School of Business Administration

From Biology to Business: Alumnus discovers talent, calling and community in OU business school

icon of a calendarAugust 1, 2022

icon of a pencilBy Emily Morris

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From Biology to Business: Alumnus discovers talent, calling and community in OU business school

School of Business student, Bhatki Patil, posing for a photo.
Getting involved on campus propelled Bhakti Patil, HRM ’21, on an upward trajectory. Guidance and encouragement from business faculty and staff gave her the confidence to explore opportunities, apply for internships and launch her professional career.

After finding a foundation of support from the OU Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) organization, Bhakti Patil, HRM '21, switched her career focus from biology to business.

Since middle school Patil dreamed of studying dentistry at the University of Detroit Mercy. Once enrolled, she realized the reality was much different than her plans. Seeking a change, Patil began studying biology at OU. However, when she discovered her support community, she also found her new career path.

“That was my wake-up call,” she said. “It was like night-and-day going forward.”

That journey brought her to the Oakland University School of Business Administration, where she connected with Meaghan Cole, Ed.D, experiential programs manager, who helped Patil translate her core skills and interest in biology to business, and discover her community.

Intrigued, but not ready to commit to new career path immediately, Patil enrolled in general business classes at Oakland Community College, which confirmed her burgeoning interest.

“To me, the way of thinking is similar in biology and business,” Patil said. “It’s the same mindset: There’s a problem, review the things I know and solve. Using problem-solving skills to help people, similar to healthcare, is where I fit.”

The decision to transfer to OU’s undergraduate business program ignited an interest and energy in Patil that she had been missing. She also discovered a community and support system filled with business faculty and staff invested in her and her success.

Seeing Patil’s new-found energy focused on her business studies, Cole urged her to get involved in the active student organizations on campus.

“Since day one, she [Cole] had been encouraging me to attend student organization meetings, specifically the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), but I was hesitant because I’d never done that before,” Patil said.

With Cole’s reassurance giving her courage, Patil decided to check out SHRM meeting.

“I started to make friends and connections with students and faculty. I didn’t have to worry about asking for help if I was struggling,” she said. “I found a community I could count on.” In that community, Patil also discovered her career path, joined SHRM and declared her major in human resource management (HRM).

The step propelled Patil on an upward trajectory. Guidance and encouragement from her management professors gave her the confidence to explore even more opportunities, including competing in HRM events in DECA.

Greg Thrasher, Ph.D., SHRM faculty adviser and assistant professor, management, and Nancy Savage, HRM special lecturer, met Patil at her most uncertain and became mentors throughout her college career, Patil said. Similarly, Janell Townsend, Ph.D., marketing professor and chair of the Management and Marketing Department, guided Patil in her first steps in SHRM.

“They were all so helpful through my learning curve, while I was still regaining confidence,” Patil said.

With genuine interest in her path and support from OU business faculty and staff, and her SHRM peers, Patil’s grades consistently put her on the Dean’s List.

Her hard work and dedication paid off in securing a prestigious HR internship at BorgWarner. When a full-time position opened, members of her SHRM community encouraged her to apply. After completing the interview process, Patil landed the full-time job months before earning her bachelor’s degree.

Now enrolled in OU’s MBA program, Patil is planning for a future move to management. She appreciates the members of the OU Business School community who took time to guide and encourage her.

“Relationships pushed me to this point,” Patil said. “Once I gained confidence, I realized that I could make my goals happen.”

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