Alex Delavan, SBA '16
Director of Sponsored Programs, Oakland University
Best memory from OU:
I have so many amazing memories of OU and our Grizzly community, but hearing my full name announced while walking across the stage at commencement, in April 2016 for earning an MBA, is one that truly stands out.
Being named to the Oakland County Elite 40 Under 40 was a great honor for the dedication I've had to my career. That was truly the culmination of many prideful accomplishments: negotiating $4.4m in tax incentives to help keep a factory and 250 US jobs open in Mississippi; winning a $1m state grant that created an innovative new product line while creating 40 Ohio jobs, developing and implemented corrective actions to transform OU from a high risk rated grantee institution to a low risk rated institution within my first year, having 3 straight years of new award growth at OU and an overall increase of 53%, and traveling to Washington DC on multiple occasions to discuss the impact of research and pending legislation.
If you could come back to OU and take one class over again, which class would you take and why?
Fortunately, I fully embraced every moment and enjoyed every class I took within my MBA to the greatest extent. What I would really have liked though, would have been the opportunity to take more electives outside of my finance and international businesses concentrations within Organizational Behavior.
What is your hidden talent?
I’m not exactly sure if you can call it a talent, but what most people don’t know is that I have a background in the music business, on the business side. Starting back in high school I was already using my business aptitude to help navigate artists toward making their art into a sustainable livelihood. While most artists thrive on their musical talents, translating that into an ability to provide the necessary vision and plan to make it a career can be quite a challenge. I was able to help budding artists through co-running/co-owning a small independent local record label, Lansing based Selah Records. As the head of the Michigan street team for mid-tier Seattle based Tooth and Nail records, I supported localized marketing efforts of national touring acts as their tour van’s stopped in Lansing, Detroit, Grand Rapids and all across the state on their way up. All the way at the top, I was an A&R scout for a company that contracted with Simon Cowell’s record label as one of the first crowdsourcing models for new artist discovery and vetting. Though I can assure you I don’t have a single bit of musical talent, its awe inspiring knowing that you played some sort of role in watching an artist go from practicing in basements of St. Johns, Michigan to playing the largest stages of the world.
If you were on a deserted island and could only take one thing, what would it be and why?
A catamaran sailing boat. Not necessarily to use for rescue, with that much open water, I might as well have some fun.
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