Real Life Experience

Alex Bishop and Samantha Kelm
Veterinary students Alex Bishop and Samantha Kelm.

Navigating through veterinary school can be difficult enough without having something else on your plate.

But that’s exactly what a pair of College of Veterinary Medicine students have been doing for a number of years with their participation in CyBIZ. CyBIZ provides the opportunity for cross-functional teams of students to work on business and organization projects.

It’s an environment both Alex Bishop and Samantha Kelm have thrived in despite taking different routes to Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business’ program.

Bishop, a current second-year veterinary student, started with CyBIZ as an animal science undergraduate student. In the four years she has been a part of the program, she has served as a team lead for numerous projects and successfully completed more than 20 projects.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time with this company and continue to learn more about business,” she said. “While animal science and veterinary medicine projects are my specialty, I have also been asked to work outside my comfort zone in different business related fields.”

Kelm, a third-year veterinary student, has also worked out of her comfort zone on a number of non-veterinary projects ranging from market feasibility studies and financial analysis to standard operating procedures and marketing.

“My role with CyBIZ as a student business consultant is to work with interdisciplinary teams of students on a variety of projects,” Kelm said. “I have been fortunate to work with projects spanning industries from private business, academia and government.”

Like veterinary school, CyBIZ provides students like Bishop and Kelm hands-on experiences – but instead of working with animals in the clinic or spaying and neutering cats and dogs, their teams work with solve real business problems.

“Being able to utilize my education and push myself to learn about different topics to deliver a product to the client are what makes CyBIZ so fun,” Kelm said. “I love learning from my peers with completely different backgrounds as me.”

Kelm cites such a project she worked on with Bishop and two undergraduate business majors.

“Learning from them and integrating Alex’s and my knowledge of veterinary medicine allowed us all to learn from each other,” Kelm said. “Alex has been my team lead for several projects and has been so helpful in my CyBIZ journey.”

Bishop says learning new skills from other non-veterinary students is one of the reasons why she continued with CyBIZ after graduating with her undergraduate degree and moving onto her veterinary studies.

“It has also enabled me to continue to practice my discussion facilitation, presentation and writing skills,” she said. “This experience will also assist me as I continue to move throughout my veterinary career.”

Bishop says her presentation skills have improved and through CyBIZ she continues to enhance her communication skills. “I strongly believe CyBIZ has prepared me to work with all kinds of companies and individuals in the future,” she said. “Being a veterinarian is more than just knowing animals, it is also about knowing people.

“CyBIZ has opened my eyes to the importance of being able to run a good business and have good communication skills.”

Her fellow veterinary medicine student agrees.

“I believe involvement in things other than the classroom in vet school are extremely important and necessary to produce a well-rounded veterinary professional, community member and person,” Kelm said. “Being involved with CyBIZ allows me a way to do this while also gaining and interacting with a community outside of vet med.”

March 2022