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Explore Your Future at SAU BizCon

Mitch Matthews

Mitch Matthews, founder of the Big Dream Gathering

March 2016 | by Robin JB Ruetenik, MOL '15

A new venture by the College of Business invites the St. Ambrose University community and prospective college students from area high schools to the first-ever Business Conference April 12-15.

This inaugural event begins Tuesday, April 12, featuring Mitch Matthews, entrepreneur and founder of The Big Dream Gathering. Both the St. Ambrose community and wider Quad Cities area are invited. Learn more about the event.

"The Big Dream Gathering will serve the greater Quad Cities community in a manner central to our very existence: to inspire ourselves and those we serve to greater things," said College of Business Dean Bill Lesch, PhD.

For the balance of the week, members of the Quad Cities business community, career specialists, and the College of Business faculty will lead 30-minute sessions focusing on surviving college (April 13) and surviving life after college (April 14-15). Click here to read the entire schedule.

Assistant Professor of Marketing Rob Rouwenhorst, PhD, is coordinating the event along with a committee of faculty and students. In addition to attending the conference, Rouwenhorst's marketing students brainstormed ideas for the week, designed the conference logo, developed marketing plans, and created a social media presence.

"I'm a huge proponent of experiential learning," Rouwenhorst said. "With this project, my students will have created ads for their portfolios, know results of how many people attended the events, and how many viewers saw their websites and social media accounts. Perhaps most importantly, they will have a compelling story to share in job interviews about how they created BizCon that became an Ambrose tradition."

Students in the College of Business are encouraged to attend the conference to gain valuable insight and knowledge on navigating life and college demands.

"I'm hoping that SAU's first Business Conference helps me get an idea of what to expect after college," said junior Amanda Bertolozzi, a public relations and strategic communication major. "While I've learned the ropes of college life, I'm not afraid to admit that I'm completely clueless when it comes to my future endeavors. Whether it's learning the basics on mortgages or buying a home, I hope the conference helps me get a step in the right direction for my life after school."

While there are plenty of college students who know exactly what they want to study, there are plenty who don't. The conference has a dual aim to help those undecided students and is devoting April 13 to that population. Attendees at the 9 a.m. session, "Deciding on a Major and Identifying Strengths" will complete the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment and receive a free copy of the book.

"It's hard being 18 and not knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life," Bertolozzi said, "but I think using the StrengthsFinder book will benefit some students."

Area high school students interested in business-related majors have been invited to the conference so that they can learn more about specific majors.

"The conference will be extremely beneficial to high school students," said First Year student Karla Martinez, a marketing major. "Current SAU professors are attending and can provide information on different majors. Additionally, St. Ambrose students – myself included – will also be there to speak with high school students about their interests."

The conference will provide an essential toolkit for current and prospective college students, Lesch said, one that will "fuel understanding of career opportunities and how to make any one of them a reality." 


SAU Business Conference is sponsored by American Family Insurance and the Quad-City Times.


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