Grads Find Good Fit In Marketing

Jan. 11, 2017 - by Shari Flanagan

College prepares you for life and when life happens, it’s good to know that you have choices. The job market was less than desirable when Kris Ratzlaff  (‘06, MBA ’10) graduated with his bachelor’s degree from MNU, so he began his MBA program right away, choosing to continue his education at his alma mater.  Remaining on campus, he worked as a graduate assistant football coach coordinating his work with his class schedule. He even doubled up on his classes and completed his graduate degree in half the time.

Soon after he received his MBA, he saw a job posting from MNU’s Facebook Alumni Page and landed a job at Gragg Advertising, as the strategic planner along with fellow MNU graduates, Fred Frantz and Gayla Huber.

Gragg Fred KrisL to R: Fred Frantz and Kris Ratzlaff.

Gragg Advertising is located near the City Market in Kansas City, Missouri. A full-service direct response marketing agency, it was recognized by Forbes as one of the world’s “Top 100 Agencies that Know Social Media and Google.”  With both traditional branding and direct response marketing strategies, Gragg endeavors to bring an advertising experience that is both memorable and measurable.

Gragg Advertising’s executive vice president, Fred Frantz (’02) earned his bachelor’s degree at MNU in the traditional classroom setting, while he commuted to campus. He appreciated MNU’s unique teaching style. The curriculum was not just a canned package he says. Regardless of how good one’s grades were, if there was more students could learn, they were challenged further. Even though he lived off campus, he found a strong bond in the business school at MNU.  

“The individual and personal attention I got from my instructors helped me stay connected”, says Fred.  “There was a good sense of community.”

Gayla Huber (’00, MBA ’04) earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees as a non-traditional student. Able to work on her career and her education at the same time, many of her classroom projects allowed her to focus on a work project that she could present in class.  This type of hands-on learning made sense to her and enhanced her education. As the president of IntegriShield, a sister company under the umbrella of Gragg Advertising, her hard work was rewarded.

Gayla-Huber-picGayla Huber, president, IntegriShield.

“Sometimes I wake up and I have to pinch myself. Who lets me lead a company?” Gayla says playfully. “Our agency owners trust us to run their company and that affects how you feel about going to work every day.” Kris and Fred agree. With more than 100 employees, they recognize the responsibility they have to them and their families. And they don’t take it lightly.

When asked what he took away from his experience at MNU, Kris says, “I’ve seen students from other colleges compete with each other when it came to grades, but at MNU there was collaboration.”

Gayla agrees, “When someone was struggling, we reached out to them as a group and tried to pull them up.” The alums say their interpersonal skills were sharpened as they worked with diverse personalities, enhancing their teambuilding skills at their workplace. Fred added, “I think MNU sets you up to succeed and success breeds trust.”

While they love their jobs, they are also able to keep a good work/family balance. Kris is a new father-to-be, Fred treasures time with his young family and Gayla is a surrogate mother to her sister’s children after her sister’s sudden death.  The trio feels fortunate to work for a company that shares their values.

Kris, Fred and Gayla worked hard, while MNU provided the flexibility, support and community to accommodate their lifestyles. Whether their degrees were achieved as traditional students or non-traditional students, they were prepared for success. They found a good fit in their common employer.  Success is where preparation and opportunity meet and these MNU graduates welcome it. 

Editor's note: Since this story was written, Kris decided to make a change in the new year and moved to a new position as an account supervisor at Intouch Solutions, a pharma marketing company in Overland Park, Kansas. But the trio still enjoy a special comraderie as displayed when photos were taken for this story. Kris was heartily greeted by every Gragg employee he saw during the photo shoot. Not only because they are in the same industry, Kris, Fred and Gayla will continue to enjoy the network of MNU alums.  

 

 

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