Name: Michele (Brill) Lipschultz

Degree/Major/Graduation year: Undergraduate-Business with Majors in Finance and Marketing-graduated in 1996; Graduate UWO-MBA-graduated in 2009

Current Employer and Position: Thrivent Financial- Compliance Training Manager

Current City: Appleton WI

Food you couldn’t live without: Pasta

Favorite Hobbies: Family time, hiking, reading, running, traveling, public speaking, and teaching.

Favorite movie: Pay It Forward

Favorite class taken or professor at UWO and why: Professor Neindorf (Undergraduate). The two finance classes I had with him were the most difficult classes in undergrad and I am sure contributed to my early gray hairs while in my 20s. However, these two classes taught me the most when it came to application in the real world, Corporate America. The complex analysis, strategic thinking, and presentation of the findings (results) with assignments and projects, have been the skills I’ve used effectively and the most in my early career. Thank you Professor Neindorf!

What were you involved in while at UWO (clubs, sports, internships, ect)? A sorority, military science, and an internship that resulted in a job offer during my senior year-a finance position within a Marketing and Consulting firm (the perfect fit).

How did you get your first job after graduation? My first job came as a result of taking advantage of the services offered to soon-to-be graduates in the UWO Career Center. I prepared in advance, during the latter part of my junior year and throughout my senior year in a number of ways:

  1. I created and designed a professional resume.
  2. I sought out and applied for internships early.
  3. I prepared and practiced my interviewing skills with senior level executives that were friends of our family or friends of friends that were willing to allow me to practice these skills with them.
  4. Prior to each interview, I did a decent amount of research on the company and or interviewer so I’d be prepared with knowledge and relevant questions.
  5. Of course, I shopped for the interview look-one of my favorite parts…I bought a couple nice, stylish suits (college budget).

Both companies that I initially interviewed with in the Career Center invited me to their firms for an onsite interview and both extended offers to me within a couple weeks. In addition, the firm where I completed my internship also offered me a permanent position.  It was a very exciting time!

How does your current career path differ from your college ideals? It’s better than I could have ever imagined! I was not quite sure exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up (i.e., graduated from college), however, I knew I enjoyed my finance classes more than my marketing classes. My first job after college was with a transportation firm, as a Transportation Logistics Manager-managing drivers, scheduling and planning routes, and servicing my assigned customer’s needs. Within eighteen months I was ready to move into a role that would leverage my finance knowledge so I joined a financial services firm and have thoroughly enjoyed and grown in my professional journey over the last twelve years. Starting in the customer service center was the best place to be, as I learned the business from the ground up. From here, I held several roles with increased responsibility and leadership opportunities and now hold the role of the Compliance Training Manager.

They say do what you love and love what you do….and I do. It may be hard to believe a compliance role can be engaging, enjoyable and fulfilling, even from a creative perspective-trust me, it is and much more. The regulatory landscape of the financial industry is continually changing, so there’s always an opportunity to educate our employees. Regulatory topics can be serious and dry, couple that with adult learners that prefer to be active and engaged in relevant, current content…and you’ve got one tough audience. So we take a creative and innovative approach to compliance and regulatory training, utilizing our leaders and our own stories and examples when and where possible.

What is your best piece of advise for current COB students? Work harder and smarter in your tougher courses, as those are the courses I gained the most from and have found to be the most useful in Corporate America. Also, prepare as much as you can during your senior year to enter the real world — be proactive; take advantage of internships, write, review and revamp your resume, get up to speed on effective interviewing techniques— buy a ‘best practices for interviewing’ book, and be ready to sell yourself and how the skills and knowledge you applied to navigate a success academic career will serve you and THEM well in your professional career.