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COB Honors Program students travel to Austin, Texas; receive career advice from OHIO alumni

Wednesday, November 7 2018 12:00pm

Honors student Taylor Breen provides a play-by-play of the group’s experience.

By Meghan Morris


The following news report was put together with information from Taylor Breen, an Honors student, about a recent networking trip to Austin, Texas. Honors Program juniors visited several companies and met with industry professionals.

The College of Business Honors Program gives high-achieving business students an innovative educational experience through advanced classes, applied learning, and team projects. This program helps students develop from eager young minds into career-ready professionals.

Networking with OHIO alumni contributes to the program’s mission by helping honors students expand their professional contacts and see the business world firsthand. Honors juniors take a networking trip every fall semester to such cities as Austin, Texas, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, North Carolina. Even their younger Honors Program peers get to take a networking trip during the spring semester in locations such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati.

Nineteen Honors Program juniors recently traveled to Austin, Texas, to network with OHIO alumni who currently work in select business fields. The students were accompanied by Dean Hugh Sherman, Professor Tom Marchese, Ryan O’Connor, director of development at the College of Business, and Jessie Holtz, assistant director of development of major giving at the OHIO Dublin campus.

The three-day trip began with the students and faculty meeting Frank Krasovec, BBA ‘65 and MBA ‘66, and his wife Margaret at their downtown residence Sunday evening. Several more OHIO alumni from the Austin-area also joined the group. The Krasovec’s shared insights into their success in business, in life, as well as mentoring recent OHIO graduates who hope to begin their careers in Austin.

“That was the most valuable part of the entire trip,” said Taylor Breen, an Honors junior studying marketing. “We all walked in extremely intimidated, unsure of what to expect, and Frank was so incredibly down to Earth and welcoming to all of us.”

On Monday, the students and faculty visited the headquarters of Dell. Several Bobcat alumni took the students around the Dell campus. They shared details about how they ended up at Dell and what they currently did at the company. Students learned more about the company’s culture by listening to a staff presentation about the history of Dell, where it stands in the market, and the company’s sustainability tactics. They were even able to examine Dell’s newest and most innovative products that were currently on the market or near launch.

When they left the Dell headquarters, the students traveled to the Dell Diamond to visit the minor league baseball team Round Rock Express. Dave Fendrick, former president of the team, BSED ‘71 and MSA ‘73, spoke to the students about his time at OHIO, his career path, and what led him to Austin. While giving a tour of the facility, Fendrick told interesting stories of how he rose through the ranks in minor league baseball management before his retirement.

Next, the students and faculty had a impromptu meet-and-greet with Ajay Royan, a friend of Frank Krasovec and a partner at Mithril Capital Management. He shared his academic experience and gave advice about how to achieve success in business.

“Ajay owns an extremely successful capital investment firm and was one of the first investors in Facebook as a startup,” Breen said. “He was young, down to earth, and made his experiences so relatable to all of us, even as we were in awe of his enormous success.”

The final stop of the night was a social at Lazarus Brewing Company where alumni, students, and faculty were all able to bond over food and drinks. They shared memories from their time at OHIO as well as experiences in the workforce.

On Tuesday, the students traveled to the headquarters of Oracle where they visited with two OHIO alumni. The business graduates spoke about their time in Athens, transitioning out of the academic world and how they adjusted to working at Oracle. On the company tours, students could experience amazing views of the city from different lookout points. A networking lunch at Che Zee American Bistro with OHIO alumna Rene, BSS ‘16, and Curt Banglesdorf, AB ‘94 and owner of Charlie Bravo Aviation, marked the end of another great trip.

The Austin networking trip served as a great opportunity for students to see a major metropolitan center, explore corporations of different sizes, and bond with OHIO alumni.

“The biggest, and most prominent take away, I would say was that everyone creates their own path,” Breen said. “The path that you lead will be entirely different from the person sitting beside you. All of the alumni we met with were extremely successful in the career they ended up in, but they all got there at different times in their life and through different channels. The business world is smaller than most people think, and having a large network can only help you.”