Student Spotlight: Aiden Oetken
Posted on May 4, 2021 by MCOB Outreach
Hey everyone! My name is Aidan Oetken and I am a freshman planning to study marketing at the University of South Alabama. I graduated from McGill Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile in 2020.
It’s hard to say exactly when I knew I had a passion for business, but my entrepreneurial tendencies surfaced as early as the age of twelve when I started my first venture, the not-so-original lawn service. At the time, my only motive was to make money and I didn’t even know what the word ‘entrepreneur’ meant. During my freshman year in high school, I decided to start my next business venture, a vintage clothing store with the aim of combating horrible effects the fashion industry had on the environment. Before starting that business, Rerack Vintage, I didn’t have a single clue about how to run or grow a business. However, my philosophy with business, which has remained constant throughout my entrepreneurial journey, is to dive right in and figure it out along the way. I believe that the best way to learn something is to force yourself to learn it, whether through failure or adaptation. During my summer before attending South, I interned at a marketing agency in Mobile called Mighty, and it wasn’t until then that I realized my true passion: marketing. Soon after, I decided to start my own marketing agency, Oaktree Media Management, with the main goal of providing small businesses with affordable and effective marketing solutions to help combat the effects COVID-19 had on small businesses around the world. I recognized a gap in the market where big agencies couldn’t work with smaller businesses due to various reasons, and I decided to take advantage of that opportunity. I believe that there are only three criteria that make a business successful: if it makes you happy, if it makes you money, and if it does something good for your community-- more emphasis on the first and third.
Until the spring semester of my senior year in high school, I hadn’t planned on attending college. I soon realized that I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and began to understand the true value a degree would bring to my endeavors. Being born and raised in Mobile, I had always overlooked South as a viable option for my future. Once I started exploring what the Mitchell College of Business had to offer, the decision to attend became the best next step. Throughout my first semester at South, I quickly made connections and pursued opportunities to further develop my professional skills. I have been appointed as President of the American Marketing Association and have had the honor of redeveloping the chapter after the organization nearly fell apart in Spring 2020. I’ve since learned a great deal about leadership and stepping out of my introverted comfort zone with the help of the other AMA officers’ help. Being in this position has grown me as a person and professional.
I owe much of my success and accomplishment to the encouragement of my parents and various mentors over the years. They have always supported me, and, aside from experience, have taught me all that I know. Looking forward, the future for me is uncertain. There are so many things I want to try and accomplish in the business world; it seems quite impossible that I’ll be able to do everything I want within my lifetime. However, at the end of my entrepreneurial career and life, my primary aspiration is to make a positive impact on the world and the people around me. I know that with connections and skills developed at South, I will be well-equipped to take on my ambitions with confidence.
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