April

jarzenbeck

Christine Jarzenbeck
Graduation Date: May 1993
Major: Business with Emphasis in Information Systems
Title: Franchise Owner, Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating

Please describe your present role and employer.
I am an entrepreneur and business owner currently. I own three Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating stores, with locations in both the city and county. But I didn't end up here without learning from my other endeavors in IT and middle management at SBC Communications (Executive Director), as a reporter/anchor for WEEK-TV (NBC) in Peoria, IL and other small engagements, including: an adjunct professor, and writer with my own magazine column.

What is the best piece of business advice you received from a professor?
I don't know that it was specific advice per se, but the class that I got the most from was actually a database class, of all things. Although it was technical in nature, the high level knowledge I received about organizing data (what we call 'normalizing' in the IT world) has helped me to this day. I am presented with so much data as a business owner, including tracking current customers, past customers, and leads, that really understanding the many different ways to organize and capture the data has helped me be successful. The class has also helped me know when to question the authenticity of data and know when there may be more to the numbers than what is being shown.

The one professor that I really admired was Dr. Mary Lacity. Her energy and approach to IT was different than other professors. She was charged up about things - and she brought a real life perspective to her curriculum.

What are the top skills that business students need today?
Project management and interpersonal skills. The ability to manage large and even small scale projects is imperative. Understanding task dependencies, timelines and critical paths is an important skill.

People skills are important because "completing your work" is really only half of your job. A lot of business is all about "who you know", so it's important to start and cultivate relationships. Your relationships in business will help you do everything from receiving mentoring advice, building your sales volume, removing project roadblocks…"who you know" helps progress your career along too.

What is something you wish you would have learned as an undergraduate that you could use in the workplace today?
Negotiation skills. I have learned the hard way that EVERYTHING is negotiable…and I do mean everything. The key with negotiating is that both parties win. In order to "take a little" you have to "give a little" in a negotiating setting. If you convince the other party you are trying to help them too - this will get you very far.

Have there been any defining moments or learning experiences in your career that you felt were key for your continued success in your field?
My biggest defining moment was walking away from a huge corporate job and huge paycheck to try to find my life calling. At the age of 30, I walked away from a 6-figure management position and took a 90% paycut to try out broadcast journalism - the riskiest thing I have ever done, but well worth it. I have experienced more and met so many more people because I have continued to change industries and take on new challenges. Still not sure I have found my life's calling, but I'm not done looking…

What is the biggest change you have seen in the campus since you graduated?
The Touhill Performing Arts Center is fabulous!

Who or what inspires you most in the business world?
Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump. I know of no one who lives their life as fully as Oprah. And Donald Trump is just great at business across the board.

What book are you reading these days?
How to Be a Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller - yes, already considering my next endeavor in life and Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray - a great relationship book.

What's in your CD player right now?
A bunch of motivational sales CD's, Oprah's CD from her 'Live Your Best Life' Tour, and any music that is high RPM, dance or very fast music….it helps motivate me.

Where do you see UMSL in the next 5 to 10 years?
I would like to see UMSL establish more of a national presence in the next decade, attracting top notch students and faculty. I would also like to see UMSL publicize their faculty to the media more, marketing them as experts in their field like many private universities do. Seeing our faculty in print more will be great PR for the university.


March

bentrup

Barbara Bentrup
Graduation Date: May 1989
Major: Business-Accounting Minor:
Other Degrees:
M.B.A. - Finance - Saint Louis University, August 2001

Expertise: Accounting and Finance for the Healthcare, Insurance and Managed Care Industries

Can you briefly recap the past positions you've held that have gotten you to your present position?
I have held a several finance director positions at UnitedHealthcare. Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare in 1997, I held positions at Intensiva Healthcare and Price Waterhouse LLP. These positions helped me to build a strong financial and accounting background in the healthcare and managed care industry in order to achieve my goal of becoming a CFO.

Please describe your present role and employer.
I am currently the Market CFO/Finance Director for the Missouri & Central/Southern Illinois markets for UnitedHealthcare. My role is more of a financial consulting role as a member of our local management team and I am also responsible for overall financial results including assessing and disseminating financial reporting information, analyzing current product and segment results, developing forecasts of future results and strategic planning.

What is the best piece of business advice you received from a professor?
The best advice was the encouragement to go into public accounting.

What was you favorite hangout while a student?
Unfortunately I was a non-traditional student juggling a full-time job, motherhood and full-time class schedule so I did not get to partake of the fine establishments near campus.

