By Tom Brandes

Saint Mary’s University student Brady Lindauer didn’t know what to expect when his Business Intelligence and Analytics professor Michael Ratajczyk suggested he call alumnus Joe Hettinger ’87, a member of the university’s Business Advisory Council (BAC).

During the very first phone call, the two talked for an hour about life and business — and a valuable connection, mentorship, and friendship was formed.

Hettinger soon shared Lindauer’s résumé with several Winona business leaders, and, as a result, Lindauer landed an internship at Merchants Bank. After working at the bank full time last summer, bank officials asked Lindauer to continue working on a big project part time this semester. He’s also receiving elective credits toward one of his majors.

Growing up near Chicago, Lindauer wasn’t familiar with Saint Mary’s until he was recruited to play on the men’s hockey team. In addition to the opportunity to play at the college level, he thought the business program looked good, but a visit to the Winona Campus sealed the deal. He fell in love with the campus, the overall atmosphere, and especially the people.

With athletics and coursework, the junior is extremely busy and gaining excellent time management and leadership skills by serving as a hockey team captain; taking challenging classes for his double major of Finance and Business Intelligence and Analytics; and working 12 hours a week at Merchants Bank, gaining knowledge and experience that will pay dividends after graduation.

“I loved my internship at Merchants Bank, and it’s been super beneficial. The culture is great, and they treat me very well,” said Lindauer. “It’s a great learning opportunity, and everyone goes out of their way to help me, including Mr. (Greg) Evans, the CEO, and Stephen Swenson, the bank’s CIO.”

Lindauer credits his instructors, including Ratajczyk, Matt Klosky, and Andrew Scott, for teaching him the skills he needed to be successful during his internship. He feels they truly care about and focus on developing their students, and he was pleased to see the things he’s learned in class, such as business terminology, in practice at Merchants Bank.

“When I first talked to Brady we discussed his résumé, his interest in industries and companies, his coursework, and his passion for education and learning,” said Hettinger. “I could see Brady knew the importance of networking and building his résumé, and his desire to gain experience in a real-world situation. He’s an impressive young man with a great future in front of him.”

Lindauer and Hettinger continue to connect regularly via texts or phone calls, discussing classes, the importance of leadership, and more. Despite the fact that Hettinger lives in Chicago and both have hectic schedules, they also meet for coffee when Hettinger is in Winona.

Hettinger notes how impressive it is for Lindauer to be named a team captain as a junior, and stresses the responsibility that comes with it. Lindauer has taken this responsibility to heart and is beginning to take a mentorship role with younger players who are just entering the hockey program and the Saint Mary’s community.

Lindauer greatly appreciates the opportunity to learn from Hettinger, and hear his memories of his time on campus. Likewise, Hettinger appreciates the opportunity to help Lindauer navigate the business world. He believes it’s a great way to give back to the school he loves, and that gave him a great experience in so many ways — including meeting his wife, Ann Marie (Brooks) Hettinger ’85.

“The BAC was established to help business students like Brady with their résumé development, mentorship programs, internships, networking with alumni, and ultimately possible job placement,” Hettinger added.

“The best thing Joe told me is, ‘Be interested or interesting. Not many people are truly interesting. Never stop learning. Be inquisitive. Ask the right questions, and you’ll learn about life,’ ” Lindauer said. “The highlight of my Saint Mary’s experience is the relationship piece — teammates, coaches, students, and teachers — and alumni like Joe. Those relationships will last a lifetime.”

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