Experiencing Puerto Rico

Hi everyone! I am Mike Neumayer and am a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, pursuing a degree in finance with a minor in economics, a certificate in leadership and ethics, and an unofficial concentration in urban planning and development. I am a brother of Alpha Kappa Psi which is a professional business fraternity. Also, I am VP of Business Management for Emerging Business Issues. Aside from business organizations, I am a brother of the social fraternity Pi Kappa Phi where I serve as the Budget and Finance Chair. As part of the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics, I have and continue to work on projects for real clients. I consulted with Pitt Police to help create a strategic plan that would allow Pitt Police to expand their Active Shooter Training Program. I am currently working on a project with the Katz School of Business focused on creating a diversity and inclusion plan.

Following my freshman year, I participated in Plus3 China where I was able to visit Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai while learning about the smartphone industry. After arriving home from China, I interned at Primerica Financial Services for the remainder of the summer. The internship focused on financial advising; I learned a great deal about different investment tools and strategies, but ultimately determined it was not the route I wanted to pursue in finance. Now, I believe I want to pursue consulting, or real estate finance. To gain exposure in real estate finance, I am currently enrolled in the Real Estate Finance Academy that Pitt hosts with JLL.

Outside of the classroom, I like to play soccer and watch sports. I have been playing soccer since I was four years old. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play in Germany with my club team when I was a junior in high school. In addition to playing and watching soccer, I am an avid Philly sports fan and love the Eagles the most. And yes, that does mean I am from “outside Philly”. I grew up in a small town called Hatboro and have lived in the same house my entire life.

Another one of my favorite hobbies is snowboarding. While I am not a fan of winter, snowboarding makes it somewhat bearable. Also, I love photography, especially when traveling. I like being able to capture sites that I will probably only see once in my lifetime; it allows me to look back and remember that specific moment. I also find it exciting to use different perspectives to get unique shots. One of my passions is traveling and I have been fortunate to do so. I’ve been to three countries and all across the United States of America. I am continuing to pursue abroad experiences by participating in Global Service Learning to Puerto Rico, as well as, studying abroad in Sydney, Australia this summer. In addition to these upcoming experiences, I hope to study abroad in Florence, Italy during my spring semester of junior year.

This semester I am part of the Global Service Learning: Puerto Rico. Five other students and I are working with Caras con Causa and are focusing on their environmental field lab. Caras con Causa’s main objective is to provide education to local communities while also empowering those communities. The environmental field lab in positioned in an urban coastal wetland setting which is very unique.  Our project is centered around creating and executing a strategic marketing plan for Caras con Causa’s environmental field lab. Caras con Causa is a non-profit organization, but hope to use the revenue generated from the environmental field lab to create financial stability. While the project is based on-campus at Pitt, we will be traveling to Puerto Rico for a week to work with our client.

I chose to participate in the course and project because it differs from any other course that Pitt CBA offers. The class is solely project based and deals with a real-life client. Due to this, our team will be able to provide recommendations that Caras con Causa will use in their business strategy.

I have an interest in consulting, so gaining consulting experience this early in my undergraduate career will help me narrow in on the path I want to take post-graduation. If I enjoy the semester long project, then I can use the skills I learn as I continue to pursue consulting opportunities. If I do not enjoy the consulting aspect of the project, then I will know that consulting is not for me. Either way, I will gain valuable insight into my professional inclinations.

In respect to the skills I hope to gain through this course, I believe that they will help me whether I pursue consulting, or not. Since the project is group based, I will improve my communication skills; we will have to communicate clearly to set up meetings, be able to articulate ideas, and keep the client and teachers up to date. Another skill I will be able to develop is my presenting and interpersonal skills. Through presenting to the client and speaking with them while on site, I will be able to utilize and practice these skills. Aside from skills, I am excited to learn about the Puerto Rican culture. Even though it is a US territory, I know very little about Puerto Rico. Traveling there and having first-hand experience with the culture is bound to teach me about many aspects of the culture that are not widely discussed.

Furthermore, I love traveling and experiencing other cultures which is a main reason I pursued Global Service Learning. This program is a great opportunity to see Puerto Rico from a local lens, rather than a tourist lens. While on site, we will be interacting with the community of Catano, specifically. I have heard from last year’s group that the locals would cook lunch for them every day. I am excited and hopeful that this happens again; being able to eat authentic, home cooking is an opportunity that seldom occurs when traveling abroad. This is just one of many examples of getting to experience the local culture in the purest way possible, as a traveler.