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University of Missouri

It’s Business — and Personal

The College of Business develops students’ personal and professional skills.

Ben Seidel has developed websites for small businesses since he was 13, so he’s used to age differences. But it wasn’t until he learned about generational differences in the workplace that he started packing his projector and screen to talk to clients.

The Trulaske College of Business requires undergraduates to go through its innovative Professional Development Program. The program focuses on the softer skills of communication, personal presence and strategic decision-making. Students hear presentations from leaders in business and government, build skills in areas such as résumé writing and dinner etiquette, undergo 360-degree evaluations, and put it all together in internships.

It was the seminar on generational differences in the workplace that stuck with Seidel, BS BA ’13. “With an older generation, I have to be careful how many technical terms I use and give examples — visual examples,” he says. Rather than just explain a blog or online lead form, he shows them on a screen and describes how they can help with marketing. “It’s a different presentation style.”

The lessons are paying off. In 2012, he turned his freelance Web consulting into Igniting Business, a full-service Web, tech and marketing firm. He now has nine team members and two Missouri locations, Columbia and Kansas City.