Michael Brooks has options available to him and he’s exercising several of them after having graduated this month.

Michael Brooks

Michael Brooks

The Myrtle Beach, S.C., accounting major graduated from the College of Business with a 4.0 GPA and is enrolling in Clemson’s master’s program in accounting. But before graduate school, he’s taking advantage of a second internship in accounting in as many summers.

“I was fortunate to have an internship with a regional accounting firm before my senior year and now I’ve been offered a second internship at a Big Four firm this summer,” Michael said. “I think it’s smart to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and the internship this summer will be a great segue into grad school.”

His academic accomplishments aside, Michael actively participated in College of Business activities outside the classroom. One of those, as chair of the college’s Student Advisory Board, afforded him the opportunity to leave his mark on the future of business education at Clemson.

The Student Advisory Board is comprised of juniors and seniors representing each academic department in the business school. Board members serve as sounding boards for business students and work with the dean and faculty on ways to improve student learning. Michael is proudest of his role in enhancing the introductory Business 1010 class and planting a seed for creating scholarships for students after they’re enrolled in the business school.

“We wanted to improve on the experience freshmen were getting in Business 1010 by giving them insights we didn’t get from the class in our first year here,” Michael said. “So, we suggested upperclassmen speak in these classes, essentially offering tips, on how to make the most of their time here.”

The idea was implemented in spring of 2016, and Michael spent a good part of last summer recruiting students to fill the 225 speaking slots for fall and spring semester Business 1010 sections. “It kept me pretty busy trying to find that many students over the summer to fill all of those speaking slots.”

Another void Michael wanted to address before graduating was the lack of scholarships available to students once they’ve enrolled in business school.

“There are a lot of scholarships coming out of high school, but once you’re here there aren’t many merit scholarships for existing students,” he said. “We met with the Alumni Loyalty Board and they responded favorably. We’d like to see merit scholarships that would be awarded based on faculty recommendations. It’s something we hope the next board will follow through on.”

Helen Diamond Steele, director, student enrichment, said Michael being offered the internship opportunities was no coincidence.

“Michael went above and beyond his impeccable academic record. From his leadership role with the Student Advisory Board to the internships, he developed a sense of professionalism and gained leadership experiences beyond that of a typical college student,” Steele said. “He’s taken advantage of many opportunities offered by the College of Business, and now he’s in a position to reap the rewards.”

As Michael reflects on his Clemson experience, one of the most important lessons he learned was to work hard and to network.

“One thing I learned here was that if you’re not continuing to make connections with people, you’re missing out on new relationships and opportunities resulting from them. So, as the next phase of my life nears, I know I’m going to have to re-establish and prove myself in new circles. Making strong first impressions and building new relationships in my internship this summer and grad school will be a big part of how I prepare for the future,” he said.

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