Maggie Schlecht faced major doubts about her ability to succeed during her early years at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business. Through mentorship in her international business program, she attained the courage to not only excel in the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, but to also graduate and begin a career in the global financial services industry.
“I went in as an actuarial science major because I loved economics and calculus in high school. I thought it was a good fit,” said Schlecht, who came to Nebraska from Elmhurst, Illinois.
After taking her first actuarial science course, the global-minded Schlecht decided to switch her major to international business. Though she always loved the idea of traveling abroad, the change in programs brought a sense of uncertainty.
Then she met Dr. Kalu Osiri, director of the International Business Program and associate professor of practice in management, who helped her look at challenges differently. Despite her timidness in Osiri’s Leadership in a Global Context (MNGT 414) class, her professor noticed Schlecht’s curiosity to learn and recognized her potential.
“There were 80 or more students in the class, but Maggie stood out,” said Osiri. “She was a sophomore then and highly engaged with the course material. She was quiet and wouldn't say anything during class, but she often met me after class to ask questions.”
Talking with Osiri gave Schlecht more confidence in her new major and her future in the field. It led her to study abroad in Panama, which she credits Osiri for putting on her radar. During the trip, Schlecht worked on a team project to create a business plan for a luxury sailboat marina. Consulting in frontier markets like Panama makes the college’s global immersion experiences distinctive. She later studied abroad for a semester in Aix-en-Provence, France.
“Learning from Dr. Osiri made me feel secure in choosing international business as a major because I can see opportunities out there for me,” she said. “Since switching majors, I’ve always gone to him for advice on internships and applying to different programs. He’s always pushing me to go further and do more than what I think I can.”
He encouraged Schlecht when she led the International Business Club and volunteered as an American Conversation Partner for the Employment Readiness Certificate Program, an eight-week intensive career preparation program for international students. She also became the first Nebraska Business Honors Academy student to be named an Allan Noddle International Business Distinguished Scholar. The cohort-based distinguished scholar program allows high-achieving, global-minded students to take part in research opportunities and an additional study abroad experience.
“When I found out Maggie was an international business major, I began to mentor her. I would contact her whenever I saw an opportunity for her to lead and get out of her comfort zone. Of course, she figured out what I was doing but still accepted the challenge,” Osiri said. “Maggie truly embodies what it means to be an international business major. She is a resonant leader with a bright future.”
Schlecht and close to 600 other graduates celebrated earning their degrees on May 9 through a virtual ceremony due to COVID-19. She will soon start at Refinitiv, a global financial services company, in Chicago as part of their Graduate Leadership Program. In her role as a graduate leadership associate, she will serve in multiple client-facing roles in her first year as she builds her career in the industry. With the job secured during the fall semester of her senior year, she is grateful for her time at Nebraska Business.
“The College of Business is where I spent the bulk of my time and I loved every minute of it. The people I have met and the places I have gone are irreplaceable,” she said.
To learn more about the International Business Program, visit: https://business.unl.edu/ib.
To learn more about the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, visit: https://business.unl.edu/honors.