What are the top skills that business students need today?
Students really need to hone their communication, presentation and networking skills in order to succeed in business. As my boss says, "We're all in sales." Even if you are in the accounting or finance area, you will need to be able to effectively communicate with others both within and outside your company in order to be successful and advance to upper management. These skills coupled with knowing how to be a team player are invaluable and not always focused on in undergraduate courses.

What is something you wish you would have learned as an undergraduate that you could use in the workplace today?
My days at UMSL prepared me for the business world. The academic environment at UMSL was challenging and stimulating, and provided a strong business foundation. The extra-curricular organizations, e.g., Accounting Club and Beta Alpha Psi, provided opportunities to meet professionals in the field of accounting in order to gain a broader perspective of the profession. UMSL provided many necessary tools to accomplish my goals. However, as noted previously, communication and presentation skills are two areas that I would have liked to have developed more fully before entering the business world. Fortunately, we keep learning throughout our careers.

Have there been any defining moments or learning experiences in your career that you felt were key for your continued success in your field?
I cannot say that there is one big defining moment, however, I have been fortunate enough to have worked with and had a mentor that has guided me in many ways throughout my career. He provided invaluable advice and gave me many opportunities to develop my expertise and enhance my career. I encourage everyone to find a mentor who can help you to see the "big picture" and facilitate your career potential.

What is the biggest change you have seen in the campus since you graduated?
The dormitories, Millennium Center and the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Who or what inspires you most in the business world?
What inspires me the most is how far the business world has evolved in opening opportunities for women. An example would be my grandmother. When she graduated from business school in 1937, there were very few opportunities for women in business. She began her business career as a secretary but continued to work her way up the ladder and returned to college to obtain a degree in accounting. She was a successful accountant for over 30 years. Although she is no longer in the field of accounting, she is 87 and continues to work full-time because she enjoys it! Although her path through the business world was difficult, she and others helped pave the way for my generation and now women excel in leadership positions in all areas of business.

What book are you reading these days?
I am currently attending Saint Louis University School of Law in the part-time evening program so much of my reading is related to my law school courses. However, I did enjoy John Grishom's The Broker over the winter break. One of the best business books I have read recently was Fish!

What's in your CD player right now?
The soundtrack to Movin' Out and Sheryl Crow's Greatest Hits.

Where do you see UMSL in the next 5 to 10 years?
Additions such as the dormitories, the Millennium Center and the Touhill Performing Arts Center, coupled with the new partnership with Express Scripts, are laying the foundation for UMSL to become a world-class educational institution.


January

Laurence Zeilinski earned his BSBA in 1994 from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He currently works for the State of Missouri as a Workforce Development Specialist. Since graduation, Larry has been an active member of the Alumni Association and has served as President of the UMSL College of Business Alumni Chapter-representing more than 20,000 college of business graduates. Larry is very proud of the positive changes on the UM St Louis campus over the years. With the addition of the dormitories, the Millennium Center and the Touhill Performing Arts Center, he believes there are now more opportunities than ever before for students to socialize and form lifelong bonds.

Zeilinski will be a guest of honor at the Top Ten in Business alumni award reception later this year. The event is sponsored by the UMSL College of Business Administration Alumni Chapter.

Again, Congratulations Larry, and thank you for your service to the UMSL!

zeilinski

Laurence S. Zielinski
St. Louis, MO
Major: Business Administration - Class of 1994
Employer: State of Missouri
Department of Economic Development
Position: Workforce Development Specialist

What was your career prior to your present position:
Vice President of Veatch Chemical
Managing Director of The Kirdonn Group

Tell us about the work you do.
I prepare the Missouri Workforce to meet the needs of the Economic Development needs of the 22nd Century.

What is the most challenging issue that you are facing in your industry today?
Doing more with less.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Being able to help people find the best career path for their skillset.

What book has had the greatest impact on your professional life?
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.

How do you keep up with Industry trends?
I read the the Wall Street Journal, the St. Louis Business Journal regularly. I'm also involved in several networking groups within my profession.

What was the most influential business course you've taken at UMSL?
Buyer Behavior with Doctor Dik Twedt

Best piece of business advice you ever received?
If it's to be it's up to ME.

What is you greatest professional moment?
Having the Company I was part of being named one of the 10 fastest growing companies in Missouri.

Best UMSL memories?
Enjoying friends and acquaintances at the Student Union and the local drinking establishments--Friday's II and Pieces of Eight (ahh, the memories).

Business Philosophy?
I always compare business to a poker game. Always play fair, always play to win and always try to get the most chips.