This summer, Butler University’s Old National Bank Center for Business Excellence (ONB Center) welcomes its first cohort of graduate fellows. But these three May 2021 Butler grads won’t only offer their talents to the ONB Center—instead, they will spend the next two years on six-month rotations with a variety of organizations. 

You might think of the fellowship as four jobs in one. A portion of the program is based within the ONB Center, where fellows will serve as mentors for interns and facilitate relationships with companies looking to hire students for project-based work. The remainder of the program is made up of positions with three partner companies: MJ Insurance, Ice Miller LLP, and Old National Bank. In each role, fellows will work closely with executive leadership, contributing to high-level projects and initiatives.

“These aren’t entry-level roles,” says ONB Center Manager Ginger Lippert ’04, MBA ’13. “We are working holistically with our partners to make sure each fellow gains rich, personalized experience while also adding value to the companies.”

The program is designed to serve as an expansion of the ONB Center’s existing undergraduate internship, so students must have completed an internship with the Center in order to apply for the fellowship. Later this year, the Center will round out this student experience model with the launch of BlueWork, an online platform connecting companies with Butler students of any year or major for the completion of project-based work. Eventually, tracking a specified number of hours in BlueWork will become a prerequisite for the ONB Center internship—establishing a defined path from BlueWork, to internship, to fellowship.

The fellowship positions will be customized to align with each fellow’s background, skills, and career goals. By the end of the two-year program, participants will have experienced a range of responsibilities within a variety of industries, and ultimately, they’ll have learned more about themselves. 

“Until you get into the professional world,” says Mark McFatridge ’90, MBA ’00, Executive Director of the ONB Center, “it’s difficult to truly know what you like, and what matches with your personality, goals, and passions. This is an opportunity for these fellows to figure out who they are and what they want to do. They will gain exposure to different company cultures, structures, and management styles. It’s just really a unique opportunity.”

Meet the 2021 Cohort of ONB Center Fellows

Macy Burkhart ’21
Majors: International Business, Marketing
While at Butler: member of Pi Beta Phi, Exploratory Studies Peer Mentor, interned at ONB Center in fall 2020, peer mentored with ONB Center in spring 2021

“I came into college as an Exploratory Studies student, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Through the ONB Center internship last fall, I was able to find areas within marketing that I’m passionate about. Now with this fellowship, I’m able to work with four different organizations and gain a wider variety of skills in different industries, which will help me further discover what I want to. That variety is what made me so interested in this rotational program.

We have met with all the companies in advance to talk about what we’re interested in and come up with some ideas for projects. I mentioned event planning to Ice Miller, and I know I’ll be helping with their Day of Giving, as well as reaching out to nonprofits. That aligns well with my experience, because I have already interned with a nonprofit. I know for each of the companies, I’ll also be doing projects with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This fellowship is definitely being tailored as much as possible to what we enjoy. 

I’m excited to continue growing as a professional and figuring out what I like. Hopefully by the end of these two years, I’ll have a clearer understanding. I think it’s hard as a college student to know right off the bat what you want to do, so with the fellowship, I’m excited to have the opportunity to grow and develop my skills.”

Joe Spenchian ’21
Major: Marketing
While at Butler: President of Mortar Board, Vice President of Project 44 (student organization), involved with Alpha Kappa Psi, interned with ONB Center in summer 2020

“This fellowship will give me the chance to work for multiple well-established, unique companies. There are not many opportunities like that. I will be exposed to four separate work environments, while also learning from smart and successful individuals.

As of now, I am only aware of what my work will look like at my first rotation, which is with MJ Insurance. I will be working on market research and data analysis that will consist of competitive and geographic analyses. I am very satisfied with this opportunity because it fits with my strengths, which include research and analysis.

I am most looking forward to making so many new connections. All the people I will be working with have had such different pasts, and I am hoping they will be able to provide me with beneficial feedback and lessons. I want to leave this experience knowing I contributed value to each company and learned what it takes to be successful in each industry.

Butler’s focus on experiential learning has taught me so much and has helped prepare me for this fellowship. Butler taught me to be adaptable and willing to take on any new challenge that I can use as a learning opportunity, and this is exactly how I view the ONB Fellowship.”

Natalia Lascano ’21
Majors: International Business, Marketing
While at Butler: member of Delta Gamma, Student Orientation Guide, participated in Fall Alternative Break, interned with ONB Center in summer 2020, peer mentored with ONB Center in fall 2020

“The ONB Center has given me the opportunity to explore my interests in different industries and find out what I am good at. They also challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, which ended up being really rewarding. All in all, the ONB Center’s team cares about students, members, and partners, and this shows in their everyday activities. I wanted to be part of an organization that cares, and that would give me the opportunity to continue exploring my interests in different ways, and this fellowship is perfect for that. 

I will be mostly conducting HR and marketing projects for the host companies. I am excited to learn more about the variety of industries, and this will be a great learning experience that allows me to meet talented people from all the different organizations. That is something I never expected to get from my first job after graduation!

Butler has pushed me to take on challenges with a positive yet strategic attitude. The LSB curriculum has helped me grow as a professional. Through classes like Real Business Experience, as well as Marketing and Strategy Capstones, I have become a valuable team player and an effective leader. Additionally, Butler’s liberal arts education has taught me to keep an open mind and always consider different perspectives, even if it means challenging the status quo.”

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