Joel Hargrave '18, BS Financial Information and Analysis
Hometown: Baldwinsville, N.Y.
I've always enjoyed working with numbers, and I have been interested in the money side of how business is conducted ever since taking my first business class in high school. I came to Clarkson thinking that I wanted to go into the accounting field, but some real-world learning experiences I had here at Clarkson helped me to realize that I want a more social job where I can work with people. In the long term, this may mean running my own consulting firm, helping people to develop their ideas and improve their businesses.
I chose to attend Clarkson because I was intrigued by the first-year business program and by the idea that students have the time to truly explore various fields within the business world. This made all the difference to me. My studies here also included opportunities for global travel, which opened my eyes to differences in business operations around the world and also awakened my love of travel!
There's something special about the real-world learning opportunities here. All freshmen business students are required to start a business and pitch their product to investors. Some classmates and I decided to start a company (FourScore Jeans) to make jeans that use four measurements in order to fit you better. Most of the companies created in class fade away after a few months, but we took it a few steps further. We went to a regional business competition and won first place for our geographic region and in our category! We then advanced to statewide competition in Albany, where we were a runner up. The team we lost to were graduate students from Cornell, so we were still happy with our showing.
This whole experience was unbelievable. It was so much fun to compare pitches and ideas. We produced a few prototypes of our product but couldn't settle on a price point and didn't have adequate time to devote to the project. It was an exciting taste of business, though.
Business majors at Clarkson are required to have some kind of international experience in order to learn more about business in an international setting. I spent a semester abroad in Gold Coast, Australia, taking elective classes at Griffith University. I had an amazing time and got to meet people and travel. I loved it — this travel experience was great. I also visited Uganda and Kenya on a Global Business Program. I learned a lot, definitely more than I would have in a classroom.
Students here also have some wonderful internships. I interned for the Shipley Center for Innovation and continue to work there during the school year as a consultant. This summer, I interned with Farm Credit East in Burrville, N.Y., where I worked with loan officers and other financial-service representatives to assist clients and learn more about the lending industry. I want to go to graduate school to obtain a master's degree in data analytics — so my internships have been a great resource for me.
Being a student at Clarkson has allowed me to grow personally as well. I've made great friends. On campus, I’m involved in the Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity, Clarkson Road Cycling Club, Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society and the Order of Omega, a national Greek honor society.