I am the president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
In his role as MEDC CEO, Michael Finney understands the need to attract business and talent, be entrepreneurial, develop strategic partnerships and be an advocate for community development. It’s what he does and what he’s done in prior positions as president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK and as president and CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise in New York.
Much of his training, thinking and values were shaped and formed long before these roles.
More than a few years ago, 1974 to be exact, Mike Finney was a business school student at SVSU. Even then, Mike was always looking forward, always working on a plan; he says he knew the academic environment at SVSU would give him a “chance to compete when I was done. I’ve had numerous career opportunities that I think are ‘up there’ with any alumni of this school, or any school in the country. I think the education I received from SVSU is clearly a contributor to my success.”
I am a talent hunter.
As the leader of the MEDC, Mike is passionate in his belief that “talent” is the key to Michigan’s re-establishing itself as a robust economic leader. He sees his alma mater as “playing a huge role. A big part of what we’re (MEDC) doing is trying to keep that entrepreneurial talent here. We see SVSU being a key player in the Saginaw Valley and, frankly, across the state.”
I am still connected.
When Mike talks of the need to develop and retain talent and forge important strategic relationships, he is often speaking as much about SVSU as he is about the state of Michigan. In his own life, he has stayed connected to many SVSU supporters and mentors who helped him navigate and understand the various academic, social, personal and professional possibilities that were his to pursue.
I am a champion for SVSU.
What would Mike Finney say to a student or parent in the college search process? “If you’re looking for a school that is relatively small, can provide a very personalized experience, has small classes, is going to create an experience where you’ll get to know not just students, but faculty, staff and administration … then I think SVSU should be an ideal place for a student and for a parent to consider.”
Finney was the 2008 Saginaw Valley State University Outstanding Alumnus for the College of Business and Management.
In February 2011, Mike participated in a panel discussion, "From SVSU Student to CEO."
Finney graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree. Today, the strong business program and the fact that the College of Business & Management is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International are reasons business programs remain popular for SVSU students. It is estimated that about 30percent of U.S. schools with business programs have AACSB-international accreditation and fewer than 5percent of all business programs worldwide have earned this accreditation.