Student spotlight: Amanda Elias

The School of Business Administration is determined to provide its students with the skills they need for successful careers. Amanda Elias is applying the lessons she learned in class to her role in the City of Detroit Mayor’s Office.

Elias, a senior marketing major, is an executive assistant Mayor Mike Duggan’s Jobs and Economic Growth Team under group executive F. Thomas Lewand. The objective of the team is to work on ways to stimulate job growth in industries like construction, manufacturing, medicine and technology.

Prior to working in the mayor’s office, Elias worked as an administrative assistant for International Outdoor, one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in Southeast Michigan. After one year, the then 19 year old was promoted to office manager and advertisement coordinator. During her six years with International Outdoor, Elias gained marketing and advertising experience that prepared her for future opportunities.

As an executive assistant, Elias’ responsibilities include scheduling for both Lewand and Charlie Beckham, group executive of neighborhoods and administration. Elias said she is excited about the developments that are happening under Mayor Duggan’s administration.

"I believe the city is making a huge comeback, and I am honored to be a part of it," she said.

Applying classroom lessons to the real world

Elias credits Jeffrey Stoltman, associate professor of marketing, for some of her success. Stoltman’s Retail Management course (MKT 5700) taught her a great deal about new developments in the city. Elias said the class format was not only enjoyable, but also practical for gaining job skills and understanding current research trends. For a portion of the course, students worked on teams planning a strategy to convince the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation why a major retailer would be successful in Midtown Detroit. She remembers spending hours researching areas of interest for development in the city. Elias noticed many areas she researched in class are being discussed by the Jobs and Economic Growth Team.

Elias also credits Stoltman for his role in her decision to work for the City of Detroit. She said he had a unique way of blending the process of restructuring in the city, which has helped her a great deal in her career.

"He is passionate about his teachings," she said. "From the first day of the semester, I was immediately intrigued. Every week I would go to class and listen to him preach about how Detroit is going to come back even stronger. I’ve never had a professor who felt so strongly about a city as professor Stoltman does about Detroit."

Stoltman is honored when his students can take what they have learned in his course and apply it to their daily lives.

"I believe every professor loves to hear from their students after the days of sharing time in the classroom come to a close," Stoltman said. "My goal is to connect the classroom concepts with what is happening here in Detroit, and I get a real kick out of hearing when the topics we explore ‘click’ with my former students."

Stoltman expects to hear much more from Elias in the years to come.

"Amanda was a great student, and I see big things ahead for her as she strives to make a real difference in local economic development efforts," he added.

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