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Laura Malcolm

Laura Malcolm

Laura Malcolm
Marketing & Recruitment Coordinator, School of Business Administration
Transitioning to Assistant Director of Alumni Services (in May 2017)
BBA ‘11, Marketing
Interviewed by Scott Moncrieff

 

How did you get your first full-time job after graduating?
That was with Hanapin Marketing in Bloomington, Indiana. I went through the online application process and got the job.

 

Did you contact them before you graduated?
No. I took a break after graduating. I was completely swamped my senior year. I took on loads and loads of projects and I didn't have any time for any job hunting my senior year, so after graduation I went home, went camping, did a couple of trips and then I started the job search process maybe a couple months after graduation.

How long did that take from starting to look for the job to getting the job?
About a month.

How did it come about that you returned to Andrews?
After working for Hanapin for about a year, I was talking with Dr. Allen Stembridge, the School of Business Dean at that time. I was part of the Dean's Advisory Council and they were talking about opening up a marketing and recruiting coordinator position, and I was very interested because I've always enjoyed starting initiatives from the ground up, and marketing, and it seemed like a good fit, plus my husband (we had just recently gotten married) was living in the area, so rather than doing four hour drives every other weekend I took the job. It was just God's timing.

How did your undergraduate coursework or projects relate to the job that you're actually doing?
The classes were very good in theory and learning about different options, but I think that the biggest help for me was actually the work and extracurricular activities. For example, I was a team leader in Enactus; I was Business Student Advisory Council President for a year; I was working part-time at Harbor of Hope, a non-profit, and I was doing marketing and fundraising for them, so I was acquiring some of those project management skills. In Professor (Bruce) Wrenn’s Consumer Behavior class we had loads of presentations, and I also had marketing courses that had lots of presentations. I know that was helpful in learning some of the public speaking skills which I've done a fair bit of in my job, and also the different classes like Principles of Marketing or Marketing Research Advertising and Promotions where we had projects with actual clients. Those classes were extraordinarily helpful for learning how to put together a marketing plan or campaign ideas and looking at the big picture strategy-wise.

How do you go about marketing the School of Business Administration programs?
When I came in the position there really weren't materials to give out other than one brochure, so part of my job has been focused on creating more materials. Another aspect has been looking at ways that we can make the program attractive to incoming students. Marketing is not just about sales; it's about creating a quality program and product. So I was involved in starting a couple of mentoring programs involving alumni and students, dabbling a little bit in the career assistance, resume assistance, mock interviews with students, because if our graduates have good jobs it reflects well on our current students, and that's also very attractive to prospective students. We also completely revamped our website, put together new brochures like “10 reasons why the School of Business Administration is a great place to study.” We’ve created an Explore Michiana series, where we have an original magazine on our website, focusing on things you can do in the area during different seasons.

Do you have students working with you?
I do have one fantastic student worker, Thomas Kapusi (senior, business administration). He's has a graphic design and photography background; he's one of our business students and he's been phenomenal about putting all of this together. He's one of the reasons we've really been able to get some of our brochures and other things revamped this year. Armand Poblete, one of our computer Information Systems faculty, helped redesign our website, so we have a great team.

How do you evaluate how well this stuff is working?
In the future we hope to have better metrics in place. Right now it's just looking at responses from students’ interactions. The goal is to put information in front of prospective students that they will find as valuable, making sure that they have a website they can go to that gives them what they need.

I’ve heard you're about to make a job transition?
Yes. In May I’m starting as Assistant Director of Alumni Services. I'm really excited about that position. I'll still be doing a lot of marketing, some website content creation. My goal is to build relationships with alumni and open up opportunities within Andrews University for alumni to get involved in various ways, perhaps looking at expanding the mentorship program or some different things like that.

Let's switch tracks. Tell us how you got into doing triathlons.
I had been splashing around in the pool since I was little, but in my freshman year I took swimming class with Greg Morrow and actually learned more properly how to swim, and I’ve had a lot more lessons since then, refining my stroke. I played soccer and basketball in high school, played soccer here for a year, and I think it was maybe my freshman year when I did the Niles Buchanan 10k run just for fun and I did the Beach to Bank solo (a short triathlon Andrews University used held for a few years) my senior year, and that year I also ran my first marathon. My dad was a cyclist and my parents had a tandem, so when I was a kid we used to go out on tandem rides and do metric centuries. So I've been doing everything for years—it was just putting it all together. In 2012 I did my first proper triathlon, an olympic-length triathlon (.93 miles swim, 24.8 miles bike, and 6.2 miles run) and then I did the Steelhead Half-Ironman in Benton Harbor (1.2 miles swim, 56 miles bike, 13.1 miles run). I did the Steelhead four years in a row. And then in the fall of 2016 I did my first full Ironman (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike, 26.2 miles run) at Ironman Wisconsin, and I had a really, really great experience. I'm currently training for my second one, Mont-Tremblant, in Quebec on August 20, 2017.

So you start an Ironman about what time of day?
About sunrise. You wear a wetsuit in the water. The challenging part is swimming with 2500 other people packed together, kicking you, pushing you. One of my friends doing the race got her face pushed under the water. You get hit and your ears are ringing. It's just a madhouse.

How can you train for one of these events while you’re working full-time?
A lot of times I'll do double workouts, so I might swim for a couple of hours in the morning, go to work, and then in the evening do my hour of speed work running, or a two hour bike ride—something like that. It's a commitment.

I bet you sleep well.
Yes, if only there were more hours in the day. It's totally possible to do the shorter distances without putting in that sort of time and commitment, or maybe even the full Ironman if you're not caring about your time. It kind of depends on you, your goals and how your body responds to things.

Do you feel awesome all the time with all your training because you're in such great shape, or do you feel tired all the time because you're breaking down your body so much?
It seems like a lot of times I’m tired, but sometimes it's awesome feelings in there as well. I enjoy the training. I don't think you should do it if it's not something you enjoy. I love swimming. My favorite is open water swims, so I'll do a couple of pool swims and one open water swim in a week. I just love the feeling of being out in the open lake. I think Lake Michigan is so beautiful and clear and blue. I love cycling. I've ridden across Oklahoma; in six days we did about 500 miles across Oklahoma. I’ve ridden from the Indiana border up to Mackinaw all along the coast. I got to 499 miles and I didn't know it until afterwards and I was like “Why didn't I try one more mile?” And then last week I actually rode the Natchez Trace Parkway with a group, so that was 525 miles in a week. You have to enjoy it.

Is your husband an extreme athlete?
Not in the least, but he's very supportive and I love him a lot. He’s a night shift nurse right now in the ICU for Memorial, and the tough part is getting around our schedules and my training commitment and his stuff. You have to plan in quality time and he's been super supportive—I'm lucky for that.

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