Swimming with the sharks - and loving it

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September 6, 2016

By Greg Skoog '89 - Photo by Nicole Pederson '17

Claudia Eisenhuth '17 and Harvey Mackay

Harvey Mackay is founder and chairman of the $100 million MackayMitchell Envelope Company, plus an international Hall-of-Fame speaker, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and author of seven New York Times best-selling books (including three that hit #1). For Claudia Eisenhuth '17, he's also been a mentor this summer. 

For seven weeks in July and August, Eisenhuth, an economics major from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, had the chance to intern side-by-side with the Twin Cities business icon.

"It has been an incredibly valuable experience," Eisenhuth said. "It's like an accelerated business course." 

During her internship, Eisenhuth worked to help promote and market Mackay's launch of a new worldwide online university, called the Harvey Mackay University

"I helped out with promotions and met with dozens of businesses and got to have a hand in strategizing," Eisenhuth said. But the real impact of the experience came in working directly with Mackay, whom she described as, "positive, encouraging, wise, inspiring... I'm so grateful." 

Eisenhuth is also grateful for the strength of the CSB/SJU alum network, which helped her discover the opportunity. Teresa Mazzitelli '72 is the president and CEO of The Mazzitelli Group, a retained boutique executive search firm serving nationwide companies, organizations and institutions in senior-level talent acquisition. 

"I have known Harvey Mackay for many, many years," Mazzitelli explained. "He has been a mentor to me, and he's also been a client. Over the years, if you can believe it, I've placed over 30 professionals in his company. So he calls me on occasion to ask my opinion on other things as well." 

This summer, Mazzitelli received one of those calls. Mackay had a short-term need, but wanted advice on the best way to fill it with the right person. 

"I told him, 'You're not looking for a full-time position, you're looking for a bright, ambitious, high-end intern for a seven-week run,' " Mazzitelli recalled. "And my mind went immediately to the (Donald) McNeely Center (for Entrepreneurship) at CSB/SJU and the E-Scholars program." 

The McNeely Center is an entrepreneurship education resource that provides classes, coaching and assistance to entrepreneurs. It builds relationships among and between CSB/SJU students, faculty, alumnae/i, and community members to create and strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit. 

Learn more about McNeely Center

IllustrationEach year, the center admits a cohort of CSB/SJU students into its Entrepreneur Scholars Program for the opportunity to pursue their interest in entrepreneurship through a three-course sequence of classes over a two-year period. At the conclusion of the program, E-Scholars develop a feasibility plan and create a new venture of their own. Eisenhuth is a member of the 2015-17 E-Scholars cohort. 

Mazzitelli's instincts proved right and Eisenhuth spent a productive seven-week whirlwind working with Mackay. 

"If Claudia is any indication of the intelligence, drive and resourcefulness of today's students, no one needs to worry about the country's future," Mackay said smiling. 

So as she heads into her fourth year at CSB/SJU, Eisenhuth will be influenced by 1,500 years of Benedictine traditions AND by seven weeks with the author of the international blockbuster book Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. And sometimes, those sound like some pretty consistent messages.