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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Commencement 2018 Profile: Melissa Mann

Melissa Mann

May 9, 2018

Commencement 2018 Profile: Melissa Mann

Tapping her business education on and off campus

One year into her college experience at a small liberal arts school, Melissa Mann realized she wanted a different kind of business education—one that could equip her to solve challenges in a data-driven world. Mann found what she was looking for in the Lally School of Management, transferred to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and soon began drawing on her business education both on and off campus.

She credits Rensselaer’s reputation and her Lally School experience with helping her get summer internships and a job as an account manager with Procter & Gamble. Mann receives her bachelor’s degree in business and management from Rensselaer on May 19 and starts at Procter & Gamble in June.

“I believe that everyone who attends Rensselaer benefits from its longstanding, powerful reputation, regardless of industry or major,” she said. “Because of its heavier technology focus, a Rensselaer business education provides an employment advantage and gives me the tools to create ideas and techniques that can shape the world tomorrow.”

The transfer to Rensselaer wasn’t without challenges, but Mann was confident in her decision and determined to take advantage of all that Rensselaer has to offer.

“I’ve always been future-oriented,” she said. “I’m always asking, ‘What can I do better?’ ’’

Instead of focusing on the relationships she left behind, Mann turned her attention to making connections at her new school. “The experience uncovered a sense of adaptability I didn’t know I had,” she said, “a trait that I believe will help me in my career and personal life as I grow and continue learning.”

One of her best decisions was to join Union Programs and Activities Committee (UPAC) Concerts, where she held several positions, including co-president. She also seized the opportunity to put her business education to work to help UPAC Concerts and enhance student life.

Mann tapped lessons in survey design and analysis to solicit and analyze student input on UPAC Concerts programs. The results helped determine the date, venue, and styles of music featured at the 2018 UPAC Spring Concert, which nearly 1,000 students attended.

“I was the only business major in the club, and I knew that experience could be helpful,” Mann said.

The Spring Concert is the largest annual campus event and, as co-president, Mann was determined to find a way to give students what they wanted. Based on the survey data, UPAC Concerts members booked hip-hop and electronic dance music acts, held the Spring Concert in the Houston Field House, and scheduled the show for a Tuesday night, when more students could attend. Perhaps even more important, club members set the stage for how to approach decisions on future concerts.

For Mann, playing a key role in planning the Spring Concert was a highlight of her time at Rensselaer because it gave her the opportunity to work closely with the administration, students, and third-party organizations. “Throughout the process, I got to advocate for students and make concerts more easily accessible to them,” she said. “I also got to use my business knowledge and expertise to guide other members to utilitarian solutions.”