Student spotlight: Michael Serwer

Operational Improvement is Michael Serwer’s specialty. Since earning his undergraduate degree from Indiana University in 2005, Serwer has reconstructed several manufacturing businesses while working in private equity.

Serwer will be bringing his unique experience and expertise to the Wayne State University School of Business this fall, as he begins WSU’s M.B.A. program with a concentration in finance. Like many students who choose Wayne State, Serwer was drawn by equal parts school and city.

"It’s very impressive to me what the M.B.A. program is doing. It’s innovative and cutting edge," Serwer said. "I wanted to be a part of what’s going on here."

Lifelong learner

While he hasn’t been in a traditional classroom in almost a decade, that doesn’t mean Serwer has stopped learning. He has worked extensively with the Six Sigma Black Belt Process Reengineering Program at the University of Michigan. As part of the program, Serwer was selected to spend six months in Guatemala helping address the operational capacity of a major millwork manufacturer in the area.

The 32-year-old was in charge of the six sigma directive at the export company, which he said proved to be a challenge at times. "People are sometimes resistant to changes," he said. "I was often tasked with having to make difficult decisions."  It’s important to have good communication with everyone in the plant.

Serwer said the workers had a difficult time taking constructive criticism from an outsider. Initially, they didn’t want him there. "You have to build that rapport and show them that the work we do will ultimately make everyone’s job more efficient and manageable."

Serwer’s main task in Guatemala was to prepare the company to run on 24-hour shifts. "We have to make best use of the shop floor so it can be as lean and mean as possible."

Teacher as well as student

During his time in Guatemala, Serwer’s appreciation for Latin culture began to grow. While earning his M.B.A, he will also work with WSU’s Center of Latino/a and Latin American Studies. Serwer feels that his own immersion in Latin American culture will be an asset to him as he tries to familiarize Latin American students into American culture and studies.

In addition to being a mentor to fellow WSU students, Serwer is also a certified Emergency First Response Instructor and a scuba diving assistant instructor.