Commencement 2017: The Importance of Creativity and Critical Thinking in Business and Management


Contact: Media Relations

May 8, 2017

Commencement 2017: The Importance of Creativity and Critical Thinking in Business and Management

Rensselaer business students reflect on entrepreneurship, technology, and diversity of ideas in the global marketplace

Troy, N.Y. — As graduation nears, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute business students at the Lally School of Management are preparing to hit the ground running as they look to transform the world at the intersection of business and technology. An exemplary Lally student from the graduating Class of 2017, Andrew Rainville, is highlighted below. He is just one of the many passionate Rensselaer business students who look to find solutions for the challenges of a rapidly changing global economy, whether as innovative decision-makers in existing companies or as self-propelled entrepreneurs.

“Lally business students have access to the latest data, technology, engineering, and science resources at Rensselaer as well as software, immersive labs, and experiential learning during their academic programs,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “We know that outstanding students like Andrew and Michaela are a reflection of that solid foundation in business, and we wish them and the entire graduating Class of 2017 all the best as they go on to thrive in top businesses and create their own.”

The Creative Mind is an Innovative Mind – Andrew Rainville ’17

Andrew Rainville ’17, from Lincoln, Vermont, is a senior undergraduate student at Lally who is ready to make a strong impact on the world after he graduates. In May, he will earn both a Bachelor of Science in business and management and a Bachelor of Science in electronic media, arts, and communication. After graduation, he will return to Vermont to work in the family business, Maple Landmark Woodcraft. His family’s business has been making eco-friendly, educational wooden toys, games, and gifts since 1979. Rainville’s role will focus on marketing operations, product development, photo/videography, advertising, and social media.

“I came to Rensselaer because of the people here the logical, yet innovative, way that everyone around here thinks drew me in,” said Rainville. “I have an internal passion to do something meaningful and purposeful in this world in business, and I needed the right environment to develop and grow my mindset.”

Rainville has always felt a great affinity toward being creative and its potential for social good in marketing and entrepreneurship. At Rensselaer, he has learned practical ways to implement these passions in business and also use digital media and electronic media to achieve his goals.

“Rensselaer taught me life skills – the ability to think critically and creatively, the presence of mind to deal with any situation, and the understanding of interpersonal dynamics,” said Rainville. “I am excited to use these skills as I start my career in business.”

Rainville’s leadership skills also developed outside of the classroom in many ways, especially in the Rensselaer Crew Club, where he served as team president in 2016 and rowed for all eight semesters. He found that crew pushed him beyond anything he ever thought he could do both physically and mentally. His interpersonal skills were also honed with roles in the Resident Student Association (RSA), Leadership Educators Advising Peers (LEAP), National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), Epsilon Delta Sigma Management Honor Society (EDS), the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, and also as a resident director.

Rainville has worked in the Severino Center at Lally for the past three years, which has given him an exciting view of how entrepreneurship can help today’s society. First, he has seen the remarkable journey of creating and refining a product or service to make something better; to create change. Second, he has appreciated the needed mindset and tenacity of entrepreneurs as they tap into their inspiration and drive to keep going despite roadblocks or failures.

In both his academic and extracurricular activities at Rensselaer, Rainville has learned that a strong path to innovation is achieved through engaging in diversity of thoughts and opinions. He truly believes that challenging yourself and your views leads to a deeper understanding of the world and a more collaborative society.

Rainville’s two internships helped to put this into a bigger perspective for him. At Boeing, in his internship in business operations, he found that sometimes taking a little initiative in your department or team can transform into big organizational results. At USRowing, in his internship in communications, he learned that no matter how much of an individualist you might be, teamwork will always improve and enhance business operations and outcomes. And finally, these internships taught him that the values of patience and listening are always very critical as you make good business decisions.

Rainville encourages other current students at Rensselaer to embrace all that the Institute has to offer that speaks to their creative self, as innovation can truly be generated through any experience, program, event, club, or person you meet.

Watch a video of Andrew Rainville:

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. For nearly 200 years, Rensselaer has been defining the scientific and technological advances of our world. Rensselaer faculty and alumni represent 85 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 17 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 8 members of the National Academy of Inventors, and 5 members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as 6 National Medal of Technology winners, 5 National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With 7,000 students and nearly 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century—to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world. To learn more, go to


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit