Arran, from Annapolis, Maryland, graduated from UVM on Sunday. He talked to us about his experience as a UVM business student, his passion for numbers, negotiating his allowance as a kid, and what he thinks it takes to succeed.
While at UVM, you were a member of Beta Gamma Sigma (the business honors society), led communications for Students Helping Others Respect the Environment, were part of the Club Rugby Council, and participated in a variety of Business School competitions.
What prompted you to get so involved outside of the classroom? What were some of the benefits of all of your involvement?
As a Business School student, I became more involved with initiatives outside of the classroom than I initially planned. A lot of my friends were always busy with clubs and meetings, and I just opened my eyes one day and realized I was missing out on incredible opportunities. It was surprisingly easy; all I had to do was keep my eye open around campus and attend the advertised meetings. It creates a really interesting cycle where by being involved in one activity creates chances to be involved elsewhere, and the opportunities begin to find you.
It balanced my schedule by adding more order to everything, and also helped me make connections with professors and students that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I had some great experiences as a result of my involvement.
Did you always want to study business?
It had always been in the back of my mind, although I did start college as an engineer. I have always enjoyed the idea of running a business and everything that went into it. As a child, I was always buying, trading, and selling different commodities — my inventory mostly consisted of sweets — to try and increase my allowance. The idea of adding value to products through various means has always really interested me.
What aspect of business do you enjoy the most? What’s the most challenging?
My degree includes finance and accounting concentrations, and minors in mathematics and economics. I’m an absolute numbers guy, so anything involving numbers or calculations, whether it be margins, journal entries, or discounted cash flows, interests me. What I find the most challenging is also one of the greatest aspects of business:I often find the collaboration aspect to be difficult, although very rewarding. Business involves working with people from all types of backgrounds, even those with different business concentrations, and a finance person is going to view a problem very differently than a marketing major. Working through the differences is extremely challenging for me — and everyone around me — but it is an integral part of success.
Any advice to students thinking about majoring in business?
I think there’s a concentration within business for every person. Learn a bit about the different business areas and the opportunities available within each one and I’m sure you’ll find something that fits.
What do you think a successful business student looks like?
This is a tough one. I’d say what’s really important is going in with an open mind and a willingness to work. Every time I see someone succeeding it’s because they’re passionate about the topic and are eager to tackle it. A successful business student is passionate and enthusiastic about their work. A nice suit doesn’t hurt either.
Why did you choose UVM?
I fell in love with the campus the moment I arrived. Burlington is an incredible place to go to college and was a great home for four years. What really struck me about the campus, however, was the people. Everyone seemed so down to earth and friendly. The professors were so approachable and all of the students seemed to be greatly enjoying themselves.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
On my current track, ideally I see myself as an officer of a Fortune 500 company. It’s difficult to say though. If you asked me that question four years ago I would have said working as an engineer for some large company. So much can change in five years, so all I want is being employed and doing something I enjoy.