Jake Ambrosius '17 and Kailee Smits '18 at General Mills

General Mills serves ‘Breakfast of Champions’ and more to these UW-Green Bay alumni

General Mills, Inc., is a powerhouse company that produces some of the most recognizable food brands in the nation. And now they have two powerhouse employees — recent UW-Green Bay alumni Jake Ambrosius ’17 and Kailee Smits ’18.

Jake Ambrosius '17 and Kailee Smits '18 at General Mills
Jake Ambrosius ’17 and Kailee Smits ’18

Home to popular cereals such as Cheerios, Lucky Charms and Wheaties, along with pantry staples like Betty Crocker, Nature Valley and Progresso, this international company with its base in Minneapolis, Minn., has the two UW-Green Bay Business Administration graduates rolling up their sleeves and digging in to the mealtime favorites and the company that makes them.

“I enjoy working with the products that I love and grew up with,” Ambrosius says, “These are all things that I loved to eat growing up, and still do, and I like to be able to say that I work for the company that makes these products.”

“I really enjoy the people and culture of General Mills. Everyone here is so welcoming and encouraging and you can really tell that they enjoy their job,” Smits says.

As a customer operations specialist, Ambrosius works directly with customers from the time they submit an order to the time they are invoiced with it. Through this position, he works with many facets of the company that directly correlate to a customer placing an order. Smits works as a talent acquisition assistant, where she is responsible for bringing candidates onsite to interview for a variety of different roles, from entry level finance to vice president positions.

From UW-Green Bay to General Mills

For both Ambrosius and Smits, making the decision to attend UW-Green Bay was easy. Ambrosius notes that UW-Green Bay provided “a smooth transition,” coming from a small town, and with the smaller class sizes, it was “an environment I was a little more used to,” he says. Smits remembers falling in love with UW-Green Bay when she came to tour the campus. “The campus was beautiful, the people were friendly and the classes were the perfect size for me. I knew that is where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life.”

UW-Green Bay provided the perfect environment for them to flourish in, and they would both go on to become business majors. The Austin E. Cofrin School of Business helped prepare the two business students for what to expect after graduation.

Ambrosius shares that one of his favorite classes during his time at UW-Green Bay was his business computer applications class, saying that, “Since graduating, I have not come across anyone with a job in the business field that does not use Microsoft Office in some capacity, daily. It is becoming more and more necessary to know how to use those programs.” Ambrosius also says that UW-Green Bay’s Career Services helped him immensely when it came to preparing for a career post-graduation.

Smits says she owes a thank you to all the group projects and presentations she did for her classes. “I think UW-Green Bay really helped build my confidence in terms of how I conduct myself and my knowledge,” she says, “The business classes are filled with group work and presentations… I really believe that all of the presentations I did helped me with the confidence I needed to land this job at General Mills World Headquarters before I graduated.”

Back to Business

For Ambrosius, the business field is all about possibilities. “The reason I chose to pursue a business degree is because there is business in everything. There will always be plenty of opportunities.”

Smits became a business major by realizing she could combine both of her interests with this degree. “Human resources, in my mind, was a great middle ground of everything that I enjoyed,” Smits, who also majored in Psychology, says, “I got to pull in all of my interests with psychology and apply it to the business world.”

After discovering that business was the right career path for them, they both then went on to obtain internships during their time in college. They say these internship experiences were extremely beneficial and helped shaped their future careers.

“I believe that any student that is going for a business degree should strongly consider an internship,” Ambrosius says, having interned for KBX Logistics and Schreiber during college, “There is so much to learn outside of the classroom, and an internship is a great way to do it.”

“I believe that my internship at Festival Foods was one of the best things I did for myself in college,” Smits says, “The experience I gained from that opportunity really set me up for success.”

Words of Wisdom

Ambrosius advises current UW-Green Bay students, “Do not be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, or to take a position that is not necessarily what you are ‘going for.’ Just because you are a marketing student, does not mean you should only be applying to marketing positions.”

Smits urges students to start testing themselves in the classroom in preparation for what lies ahead, “Learning to be comfortable in a new environment is very important when you get a job out of college. So, go out of your comfort zone, be the person who raises their hand to present first and always be curious and ask questions.”

Story by Marketing and University Communication intern Alicia LeBoeuf

NAS Seminar set for Friday, Nov. 9

Christine Anhalt-Depies, from the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at UW-Madison, will give the next NAS Seminar on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Her topic is “Citizen science: A case of collaboration with the public for wildlife monitoring.” The seminar reception is at 3 p.m. in Environmental Sciences (ES) 317, Green Bay Campus. The seminar follows at 3:30 p.m. in ES 301. The seminars are free and open to the public. See the full seminar schedule.

Veteran employment workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 14

A veteran employment workshop will be taking place on Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the 1965 Room located in UW-Green Bay’s University Union. Steve Newton from Career Services will be present to give an overview of the assistance Career Services can provide. Jeff Orlowski from the Department of Workforce Development will go over resume translation from military to civilian. Recruiters from Associated Bank and Bellin Health will also be on hand to provide interview tips, networking advice and more. This event is one of many taking place during UW-Green Bay’s Veterans Week.

Ruck march planned for Thursday, Nov. 15

A ruck march will be taking place on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, starting at the UW-Green Bay’s Veteran Lounge in Mary Ann Cofrin Hall Room 227 at 2 p.m. Participants will be marching the outer road of campus for two miles with 25 pound rucksacks. This event is one of many taking place during UW-Green Bay’s Veterans Week.

Please give a kid a book… collection locations added

The Holiday Parade Float Committee is preparing to participate in the Green Bay Holiday Parade. The 35th Annual Prevea Holiday Parade will take place Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. In honor of this year’s theme, “Christmas Stories,” the Float Committee will be collecting books for local children (to be distributed at the Back to School Store hosted by the Green Bay Campus in spring). Please consider donating new and gently-used books at the kindergarten through middle school reading level to collection sites across the Green Bay Campus. Please do not donate holiday books. Final donation collection will be Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. Direct questions to Jena Richter Landers, richterj@uwgb.edu.

Collection locations:
Outside of UW Credit Union, University Union
Office of Student Life, University Union
GBOSS, Student Services
Dean of Students Office, Student Services
Cofrin Library Plaza (2nd Floor), across from the Keurig Station, Cofrin Library
8th Floor Lobby, Cofrin Library
Phoenix Athletics Office, Kress Events Center


New North Summit will recognize UW-Green Bay

New North’s “Net-Work” event on Dec. 6 is slated for Dec. 6. According to an Insight story, UW-Green Bay will be recognized. “On the education front, the event will recognize the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and its flurry of new projects and programs. The school recently broke ground on its Richard J. Resch School of Engineering and STEM Center, and it launched an Impact MBA program that’s designed to prepare experienced working professionals to lead organizations through an era of accelerating technology.” Read more. Register or learn more.