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Proving His Value: Michael Harvey ’09

Posted on Mar 25, 2013
Michael Harvey, a UW-Superior alum, is using his degree from the university and his college experiences to carry out his work as an appraiser with St. Louis County.
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Proving His Value: Michael Harvey ’09

Completing his college education in the spring of 2009, Michael Harvey graduated from UW-Superior with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and Economics. Prior to his commencement, Harvey took the initiative to gain practical work experience through an internship with Amsoil, where he dealt with accounting matters for the company. From there, Harvey was able to get his foot in the door with the St. Louis County Assessors' Office, located in Virginia, MN, where he was recently promoted to the position of Principle Appraiser.

The Job Description

Harvey began his job with St. Louis County only a couple months after graduation. Though he was not looking for a job working specifically with appraisals, he definitely enjoys the work that he is currently doing and realizes the positive changes that it has in the matters of the government. He first began this type of work as an assessor, and his main focus was to determine the value of a piece of property as well as the correct way of classifying it.

Though some people may see this as an easy job on the surface, Harvey understands that, "it takes an analytical mind and an attention to detail to be a good assessor." He cannot just put a number on a piece of property, but rather he needs to be able to defend his value when the number is challenged by others. There are also situations that arise in which the value of the property is not necessarily an easy assessment, and it takes a good amount of work to get the numbers right in these complex cases.

After working as an assessor for three years, Harvey received a promotion and transitioned into the role of Principle Appraiser. His new job requires him to supervise local assessors to ensure that they are carrying out their work properly, and he also provides them with assistance when it is needed. Most of his daily work is done in the office, either on his computer or making phone calls, yet he also spends some time in meetings or outside auditing the work which others have done. Being able to carry out some of his work outside rather than just sitting in an office every day is one of Harvey's favorite parts to his job. He also enjoys being able to work with a variety of people from day to day, although he admits that he often has to deal with individuals and situations that are not always the easiest to work with.

Landing the Job

Even though experience certainly can help in attaining a job as an appraiser, Harvey believes that a four year degree in a field such as Business, Economics, or Real Estate would be a good place to start for someone seeking this type of position. In order to be successful in this field, he also recognizes the significance in being able to effectively communicate with other people.

While attending UW-Superior, Harvey was a member of three different groups that allowed him the chance to continue to develop his communication skills. He was a part of the Student Senate, Business Professionals of America, and SUFAC (Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee). These groups helped to shape his various skills even further, and they gave him practice working with organizations that were set up in a professional context.

Advice to Others

Looking back on his path to a successful career, Harvey has some advice to share with those who are starting to make the transition from a student to a worker in the professional world. First of all, he feels that it is important for students to know what the job they are considering will entail. He explains, "Most students spend little time researching a career and a lot of time going to school for it. I think it's important to have an idea of what you're getting yourself into before you go to school." With that being said, Harvey also encourages students to take a look at the job market and how it is expected to look a few years out. If there is a way to shape your interests to fit into a field that is projected to be hiring upon your commencement, pursuing that path will only increase your chances of being able to find a job after graduation.

Though Harvey believes that a bachelor's degree is important for landing many jobs, he also recognizes that a higher degree is starting to be in higher demand. He explains, "In the public sector having a [bachelor's] degree is still sufficient for now but I can see that most employers are starting to be more adamant that people have an MBA or a [bachelor's] degree with five plus years of experience." Even for those jobs that do not require a higher degree, it is never a bad thing to have and it can only make you more marketable for a better job.

Harvey also emphasizes the significance in getting some practice in your field before making a start in the professional world, especially if you are looking into specified areas of employment. He comments, "Experience cannot be underestimated in the private sector. Making sure you have an internship or real job experience under your [belt] before you graduate college is important."

Mike Harvey was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. His full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website,

Interview conducted by Kristen Jasperson on January 30, 2013. Article written by Kristen Jasperson.

News Contact: Shannon Gilligan | 715-394-8026 | sgillig1{atuws}
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