Alumni ProfileMike Leimeister
Regional Sales Director, REALTOR.com, New Albany, Ohio Bluffton '03
Majors: Business administration and sports management
Reinforcing his foundation
Before Mike Leimeister decided to come to Bluffton in 1999, all he knew for sure about college is that he wanted to continue playing basketball. He did that-- and, with it, had a college experience that changed his life.
The Milan, Ohio, native graduated from Bluffton in 2003 with degrees in both business administration and sports management. Returning to Ohio in 2008 after five years in Los Angeles, he covers the state, as well as Indiana and Pennsylvania, as a regional sales director for REALTOR.com, assisting real estate brokers with online marketing and advertising.
When he was a high school senior, an essay on why he wanted to attend Bluffton helped focus his thoughts, Leimeister recalls.
"I had done a little research and found it was a liberal arts school," he says. "I felt I needed some direction and some classroom experience not only with what I wanted to do but in all areas of life."
Bluffton "exposed me to different ways of thinking that I hadn't been exposed to growing up," Leimeister adds, citing the cross-cultural program as an example. His "eye-opening" cross cultural trip was to Chicago, where he worked in a soup kitchen, among other experiences. "It gave me great perspective in terms of the real world," he says.
He pursued two degrees because, in addition to making himself more marketable, " I wanted to challenge myself; I wanted to push myself to excel," he remembers. He also knew he wanted to "venture out" and, after visiting former basketball teammate Jeremy Roberts '01 in Los Angeles on spring break his senior year, decided to give the city a try for one year.
The day after Leimeister arrived in Los Angeles, he went to REALTOR.com and open house and, the next day, was offered a job in the sales department. "That one year ended up being five years," he says, before the regional sales director opportunity brought him and his wife, Melissa, back to Ohio.
"My experience at Bluffton really changed my path in life. It gave me direction," says Leimeister, noting that it has also helped him adjust to change and overcome obstacles.
That invaluable experience extended to basketball. He scored only two points during his first two seasons but persevered and, as a junior and senior, totaled more than 1,000 points and was names first-team all-Heartland Conference both years.
Investing in the future.
Leimeister wants future student-athletes to have the same, and better, opportunities, including the best facilities. That, in part, is why he extending Our Reach campaign, whose priorities include construction of a new Health and Fitness Education Center for athletic, as well as academic and recreational programs.
"I think it's time we at Bluffton raise the bar, Leimeister says. And looking back on four years "that helped me be where I am today." he adds, "I want to invest in Bluffton's future as much as I can."