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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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May 8, 2019

Balfany Transforms Passion into a Career

Balfany Transforms Passion into a Career
Maddie Balfany graduates with a job secured as a recruiter at Ameritas.
Deciding where to attend college never worried Maddie Balfany, who always knew she wanted to be a Husker. Finding the right company to join after graduation proved to be a different story. 

Following a long line of Huskers in her family, the decision to attend Nebraska was a no-brainer. With grandparents, parents and older sisters who graduated from the university, she followed in their footsteps, donned the scarlet and cream and started college as a business administration major.

“Growing up in Lincoln, I have always been very familiar with the university and Nebraska always had a special feeling to me. I have seen many students succeed here, and the environment seemed very welcoming and that it would set me up for success,” explained the Lincoln, Nebraska native.

Inspired by her two older sisters, Balfany became a student ambassador for the College of Business. Her time as an ambassador sparked an interest in Balfany that carried forward throughout her collegiate career.

“I really enjoyed hearing stories students would tell during their visits. Telling them what I had found here and educating them on the different majors gave me joy. Recruiting them to the university pushed me to change my major to human resources management,” explained Balfany.

Balfany wore many different hats while at Nebraska, including being on the Scarlet Dance team and serving as a member of Mortar Board senior honorary society.
Balfany wore many different hats while at Nebraska, including being on the Scarlet Dance team and serving as a member of Mortar Board senior honorary society.
The farther along at Nebraska she went, the more her choice to switch majors solidified as the right decision. Not only did she enjoy her courses, the roles she served proved she chose the right field.

“I became the recruitment chair for my sorority, Chi Omega, which gave me a more in-depth look at leadership and the process of recruitment,” she said. “I also worked with recruiting at my internship at Ameritas. Being on the other side of the booth at career fairs was a weird feeling, but I enjoyed recruiting the students and found it was something I wanted to pursue in my career.”

With her goal to find a career in human resources, she sought a company that fit her personal needs. After her Strategic Human Resource Management (MNGT 461) course, taught by Laurie Bellows, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, Balfany began to see the picture more clearly. 

“Listening to speakers in class helped me identify what I wanted from a company. Many companies ask what you want out of a job, things like growth you could see or a culture that is very family oriented. Those speakers helped me narrow down exactly what I want and what’s important to me in a professional career,” Balfany said. “Professor Bellows took an interesting and different class set up than I ever had, which helped determine what route myself and other people in the class wanted to go.”

Balfany gained a glimpse into the world of strategic human resources, developing solutions and recommendations to real-world problems the industry faces today.

“My goal for the course was to have students better understand the strategies behind strategic human resource management, with the focus on becoming successful leaders. I felt it was important for students to grapple with and learn from experiences similar to the real-world. I wanted to familiarize students with issues they would face as future human resource professionals,” explained Bellows.

Bellows brought in professionals from companies such as Hudl, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and Lincoln Public Schools to give students a firsthand take on the experience of working in the field.

“One of the best ways to help set students up for success is to let them hear from those who are in the moment, the professionals in the field who have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and can give students insight into the everyday opportunities and challenges of strategic human resource management,” said Bellows. “The combination of the guest presenters, reflection papers and the opportunity to address a real problem with a collaborative team, hopefully gave Maddie, along with the rest of the students, a memorable learning experience they will be able to translate into their work experience down the road.”

Balfany found what she wanted from a company in the place she did her internship. She graduates from Nebraska on a high note with a job secured at Ameritas as a recruiter on the talent acquisition team.

“My experiences at Nebraska have given me a great foundation, which is important in a lot of things. Through all my classes and internship, I can now see how what I have learned directly relate to the business world and my career. I’ve been able to spread my roots and expand in things here, and that gives me confidence to move forward in my life,” she proclaimed.

To learn more about the management major with its human resource management track, visit: