Pub 8 2020 Issue 2


Despite Pandemic, MSU Business Student Begins Summer Internship, Looks To The Future

BOZEMAN — From the beginning, Montana State University student Isabelle Ivankovich has been determined to make the most of her college experience. And this summer, despite the coronavirus pandemic, Ivankovich is continuing to do just that with a career-focused internship.

A student in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Ivankovich is completing an internship at American Bank in Bozeman through the college’s Community Banking Program.

“I am so fortunate to have an opportunity to work with an outstanding local business like American Bank,” Ivankovich said. “American Bank, in conjunction with MSU, provides for an opportunity to learn from talented and experienced people as I apply my education to professional pursuits.”

The Community Banking Program is a partnership between the Montana banking community and MSU’s business college. It is intended to help meet the demand for well-trained graduates interested in careers in banking, according to Tim Harvey, an adviser for the program and an instructor in the business college. Students in the program complete coursework related to community banking, and then they complete a paid internship with one of the participating banks across the state of Montana. Students receive academic credit for their internship.

At American Bank, Ivankovich’s work will focus on marketing efforts involving all of the bank’s branches.

“I hope to learn how to market a company that has traditionally relied on word of mouth and referrals to bring them business,” Ivankovich said.

Ivankovich, who is originally from Snohomish, Washington, chose to enroll at MSU after visiting the campus with her father, Dominic Ivankovich, who graduated from MSU in 1994 with a degree in chemical engineering, and who in 2017 was inducted into the MSU engineering college’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni.

“During that tour, I fell in love with Jabs and chose it right away,” Ivankovich said of her decision to major in business.

She got involved in campus right away, too.

As a freshman, she joined MSU’s student chapter of the American Marketing Association. A highlight of that year, she said, was attending the association’s annual International Collegiate Conference in New Orleans, where she reached the finals out of more than 350 entrants in the competition’s Perfect Pitch competition, in which participants have 90 seconds to pitch themselves for a job at a specific company.

As a sophomore, she served as vice president of membership
in the MSU AMA. Next year, as a junior, she’ll serve as executive
vice president.

“Some key takeaways from my time with AMA have been the ability to delegate to directors, how to properly participate in a board meeting and how to effectively communicate via email,” Ivankovich said. “I absolutely think my work with AMA will help my career, as these are lifelong skills, regardless of the career path I end up choosing. My AMA colleagues have quickly become some of my great friends, and we have learned about business alongside each other.”

In the spring of her freshman year, Ivankovich was confirmed as an associate justice of the ASMSU Supreme Court. In that position, Ivankovich and the other justices review student appeals, manage elections, grievances and other complaints, and review actions of the ASMSU Senate by interpreting the ASMSU Constitution, ASMSU governing documents and Montana law.

“I believe my experience working with ASMSU as a supreme court justice will be helpful as I pursue [my] career, as I have learned how different departments can work together to [achieve] a common goal,” she said.
In addition, as a sophomore, Ivankovich volunteered to become a Jabs student ambassador.

“This position entails meeting with many people and hopefully making a positive impression for Jabs as a whole,” Ivankovich said. “Through this, I met Jake Jabs himself, as well as countless other leaders and donors and many young students. Within that process of explaining how much I love the JJCBE, I have seen my own pride develop as a student and future alumni.”

Academically, Ivankovich credits top-notch professors and smaller class sizes in the business college as important elements of her education.

“To have the opportunity to get to know my classmates and professors at a more intimate level has allowed me to comprehend and seek to understand the material more,” she said.

“All my professors have cared about my classmates and me as individuals and want us to succeed,” she added. “There are also many resources outside of classes, such as the [Bracken Business Communications Clinic] and our internship resources that give students the best chance of success.”

Transitioning to remote classes partway through last semester because of the novel coronavirus was a challenge, Ivankovich admitted, but she also learned from it.

“I do feel that it was valuable to learn how to work remotely and ask people for help and clarity even over email,” she said. “I learned that if you work hard at something, you will grow regardless of
the circumstances.”

Those in the business college who know her well say that her attitude and drive will take her far.

“Isabelle is the definition of the word ‘go-getter,’ and I knew that from the moment I met her,” said Eric Van Steenburg, assistant professor of marketing and faculty adviser for the student chapter of the American Marketing Association at MSU. “She engaged early in her academic career, joining AMA as a freshman and winning our chapter’s Perfect Pitch competition. As a sophomore, she was on the executive board and helped us earn a Top 10 chapter designation. I can’t wait to see her in a leadership capacity next year when she serves as AMA’s executive vice president.”

Chelsey Wilson, director of academic and career engagement in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship’s Bracken Center for Excellence, said Ivankovich is eager to listen, learn and engage.

“Her whatever-it-takes mentality shines through in both her academics and co-curricular and is contagious,” Wilson said. “Isabelle is one of those students who continually thanks her professors and support staff for all that they do, but what she does not realize is that we learn just as much from her as she learns from us. She positively represents herself, Jabs and MSU in all that she does both inside and outside of the classroom. We are proud she is part of the Jabs community.”

In the future, Ivankovich hopes to work in marketing or consulting.
“I hope that this internship will give me a better idea of what path I would like to continue on after college, potentially marketing for banks,” she said.


Isabelle Ivankovich

Contact: Isabelle Ivankovich,

This story appears in Issue 2 2020 of the Community Banker Magazine.