If you are interested in businesses, this is probably the best opportunity you will find in the state to prepare you.
Growing up in Turkmenistan, Islam Atayev ("Izzy" to his friends) learned a few tricks about business, marketing and sales from his dad who owned a car dealership.
"I have been interested in business since I was ten years old," explains Izzy. "My father was a trader in cars – importing them from the U.S. and selling them in our country. I would talk to the customers, trying to convince them to buy our product. That experience helped me to become a better speaker and prepared me for business."
Izzy moved to the U.S. a year ago and is currently a junior at MHS and is enrolled in the Business Analytics program with VANTAGE. Before starting the program, Izzy studied business and finance on his own.
"I have a lot of interest in business. I was afraid this program would be pretty basic, but it is very professional," Izzy says. "The thing that surprised me most was how many high-level professionals come into VANTAGE to share personal and professional advice. They teach us how companies work, about sales, marketing and branding. That part is the most exciting for me."
For his VANTAGE group project this year, Izzy is working with The Big Thrill Factory. His group is charged with the task of improving the company's redemption centers, specifically identifying ways to increase profitability.
"Based on our primary and secondary research, we determined that the most important factors are the employees, the selection of prizes and the pricing of the facility itself," explains Izzy. "We are working on proposals for each of these components and we have our final presentation coming up."
Izzy feels pretty confident about his part of the presentation thanks to his VANTAGE mentor, a business analyst from Wells Fargo.
"My mentor is a business analyst, which is lucky because for our project I am assigned the role of the business analyst, says Izzy. "My mentor gives me great advice on how to present graphs and other information so people will understand it."
Izzy is focused on the future. He is already planning to do VANTAGE again during his senior year. He is currently leaning towards the Global Business program. In college, he is thinking about majoring in finance.
His advice to other students considering VANTAGE? Do it.
"If you are interested in businesses, this is probably the best opportunity you will find in the state to prepare you," he says, adding that "I really like it. This is a great program."