Even with these unprecedented times, life must go on and our dear seniors must graduate… And though we hate to see them go, we can’t help but go on and on about their accomplishments and skills!
And so we present to you MUPC’s “Dream Team Seniors!”
Senior Consultant Alex Pratt, graduating as a double major in Accounting and Information Systems with a concentration in security and compliance, is one of our longest involved members! Alex joined MUPC in his spring semester of sophomore year and has seen the venture steadily grow and evolve. When he joined MUPC, he had no idea what to expect. Yet, Alex quickly became one of our most dedicated Senior Consultants, leading several different projects over his experience. With all his time in MUPC, Alex commented that the venture has greatly improved his problem solving skills as well as given him critical exposure to client work that he otherwise wouldn’t have gotten in the classroom. “There are problems in each project but you learn so much by working through the majority of them… And I was completely new to working with clients. It’s a lot of knowing the steps that need to be taken and what needs to be done when.”
Alex has been a part of many projects but he says Dove has been his favorite because of its involvement with other departments that don’t normally associate with one another. He even went on to say that he’s met some of his best friends at Millikin through MUPC! Alex always makes a point to keep everyone updated on client projects as well as listen to other consultants to give feedback or offer help, making him a reliable team member. Moreover, concerning the environment of MUPC, Alex shared that “It gives hands on experience that’s not given in classroom. But it’s still a setting where it’s okay to fail. RJ (MUPC’s Faculty Advisor) will listen to any ideas and give you the freedom to run with them. And if they’re bad, he encourages you to think about why they didn’t work.” Though we hate to see him go, he’s given us some words of encouragement: “You can do it! Always be looking for ways to improve yourself and the venture as a whole, don’t be complacent with where you’re at.”
Senior Consultant Mikayla Krieger is graduating as a double major in Business Management and Digital Media Marketing. After she joined in the fall semester of her junior year, Mikayla was expecting a lot of technical work in addition to extensive business experience. Although she was focused on social media marketing her first semester, Mikayla was determined to get involved in the technical side of projects as well as expand her marketing knowledge to all sides of the business. Today, she is our Marketing lead as well as a web development project lead, showing her strong leadership and team mentality in everything she does. When asked about what skills and knowledge she gained from being in MUPC, Mikayla responded with “I learned a lot about web development, like WordPress and Elementor… I’ve also grown more as a team player, like being patient and understanding and learning the value of listening to others as well as the importance of respect in a team… RJ always encourages the betterment of students by helping us develop in specific areas.”
This semester, Mikayla’s main focus has been developing MUPC’s website in conjunction with managing the venture’s Google Ads. However, her favorite project has been designing a past client’s website because it was her first technical project and she loved receiving the positive client feedback. In addition, Mikayla commented that MUPC’s exposure to client interaction shows the consultants the importance of communicating professionally in a business setting. “You’re taking what you learned in core classes and actually applying it… The experience in a real business like this makes it less intimidating to apply for internships and jobs in the future and you always stand out.” Mikayla still gets excited for our weekly Zoom meetings and she always brings a positive and exciting atmosphere with her! When asked if she had any words of wisdom, she said “Don’t be afraid to change things, give ideas, and talk, because it could be the start of something great! This venture would be boring without the willingness to take risks. It makes MUPC what it is!”
Ben Maynard, an Associate Consultant, is graduating as a Math Data Science major with a Certificate in Data Management. After finding out about MUPC through Alex, Ben joined the venture the spring semester of his Junior year, expecting new experiences and new things to learn. After already having some database exposure, Ben was able to put into practice his previous knowledge and perfect his skills while also learning about web development sites like WordPress. In addition, Ben went on to say “The biggest thing I’ve learned about being in MUPC is how to be a part of a real business, it’s not just a class project. You learn how to meet and interact with clients and about the process of keeping ongoing discussion with clients about their wants and needs… You learn to make your own decisions that impact a business.”
Ben’s main focus for the semester has been updating the website for another student-run venture, MARS (Millikin Audio Recording service), but his favorite client project has been working with Dove. “I think I learned the most from working with Dove. I really liked working with other majors and seeing how we were impacting the Decatur Community.” In addition, Ben commented that his favorite part about being in MUPC was meeting all the wonderful people he has and talking with them. (Awe!) During our weekly Scrum sessions, Ben always listens to each consultant, giving them his undivided attention and feedback if needed. When asked for words of encouragement, Ben responded with “Keep working hard! There’s no reason to be intimidated by stuff you don’t know. If you feel like you don’t have the necessary knowledge or skills, RJ and the other consultants will help you learn what you want to learn.”
Junior Consultant Paige Boomer, graduating as a major in Musical Theater, joined MUPC this past spring semester of her Senior year. Even though her experience with MUPC was cut short, Paige said “I’ve gained so much knowledge. It’s crazy how much I’ve learned in such a small amount of time.” When she first joined MUPC, Paige had no idea what to expect, but she thought it would be more of a class than a venture. “I’ve really improved my business knowledge with MUPC, and it was really unexpected but in the best way possible!” Before joining the venture, Paige had some experience with social media marketing, and she was able to go into more depth by seeing how much preparation goes into marketing a business. Moreover, Paige commented that she enjoyed seeing the Scrum aspect of the business. “I really liked hearing different questions team members ask during Scrum about each other’s projects. I would never have known about that part of business if I never joined.”
This semester, Paige’s main focus has been helping with our social media marketing and coming up with new and witty captions for FTSF! In addition, she is currently creating a pitch of MUPC’s services for SOTAD (The School of Theater and Dance) at Millikin. Her presence at MUPC has given the venture a lot of new perspective as well as additional connection to other parts of Millikin. “To be a good artist, you have to be a well-rounded person. In my case, I wanted to know more about running a business.” Paige went on to say she had a great conversation with RJ about joining MUPC, encouraging her to take a risk! She’s loved building new relationships and contacts, giving her more people to turn to for help. When asked if she had any parting words, she responded with “Think outside the box! Think from multiple angles, like from client’s and from those not in MUPC. Encourage the diversity of students and perspectives. Always think of new stuff. Take a chance on the class, bring energy and curiosity!”
And finally, our faculty advisor RJ has a few parting words for our wonderful seniors.
“Watching seniors graduate is always a bittersweet moment for me. I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments, hard work, and leadership Alex, Mikayla, Ben, and Paige have shown during their time with MUPC. They’ve seen the venture evolve, completed complex and meaningful client engagements, confronted failure, introduced and implemented new ideas, moved office locations, and trained new consultants to carry the torch forward. We’re all standing on the shoulders of those who have come before us. This group of seniors has built on the work of the original group of MUPC consultants and those remaining will build on the legacy of this group of seniors too. Personally, I’ll enjoy watching these four in their careers ahead, staying in touch, and when they can return to offer their wisdom to a future group of MUPC consultants. They will be deeply missed, and I’m sure they will miss us too. But, it’s time for them to move on to the next chapter in their story, and we celebrate that in the unconventional ways that are possible during this unprecedented time. So here’s to Alex, Mikayla, Ben, and Paige — we wish you nothing but the very best in your future endeavors and thank you for the mark you have left on Millikin during your time here. Cheers!”