Paul Zielinski was a high school science teacher when he decided to enter a Sprint-sponsored marketing contest. The 500 participants were asked to generate ideas on ways to increase revenue among older consumers.
“I was sitting in my third-hour class, and my kids were working on their own,” says Zielinski, an Upper Peninsula native who had no background in business when he entered the contest. “An e-mail popped up, and it said I’d won second place.”
His success in the contest gave him the push he needed to apply to business school.
“Being science-minded is a lot more in line with business thought than people realize,” he says. “You’re looking at the bigger picture and solving problems. That strategic thinking in business is very in line with the scientific method.”
A friend suggested he apply to Broad. And when he arrived on campus for his interview, Zielinski says, he “just felt like (he) really fit in.
“The person who interviewed me and the students who took me on a tour, they valued the things that I valued,” he adds. “They sat down with me and it felt like I’d been there the entire school year, instead of just getting there that day.”
Zielinski enrolled in Broad in 2013 with a concentration in marketing.
“I want to be that difference maker, part of the team that would be the reason that people are purchasing that product or going toward that product,” he says. “Marketing combines the social part with the business part—you have to have social skills in order to thrive.”
In his first year at Broad, Zielinski participated in the Deloitte Gen Y Automotive Survey, working with a team to delve into survey data from the company and develop automotive-consumer profiles and their purchasing motives, which were then presented to Deloitte. He also helped to rebrand a northern Michigan wine company as part of a class project and traveled with the MBA Marketing Association to Wrigley’s research and development division in Chicago.
“It was a fantastic experience,” Zielinski says of the trip. He’s now vice president of the association. “Since enrolling here, I’ve definitely become one of those ‘bleed green’ people. Everything from the career services staff to professors—the people here are willing to bend over backwards to help you. I’m really impressed with how everyone is always looking to make the program the best that it can be.”
Zielinski’s summer internship is with Intel in California, working with the IT members of the company’s sales and marketing team as a business-intelligence marketing analyst.
“A year ago I was writing a final exam for biology, and now I’m working at Intel,” he says. “I’m a big tech person and always have been. After graduation, something in the tech industry, like what I’m doing, would be pretty much a dream come true for me.”