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Dec. 14, 2012
By Philip Gruenwald, media relations assistant
Megan Benware is preparing to graduate from Northwest Missouri State University with her Master of Business Administration degree, accompanied by professional experience in the varied fields of education, government, international studies, non-profit and business.
With the skill and training to earn just about any marketing job in the nation, Benware has accepted a job working with reservations at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska. This will allow her to enjoy her number one passion: skiing.
“I’ve always loved skiing,” Benware, from Kansas City, Mo., said. “In the back of my mind, I’ve always wanted to run a resort or camp, and I want to do event planning or marketing for them, just to have some fun for a while. Accepting the offer wasn’t a difficult decision to make.”
Benware begins her career after a highly active five and a half years at Northwest. She completed a marketing internship through the Washington Center in Washington, D.C., studied abroad in China, created a social media presence for a home-building company in Colorado, was Northwest’s marketing and management graduate assistant and helped plan this summer’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k in Kansas City.
“She’s had a lot of those unique experiences that most people have had one of,” Dr. Deb Toomey, assistant professor of marketing and management, said. “She’s always been doing more than one thing at a time.”
Toomey describes Benware as highly motivated and driven by passion. She recognized Benware’s knack for intentionally doing work that she genuinely enjoys or makes a positive difference, including the Susan G. Komen race and graduate assistant work.
“She said that was something she would want to do: take a position that wasn’t paid nearly as much in the corporate world to do something that was worthwhile, that she felt good about,” Toomey said.
For Benware, her dream job is to work for Susan G. Komen full-time. Breast cancer has afflicted some of her close friends, which drove her to appreciate the largest breast cancer organization in America. However, paid positions are scarce at the non-profit, so she was glad to commit her marketing experience to the race this summer.
“It might not be as glamorous or have as much pay as something on a corporate level,” Benware said. “Any non-profit is that way. But if you love what you’re doing, you know it’s more about the passion, and it’s all worth it in the end.”
Benware was highly involved as an undergraduate student at Northwest. She was a member of the Alpha Sigma Alpha social sorority, the American Marketing Association, the business honors program Delta Mu Delta and the hall council in Roberta Hall. When the time came for her to choose a graduate degree program, she immediately decided to pursue one at Northwest.
“I feel like the teachers are always ensuring that you’re doing your best,” Benware said. “They’re involved and they know many of us well. It also helps that they have been out in the field before teaching, so they’ve had that business experience and can teach about it.”
In the classroom, Benware’s passion was evident to Toomey. Her boldness and willingness to help made her a likely candidate for a graduate assistant position early on.
“I wish there were more of her – more students like her – in our classrooms, who don’t hold back their enthusiasm,” Toomey said. “I think people think they shouldn’t be so excited. If something excites you and it’s something you’re very interested in doing, do it. Don’t stop. Pursue it.”
As she prepares to end her Northwest education, Benware is sentimental and appreciative of Northwest, which she says is “like family” to her.
“I’m seriously going to miss this place, and I never thought I’d say that,” Benware said. “But five and a half years later, it’s going to be hard to leave. It’s just like home. It’s comfortable and I’m not ready to go.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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