2020 Best & Brightest: Samantha Maryann Stevons, Michigan State (Broad)

Samantha Maryann Stevons

Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University

A multipotentialite with a wild imagination.”

Fun fact about yourself: I eat three apples a day and I have 30 first cousins!

Hometown: Rochester Hills, Michigan

High School: Rochester Adams High School

Major: Supply Chain Management

Minor: Information Technology

Favorite Business Course: Business Law and Ethics

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Dean’s List Every Semester Since I’ve Been in College
  • Spectrum Consulting Group
    • Director of Marketing & HR – September 2019 – May 2020
  • Spartan Blockchain Solutions
    • Project Manager – January 2018 – May 2020
    • Best Pitch Award – Blockchain Innovation Competition
  • Phi Chi Theta Business Fraternity Professional Business Fraternity
    • Director of Operations – December 2017 – December 2018
  • Supply Chain Management Association
    • Student Ambassador Chair – January 2019
    • Process Management: Six Sigma Certification Chair – January 2020
  • International Business Organization
    • Communications Chair – December 2016 – December 2017
  • MSU Extension – Agriculture Education
    • Finance Intern – April 2018 – May 2020

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • GE Aviation: Grand Rapids, Michigan
    • Co-op Fall of 2017
    • Commodity Management Intern
  • Edwards Lifesciences: Irvine, California
    • Summer Intern of 2018
    • Logistics Program Manager Intern
  • Microsoft Corporation: Redmond, Washington
    • Summer Intern of 2019
    • Global Supply Planning Intern
  • Leadership Programs
    • JP Morgan: Winning Women Program in Commercial Banking in Chicago, Illinois
    • Whirlpool Corporation: Supply Chain Leadership Development Program in Benton Harbor, Michigan
    • BP: Sales & Trading Introduction Program in Chicago, Illinois
  • I tried to seek out different industries and functions within supply chain and beyond each summer to help identify which roles and what kind of products and services I liked best! The leadership development programs helped narrow down the scope of what I wanted to study in college. I considered every single business major at the Eli Broad College of Business.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington. I’m entering a three-year supply chain rotational program in planning, data analytics, and channel management.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The faulty. They are both approachable and available to their students. I always know what is going on and how I can participate or give back. The business school at Michigan State has such a welcoming culture and is home to faculty who care about their students and even take on advisor roles for student-run organizations. That to me speaks volumes and how much they want their students to thrive after college. I truly believe they set their students up to be successful in the professional world. I feel prepared and eager to apply my knowledge and skills I gained from this business school. The broad range of courses we take allows students to find what they are interested in and become academically well-rounded. Faulty gave us many opportunities and encouragement to join organizations on campus, attend workshops, and go to career fairs. I wouldn’t be in the place I am at without the assistance of the faculty who sat as mentors and professors to me.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business isn’t always black and white. I mainly thought of this field as outdated or boring when I first entered college. It seemed almost scary and a little overwhelming to learn about. I didn’t realize how universal this field could be in real life. My communication, analytical, leadership skills were just one of many qualities I saw develop in me.

Through this nearly four-year journey, the lesson I have gained is to never make quick or rash judgments. What I mean by this is to not judge something solely on the look of it. Discover something deeper or look for ways to challenge your ideology. This also goes into the saying of taking everything with a grain of salt and prove to yourself why you think a certain way. If you think finance is boring, for example, find out why you think so, make a pros and cons list, reach out to professors, and form an educated opinion. Business taught me all of this and to seek out the whole picture by looking at something from all angles. I think about this every day and it’s something I preach to younger people as well.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Do it! Business has endless opportunities readily available and prepares you to take on the world. What I like most about business is how many different roles and industries you can experiment with. I don’t feel restricted in this space. Business helps you take on everyday life and gives you essential skills to do your taxes, valuate a company, know what sells to customers, and create high-level strategies and overarching objectives. Business is limitless in my mind and seems like a good base to start with. I encourage any student who doesn’t know what they want to do or what to study is look into business.  Apply to leadership development programs, make a LinkedIn profile, and join as many clubs as you can to find what you are passionate about.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The world runs around this idea of business. Money, trading, and information flow channels are all concepts that fall under this. Business is so broad and something we do every day. I never made that connection until I started taking my first couple of business classes at MSU. I was able to connect the dots and realize that I have been partaking in business my entire life – and most of the time without even knowing it. The time I sold brownies in my third-grade class, I was exposed to the exchange of money from one person to another and was able to calculate how much of a profit I made that day. The time I made flyers for my babysitting services, I was partaking in marketing and advertising activities. This just shows how versatile business is and how it can be incorporated in everything we do. That is what I find most intriguing and surprising in business.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? A milestone was made in my life when my team and I won ‘Best Pitch’ in a Blockchain Innovation Challenge Case Competition in March of 2019. I never thought I had the capacity or capability to enter such a prestigious competition like this. I thought I had to be an expert coder or someone who had a vast technical background. I saw myself as an incomplete puzzle, not knowing how to put all the pieces together.

