Young Alumni Profile: Brandi Mikula

Brandi Mikula felt better prepared to begin her career because of the type of education she received at the UCA College of Business.

Her experience in the College of Business went beyond the didactic learning that is crucial to any worthwhile education and extended into real-world experiences and assignments. One of those opportunities was her class splitting off into groups and providing a local dentist with a fresh marketing strategy.

As a double-major in marketing and management, the assignment gave her a chance to see what a day in her career might look like.

“I really appreciated that type of experience in the classroom,” said Mikula. “It prepared me more for jobs after college.”

Having meaningful relationships with faculty like Joe Cangelosi helped Mikula navigate her college career and the many things students juggle while in school including coursework, studying, projects, internships, and the future.

“Dr. Cangelosi loves his students and wants to build that relationship with you,” said Mikula. “He’s so approachable and willing to help whether you’re dealing with something at school or contemplating the future.”

Mikula said he was more than willing to help her find jobs, and she found his class during her senior year helped calm a lot of angst she felt as she prepared to leave college to begin her career.

“Brandi was an excellent student, very cooperative with good leadership and analytical skills,” said Cangelosi. “She can do anything she wants.”

Since graduating in 2014, it has been a whirlwind for Mikula. She was among the first class of Arkansas Fellows, and the first Arkansas Fellow from UCA.

As part of the fellowship, she spent two years immediately after college working for Hayseed Ventures, a startup company in Fayetteville. The fellowship provides a two-year experience for recent graduates that includes a salaried position, a mentorship program, and professional development and networking.

Related: If you’re interested in being an Arkansas Fellow, click here

“Those years were so valuable,” said Mikula. “You’re in a fast-paced, fast-growing company and gain access to upper-level management for mentorship, and you’re able to see all aspects of the company.”

Mikula spent a good portion of her fellowship running her own company with Hayseed Ventures serving as a parent company. For a person who’s had entrepreneurial aspirations since childhood, it was an incredible experience.

“Being put in that role, it’s not an experience you normally get a job,” said Mikula. “It is an amazing program for anyone interested in entrepreneurship.”

Mikula now serves on the Arkansas Fellowship board and remains involved in the organization. The Arkansas Fellowship is currently accepting applications through Oct. 26. Click here to apply.

Mikula works at OneStone, an e-commerce agency in Rogers. As content and digital assets team lead, she services online retailer clients, including Amazon and Walmart, to optimize their pages. It includes managing a staff of contract writers and photographers to make sure the end product meets the client’s satisfaction.

She still harbors the same entrepreneurial spirit she’s always had and hopes to harness it moving forward.

“I’ve always wanted to run my own business,” she said. “I’ve been entrepreneurial minded since I was 5 or 6 years old. I hope to be able to start pursuing that soon, but I am still figuring out what that business will look like.”