Launchpad to Success
The John C. Adams Finance Institute provides new competitive pathways for School of Business students.
When Olivia Vormohr ’19 (finance) ’20 (MBA) applied to the University of Indianapolis, she set out to study occupational therapy. But late in her senior year of high school, she decided to switch her intended major to business. That decision would prove to open the door to a new range of possibilities, including an invitation to participate in a case competition that the University sponsors every year. The result? She received a scholarship and her business education was off and running.
“That taught me very early on to not be afraid of taking extra opportunities,” Vormohr said. “The worst thing that can happen is you aren’t selected or someone says no to you. There are far more benefits to be gained.”
Vormohr took that lesson to heart as she remained highly involved throughout her time at the University. She took an active role in leading School of Business students through the Student Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) and BizHounds, a mentoring organization geared toward freshman business students. The SBLA connects students to business professionals and strives to develop student leaders by building business, organizational, and leadership skills through mentorship, opportunity,
As a member of these organizations, Vormohr found herself attending regional and national conferences to talk to prospective high school students about what UIndy has to offer as well as activities like planning two Habitat for Humanity spring break trips and a charity golf outing.
“One of the great things about UIndy is how the experiences you get are driven by real-world opportunities,” Vormohr said. “You’re not just in a book or in a classroom; you’re doing real things that have real impact.”
Experiential learning is woven throughout the School of Business curriculum. “In one class we had a project with the Indianapolis Rotary Foundation. We had someone come in and give us a real-world problem that they had, and at the end of the semester we presented our solutions to one of their board members,” Vormohr said.
Many of the classes within the School of Business are project-based, and students often participate in team activities. Vormohr has found this especially helpful during her recent internship at Eli Lilly & Co.
“Being able to work with other ideas that you might not personally agree with is huge,” she said. “In the real world, there’s always a competition of ideas so learning how to work with people and communicate respectfully has been an invaluable lesson thanks to these team-based projects.”
The recently launched John C. Adams Finance Institute ensures that students such as Vormohr continue to have enhanced opportunities to engage in research, competitions, and internships in preparation for the workforce. Made possible by a generous gift from John C. Adams ’73, the new Institute will support student participation in national and regional competitions; sponsor research projects; and strategically complement the new Martin Family Finance Lab as it supports students and the lab curriculum. The Institute will also facilitate student mentoring relationships with faculty as well as with alumni and friends of the University.
“The John C. Adams Finance Institute aligns with the University’s tradition of forming students through real-world learning,” said Dr. Larry Belcher, School of Business dean. “Our goal is to provide another level of experiential learning by complementing our existing facilities and preparing our students for internships and their eventual careers in finance. Participation in student competitions develops research, critical thinking, and presentation skills that are a necessity in a hyper-competitive job market.”
The experiential learning opportunities throughout her time at the University helped Vormohr know she was on the right track. She interned last summer at Eli Lilly and is currently working part-time as a financial analyst. When she graduates in May she will have a full-time opportunity waiting for her at Eli Lilly.
Being the student ambassador that she is, she made sure her fellow interns left with an appreciation of the education she received at the University of Indianapolis.
“UIndy is really at the forefront of business education regionally,” she said.