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Student Spotlight: Lillian Johnson, Management & Entrepreneurship Major

November 23, 2020


Lillian Johnson is a local to the Hancock area, is majoring in Entrepreneurship and Management at Finlandia and will graduate in December 2020. Amanda Staege recently interviewed her about her time at Finlandia.

Why did you choose to major in Entrepreneurship and Management?

After high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for my career. However, Hancock offered all graduating students the Hancock Promise as a chance to get a college degree at minimal costs. The Hancock Promise is a deal made between the Hancock Schools and Finlandia University that offers Hancock graduates tuition of $2500 or less per school year for as many years as they attended Hancock High School, up to four years. Since I did all of my high school at Hancock, I was able to get four years free. I started out just taking generals in business because I figured it was a degree that could be used in pretty much any career I decided to go into. It seemed like no matter what career you had, someone in the company would have to have a business background. I help out at my parent’s small bakery here in Hancock, Amy J’s Pasty & Bake Shop, and when taking my classes I realized I could learn a lot that would help me if I ever decided to take over my parent’s bakery. This is what made my decision to focus on entrepreneurship and management in particular.

Why did you choose Finlandia?

As I mentioned above I am at Finlandia thanks to the Hancock Promise. Hancock also offered the chance to dual enroll with Finlandia while I was in high school so I took advantage of that and got a jump start on my college career. I chose Finlandia because they had a notable business program and thanks to the Hancock Promise, I could get my degree for a fraction of the cost.

What is Finlandia’s Management program like?

Finlandia’s Entrepreneurship and Management program includes a lot of real-world classes. Through classes like Global Entrepreneurship with Kevin Manninen or Human Resource Management with Mary Jane Hatton, I felt like I was learning things that would actually be helpful when I started my career. One thing I really liked that they required was an internship with a business firm. I did mine with Somero Enterprises in Houghton, Mich. and I can confidently say I learned the most while working there. It put everything I had learned in my previous classes into reality and really expanded my learning.

Tell me about how you helped local area firms with their international business expansion plan last spring.

As part of my Global Entrepreneurship class last spring we got to work with local firms to help them expand globally, or at least give them the know-how of where to begin accomplishing something like that. I was in a group with Lindsey Johnson and McEwen Stapleton and we worked with the local company, ProNav. ProNav is a small engineering company that focuses on GPS controlled fishing technology. So to start the project we met with one of the owners of ProNav, Travis White. We asked him what countries he thought they could have potential in with their business. The countries Travis wanted us to focus on were Canada, Australia, and the Nordic Countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway). I focused on Canada and dove into Canadian customs, potential trade shows, freight forwarders, distribution centers, and more. We then all compiled the information we had found and created a presentation to give to Travis. I am not sure if they used the information we gave them; I’m sure with COVID it would be difficult to start something like that now. However, if they ever decide to, they’ll have that knowledge in their back pocket to get a head start on global expansion.

Do you play any sports/are you in any clubs?

I do not play any sports at Finlandia. I’m not sure if TRIO would be considered a club, but I do meet with Zoe Lincoln once a semester to make sure I’m on track to graduate. That is the only thing I do aside from my regular classes at Finlandia.

What do you plan on doing once you graduate?

I am working at the City of Hancock and helping out in my parent’s bakery as I finish up my last semester here. We’ll see if things pan out and I can continue on with the City. I also hope to one day take over my parent’s bakery and manage that full time for them. I am getting married in May, so we’ll see where that will take me, but I do plan to stay in the area.

What has your experience been like this year with Covid in comparison to other college years?

Due to COVID, most of my classes have been online through Zoom calls. I could probably count the number of times I have actually been to campus on my two hands. It’s been a lot different doing things online and I prefer meeting face-to-face over the online method. I personally feel like it’s a lot easier to retain information when you can see the professor talking about it and ask questions as they come up. Through a screen, I find it much more difficult to do so. With all the changes I am ready for graduation and to start my life in the real world.

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