounds. When I went into the program, I wasn’t expecting the other benefits, such as bonding with your cohort. This just became an extra plus point.”

Please explain a specific instance you felt what you learned in IBE was really making an impact.

There were multiple instances during Alisa’s time at OSU where she felt she was really applying the skills developed through IBE. However, she notes that the mindset she gained through IBE was as valuable as the hard skills. Specifically, in her consulting internships, she felt she was “approaching complex problems from a more creative mindset.” Alisa not only understood the technical requirements but also thought about the “biggest business picture.”

What’s your favorite class you took because of IBE?

Alisa found the CERN Project Course to be her favorite IBE class. During her Junior year, Alisa’s cohort and the cohort below her got the opportunity to be the first American undergraduate students to work at the consumer based innovation sector of CERN Lab in Switzerland. Before her and her classmates could head abroad, they worked remotely for an entire semester, coming up with ways they could use CERN’s intellectual property in the real world. They eventually focused on how food waste could be minimized. At the lab, her team created a functional container that would light up when the food inside of it was spoiled. This not only reduced the waste but also prevented people from eating rotting food. In order to best approach this project, Alisa had to learn divergent thinking. She stated that she “constantly used design thinking. However, I had to learn this new mindset in order to consider every possible perspective of a problem to eventually get the best solution. When we thought we found a solution, we had to evaluate it and sometimes go straight back to the drawing board. Overall, it was an incredible experience filled with extremely intelligent individuals.”

What is your favorite IBE moment/memory?

Besides the CERN Project, Alisa did not have a specific favorite memory. However, she felt the bond she formed with her fellow cohort members to be one of the things she will never forget about IBE. Her team members for the Freshman Design Project included some of the same people she worked with on her Senior Capstone Project. Without IBE, she says she “never would have met such amazing individuals from such different backgrounds.” Alisa stated that these people not only became her classmates but also her friends. To her, the most exciting part was seeing every individual in her cohort grow as a student and a person.

What are your after graduation plans?

Alisa just finished up an internship with Drive Capital, a venture capital firm in Columbus, OH. Before starting at Boston Consulting Group and sitting on the board of directors for Ascent, she will be embarking on an Asia trip.

How did IBE help you secure this position?/What do you plan on applying that you learned in IBE in your job?

To Alisa, the two MBA level business courses required in the IBE curriculum ended up being extremely impactful courses and eventually helped her in internship and full time position interviews. She stated they were “very hard at first. However, I then realized how amazing it was having an MBA level professor teaching me business skills. Without this knowledge I developed and constantly being surrounded by business students with a different perspective than me, I would not be in consulting today. I’m very thankful for the class and the coursework.”

What kind of impact do you see IBE making in the future?

“The people that I graduated with are the first example of IBE students but of that group already, they’re really going out to tackle the hardest problems. They’re getting recruited by the best companies in the country, ones that usually don’t recruit at OSU. This eventually transforms the possibilities that future OSU students will have.”

What’s something you want to say to IBE underclassmen?

“Pretty much every company is going to be a tech company. regardless of what the industry is. IBE gives you skills and experiences that make you an extremely well rounded individual, which is amazing. This is something you can’t beat in any other circumstance and makes you one of the top students at this school. Don’t let the small stuff turn you away from IBE. Work hard and all the way through.”

At Switzerland’s CERN, Students Enjoy Unique Learning Experience

When Andrew Topinka and his teammates in the Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) honors program decided to tackle the issue of reducing food waste in developed countries, the group brainstormed a number of ideas before settling on a final one—a sensor that notifies a person that meat will soon spoil.

When it was time to build a prototype of the sensor, the group didn’t head to the nearest electronic store for parts.

Instead, Topinka and 18 other IBE students traveled to the internationally renowned European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) as the final portion of their IBE Grand Challenge Based Innovation course. The group, which spent two weeks in Geneva engaging with top scientists, was invited to work at CERN’s IdeaSquare innovation lab to refine their business and product solutions to global problems including access to clean water, electrification of rural health clinics, food safety and recycling.

“The fact that we were the first undergrads and first from the U.S. to work in the lab really motivated us to make the most of this incredible opportunity,” said Topinka, a finance student who is minoring in engineering and philosophy. “The biggest value add of being at CERN was our access to the organization’s leading minds. We learned so much from them—about collaboration, process and problem solving.”

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering major Tom Krajnak (blue shirt) collaborates with fellow IBE students.CERN is the birthplace of many of the world’s top innovations of the past 60 years, including the creation of the World Wide Web, the building of antimatter and the discovery of the Higgs boson particle. While at CERN, the students engaged regularly with Dr. Markus Nordberg, head of Resources Development at CERN and one of four individuals who managed the program responsible for identifying the Higgs boson.

“I was impressed with the level of collaboration and the knowledge these students brought with them into the lab,” Nordberg said. “Despite an aggressive two-week project deadline, they worked hard, asked smart questions and presented compelling solutions to various challenges facing nations around the world.”

That they were studying, prototyping and presenting in such a prestigious environment wasn’t lost on the students.

“Being at CERN helped me to see the root cause of problems and to leverage what is available to create a solution that can make our society a better place,” said engineering student Amy Chiu. “Innovation is something that can occur at any time, and being able to identify potential problems allows the mind to remain open to development. Being in an environment that constantly encouraged me to think beyond conventional means allowed me to finally understand what innovation means.”

Created as Ohio State’s first interdisciplinary honors program, the four-year IBE program is designed to develop the ability to communicate across business and technical domains and enact an inter-disciplinary approach to problem solving.

“I’ve been reaping the benefits of the IBE program since my freshman year,” Topinka said. “The trip to CERN really demonstrated how much business and engineering depend on each other. As we were developing our solution, we realized that changing one aspect of our prototype required changing our entire business model, and vice versa.”

Michael Leiblein, academic director of the IBE Business program and Ohio State’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Jim Sonnett, a former vice president at Battelle and lecturer at Fisher co-taught the course in Columbus and accompanied the students to Switzerland. Both saw firsthand the impact of the experience on the students.

“The opportunity for our students to apply the business and engineering tools they’ve been exposed to while interacting with such a highly talented group of managers and scientists was invaluable,” Leiblein said. “I believe we all came away from the experience with a better understanding of what it takes to succeed at one of the very best organizations in the world. I was incredibly proud of the way our IBE students collaborated to develop viable solutions to critical global challenges in an economically sustainable manner.

“We are grateful to our partners at CERN for this wonderful opportunity and look forward to engaging with them again as we work to create the next generation of business and engineering leaders.”

Sonnet added, “The students worked incredibly hard, and with great success, to develop and present business concepts and prototypes for the 2016 and 2040 markets.”

Story courtesy of Joe Arnold, Fisher College of Business