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Laura Schaudt is using Oregon State’s MBA program to build on a foundation of leadership forged from the ashes of frustration.
Schaudt, who began her studies in the commercialization track in fall 2014 and will finish in June 2015, was a five-year member of OSU’s volleyball program.
During the 2013 campaign, the Beavers suffered through a winless season in Pacific 12 Conference play.
“It was so disheartening and frustrating, but the team never gave up and it fueled us in the off season,” Schaudt said. “We decided we were going to come out the next year – us four seniors, and the entire team – and not let the last year define us.”
One year later, with Schaudt having earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and competing as a graduate student, the Beavers rode that senior leadership and team work ethic to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16, the best finish in school history.
“I can really see how things I’ve learned in sports translate to things I face in the classroom and in life in general,” said Schaudt, who noted the MBA program is getting her ready to “apply knowledge and be a leader in the business world.”
At the core of the commercialization track is the integrated business plan (IBP) project. Students are divided into teams, and each team develops a plan for bringing a specific innovation to market.
Schaudt’s team selected a variable-strength, light- and heat-blocking treatment for hotel and office windows. During the IBP Competition on April 10, her group placed third in the venture viability and artistic merit categories and also took third overall.
Schaudt praised entrepreneurship instructor Tom Dowling for his guidance throughout the project and also particularly appreciated the engaging teaching styles of John Becker Blease (finance), Aimee Huff (marketing) and V.T. Raja (information systems).
As she wraps up her MBA and eyes a career in sports marketing, Schaudt is also using her final spring on campus to triple-jump for the Beaver track and field team; at Philomath High School, she was a state champion triple-jumper.
Her keys to being successful both as a student and as an athlete are discipline, time management and passion.
“It been a long haul, and it’s fun to see it all come together,” said Schaudt, the daughter of OSU basketball legend and Olympic gold medalist Carol Menken Schaudt. “It’s been such a huge learning experience. To see the final result and the end of journey after how much has happened in the past five years is a rewarding feeling.”