With a father in the military, Melissa Prest lived throughout the country as she grew up, from Washington to Kentucky, and Georgia to Hawaii, later returning to her birthplace of Utica, New York, when she was a teen after her father had finished serving.
Receiving her associate’s degree with honors from Mohawk Valley Community College, she was encouraged by a close friend to apply to SUNY Polytechnic Institute, where she would earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration (’15) as well as an MBA (’17). It was during this time that she participated in and won the Innovation Challenge New York four times in a row, helped to establish the SUNY Poly Veterans Club, and was a graduate assistant in the College of Business Management throughout her pursuit of her MBA.
It’s no surprise that she charted an academic path in business, noting that her mother holds a dual degree in both accounting and business management, giving her a slight affinity toward the inner workings of the business world.
“I’ve always found that I was more interested in the people behind the business, rather than the numbers, though, which is why I minored in sociology when I received my bachelor’s degree in business administration.”
And while she plans to continue on with her studies in pursuit of a Ph.D. in business management and/or business ethics, Melissa currently finds herself back at SUNY Poly—although not as a student. This time she’s on the other side of the classroom as a business management lecturer teaching organization behavior and marketing management principles. She is also advisor to all undergraduate and graduate business students and serves on the Academic Affairs Committee and the Curriculum Committee.
“I was drawn back to SUNY Poly by the amazing campus community, the school’s proximity to my family and roots, as well as the experience I am currently garnering as I embark upon my Ph.D. candidacy.”
What she loves most about her current role as an educator is the opportunity for student engagement.
“As a student, I remember my best classes being those in which the professor engaged us and guided us toward the real world application of the theories and concepts we were learning in class. This is what I hope to do for my students as an educator,” she said. “I hope that students are able to successfully complete their degrees here at SUNY poly knowing that their success equals our success, and we are just as committed to it as they are.”
Along the way she’s finding that being a SUNY Poly alum serves her well as she teaches and guides those whose shoes she was once in.
“I honestly think it has helped tremendously that as a lecturer and advisor I am able to see things from the student’s perspective being that I was a SUNY Poly student myself not so long ago.”
She’s also putting her business expertise and experiences as a student to work at the newly formed College of Business Management Advisement Center—a place where students are encouraged to come to find answers to questions regarding their programs of study, SUNY Poly policies and procedures, internship and employment information, and support and encouragement.
“I would have absolutely loved for something like the College of Business Management Advisement Center to have been around when I was a student here at SUNY Poly. There are so many opportunities that I have been made aware of and in turn have been able to make our students aware of as a result of the new advisement center—everything from study abroad opportunities to dual majors, concentrations, and minors, as well as internship opportunities, just to name a few. Being able to sit down and go over your plan of study with someone who has been where you’re at and encourages you to consider all aspects of your life and how it feeds into your success as a student is incredibly helpful. Knowledge of the resources available to you as a student is very empowering and helps to foster a symbiotic relationship between the school and its students that is built upon mutual respect and trust. This is why I am glad to be a part of the College of Business Management’s Advisement Center.”
Students visiting the advisement center can make necessary changes to schedules and programs of study, as well as find information regarding opportunities within the College of Business Management and outside entities.
“The advisement center is a warm and welcoming beacon for the College of Business Management students, and I am happy and humbled to have been placed here to help facilitate the success of our students.”