Confirming He Made the Right Decision, One Accomplishment at a Time
Thursday, April 30 2020 06:04pm
Graduating senior Ian Koenig reflects on his four years at Ohio University’s College of Business.
By Bri Schoepf
Ian Koenig, an Ohio University senior studying management information systems (MIS) and business analytics, was recently named Delta Sigma Pi’s 2020 East Central Regional Collegian of the Year, the highest honor for the national fraternity’s members. He was chosen for the award based on his outstanding degree of leadership, academic success, and involvement in the fraternity.
The Collegian of the Year program was established over 40 years ago by Delta Sigma Pi (DSP), which was one of the first professional business fraternities in the United States and the first at OHIO in 1925.
“It’s based 100% on the chapter. They nominated me, and I was very fortunate to be president of such a great group at the time. But the award really focuses on the ability to lead and the ethics conducted throughout your chapter. My chapter and the people in it are some of the most incredible people that I’ve ever met,” Ian explained. “They continuously make it easy to be a leader. They make it so that I or anyone in the organization has the ability to go in and feel confident in what they’re saying and confident in what they’re doing. So, the award really reflects the work that they put in and the work that we’ve all put in together.”
After graduating in May, Ian will start the next chapter of his life in New York, where he will be working for Microsoft as a solutions specialist. Things could have gone very differently for Ian, however.
A Major Decision
Had Ian continued with his initial college and career plans, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to succeed at Ohio University’s College of Business. While attending St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, Ian originally wanted to study physical therapy because he was intrigued by his own PT treatment that he completed while running cross country. However, after thinking more about his future plans, he decided that marketing would be a better fit for him.
Ian’s interest in Ohio University emerged while he was researching different business schools and noticed OHIO was ranked as one of the best public business schools in the United States by Bloomberg Businessweek. He decided to apply to the honors program, and when he was accepted, he knew that Ohio University would shortly become his new home.
After taking a tour and visiting the College of Business for the honors program selection day, he was not only captivated by how beautiful the campus was but was also impressed by the people around him. According to Ian, it was everyone’s welcoming attitudes and easy-going personalities that helped him feel an instant sense of belonging and comfort.
“The one thing that I noticed was that I didn’t feel like I was on a selection panel. I didn’t feel like I was getting interviewed. Everyone was very talkative, so it made my experience a lot more comfortable. The way the whole tour was set up, and the people I met while I was here, made me feel very at home and very relaxed while I was going through the entire process,” Ian reflected.
That comfort continued into Ian’s first semester at OHIO when he began his learning community, which offers students a chance to build relationships with students in the same major and develop a deeper understanding of the courses that they have in common.
Acclimating to Campus Life
Ian’s learning community helped him to grow personally and develop immediate connections at the very beginning of his college journey. He was fortunate enough to be in the same learning community as the other honors students, which made his adjustment to college even easier.
“I really appreciated it and thought that it was a great way for me to get to know people. Some of my best friends now are people that I’d met in that learning community, and this is four years down the road. It definitely was my starting point to meeting people within the College of Business and meeting some of my best friends,” Ian said.
Although Ian was in the honors program, he was still able to get involved with other groups. He’s thankful that he was encouraged to participate in other organizations because he had the opportunity to meet so many different types of people that he wouldn’t have gotten to meet if he was restricted to just one group.
The first organization he joined was the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre, one of the nation’s first and highest-ranked college sales programs. Although he enjoyed learning about marketing and being part of the Schey, he felt an unexpected pull toward MIS and business analytics, so he decided to change his major.
He knew he was interested in consumer insights and wanted to study business analytics, but because the discipline is a co-major in the COB, he decided to pair it with MIS because he was interested in computer learning and database design as well. He added that both majors have been extremely relevant throughout all of his internships.
“It’s landed me a lot of opportunities that I don’t think I’d be able to have if I would’ve gone with a different major,” Ian said. “I am glad that it’s something that I’m interested in learning [about] on a daily basis.”
Because of his interest in market research and consumer analytics, Ian became involved in the Center for Consumer Research and Analytics during his sophomore year, where he worked as a lead research fellow. During his time there, he worked with Ohio University’s Athletic Department to help increase student attendance at games. He also gained unique experience working with Dick’s Sporting Goods to help them determine ways to attract new customers from ages 18 to 25 years old.
Ian commented that while the College of Business offers many amazing organizations to get involved in on campus, it also provides unique off-campus opportunities – even around the world. One of his favorite memories was after his freshman year, when he participated in the Global Consulting Program (GCP China). During his time there, he had the opportunity to work with not only the best students within the College of Business, but also with students from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. The experience provided a new perspective about all that the world has to offer and sparked his curiosity about what is happening in different countries.
Although Ian got to experience a variety of projects during his time in the College of Business, he believes that one of the most challenging, yet beneficial, tasks was the Integrated Business Cluster. While it was work intensive, he remains grateful that he was required to go through the process. Like many business students, the program helped him become self-motivated and a hard worker, while opening him up to live business scenarios.
His involvement and accomplishments helped him earn three internships during his college career, an accomplishment that isn’t uncommon in the COB. Thanks to connections from his involvement on campus, each summer Ian interned with top employers like Cision, US Bank, and Alliance Data Card Services.
Although he is grateful for these opportunities and experiences, his primary involvement and passion was Delta Sigma Pi. He joined during his first semester of freshman year and has become more engaged since that time. Over the last four years he dedicated much of his time to the fraternity; he was elected as senior vice president in the fall of his junior year and president in the spring of that same year. Ian explained that he chose Delta Sigma Pi over the other business fraternities because as a freshman, he connected so well with the seniors and instantly felt comfortable. But one of his proudest accomplishments was when the chapter raised over $2,000 for the Relay for Life in Athens, giving them a third-place finish among all of the groups that fundraised.
Looking Back, Moving Forward
Ian has few regrets about the past four years. “Taking advantage of the nature and beauty of being in southern Ohio is something I wish I would’ve done more,” Ian said as he reflected on his time in Athens.
With graduation quickly approaching, Ian’s trying his best to take advantage of all that the area has to offer. When he is not in class or busy with his extra-curriculars, you can find him running around campus and exploring the nature around Athens, such as hiking at Hocking Hills State Park or boating at Strouds Run.
And although it’s evident that Ian is satisfied with his decision to attend Ohio University, he said that his only doubt (the negative reactions others had about him choosing OHIO) was also his main motivator. Ian persisted and made the most of his experience in Athens.
It was part of a promise he made to himself: that he would prove the naysayers wrong and take advantage of all that Ohio University has to offer. Today, he’s proud to admit that he has achieved his goal.
He explained that it’s Ohio University’s close-knit and comfortable environment that sets it apart from other schools and added that it’s also what pushes him and his fellow students to have the confidence to become leaders.
“In hindsight, it’s something you look back on and say, wow I’ve learned a lot from that experience and this is how I am going to be working with people in the future.”