To be honest, it took a lot of conversations and mentoring to be comfortable pursuing something this big and diverse in my professional career. Nonetheless, I gave it a try and entered the competition with a group of four. I worked hard and tried to soak up as much information as I could from the other members of the group. All of them were Computer Science majors except for me and had extensive backgrounds in several coding languages. Only having taken one coding course, I felt less knowledgeable. However, as the competition neared, I continued to pursue meeting with team members on the side to learn how I could best help on the technical side. In return, I taught them how to style and give an effective presentation to others. With the mixture of both approaches, we were able to be successful in the competition and even win a monetary award for ‘Best Pitch’ of the entire competition. I felt accomplished. I learned to never be afraid of an opportunity to grow even if it seems farfetched because you will never know what you will benefit from it. I feel more confident in myself and professional capabilities from this and something I will never forget.

Which classmate do you most admire? Jacob Douglass Schmitt would be the classmate I admire the most. I believe this because we have gone through all four years of college classes together. He is the one who persuaded me to minor in Information Technology. In the end, that sparked my interest in technology. Ever since then, I have been fascinated by the advancements of technology and the architecture behind it and I have him to thank for that.

He also encouraged me to join an organization on campus called Spartan Blockchain Solutions. I thought at the time that I wouldn’t be able to get in because of not having enough of a technical background or having anxiety about joining a male-dominated group. Jake told me not to worry about the obstacles I had in the back of my mind. He said that if I wanted to do something, I should just go for it and give it my all and not focus on what I can’t do, but the potential I have to learn. That is something that has resonated with me throughout my four years and is still present in my thinking.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mom for my success. She has always taught me to be strong and ambitious in everything I do. Most of that was directed towards my professional career, but she also meant it in my personal life as well. That meant not being afraid to join male-dominated clubs or considering every major at Michigan State. I was given no restrictions on what I wanted to study and was only encouraged to follow what I loved. This helped immensely throughout my college career especially. Whenever I would feel stressed about an exam or a big deliverable, I would hop on a five-minute phone call with my mom. Most of those five minutes would be me complaining about the workload or stress I had at the time, but she always told me to never give up and to look at the bigger picture. My mom would say to look at each task as a step to something greater. Look as if I was climbing a flight of stairs and to keep pushing until I reach the top. Because of this, I was able to stay focused on my goals and keep striving for success in everything I do. She taught me to have a healthy and positive mindset.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1) Become CEO of my own start-up company that is based around changing the way special needs children are taught in education. Having a special needs brother, this opened my eyes to how others learn. Growing up, my family and I taught ourselves sign language to communicate with my brother and was a way he could express his feelings to us since it was harder for him to talk. He taught me that everyone learns differently and at their own pace. My one regret is not having the capacity to help educate him early on, but I would like to change that moving forward. I have reached out to some schools and families who have special needs children and they all seemed to have liked my ideas and new teaching methods.

2) Become a supply chain executive at either a non-profit or charity. I want to use my education and professional skills for the benefits of others. I recently talked to an executive at the United Nations and what resonated with me the most was her passion for what she was doing every day. I want to go home and know that I made an impact on someone’s life. It is rewarding knowing I was able to help someone in need, and it could be as simple as coordinating a shipment of blankets, food, etc. to an underdeveloped country. Unfortunately, I don’t have the stomach to be a doctor, but this is the next best thing in my eyes.

What are your hobbies?

  • Knitting
  • Cooking
  • Exploring – mainly hiking in the mountains
  • Collecting postcards and magnets at each new place I visit
  • Running
  • Puzzles and adult coloring books

What made Samantha such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?  

“Samantha was in both my SCM 373 and 463 (SAP Applications) course last semester. She excelled, earning a 4.0 in both classes. Samantha was a regular participant during in-class discussions and would even oftentimes stay after class to further discuss and explore the topics of the lecture.

What I remember most about Samantha was her desire to not only learn but also to teach. I recall her specifically mentioning her interest in becoming a professor and I whole-heartedly believe that she will eventually do something related to teaching.

In our SCM 373 class in particular, I assign a student team to present an overview of a modern technology/application as it relates to logistics/transportation management. I remember Samantha approached this assignment as an opportunity to not only present but to teach her fellow classmates about what exactly a blockchain is, how the technology works and what were some of the more appropriate uses of this technology within supply chain management.”

Justin Jagger
Fixed-Term Faculty in the Department of Supply Chain Management

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE TOP 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST BUSINESS MAJORS OF 2020

Comments or questions about this article? Email us.