"I knew in order to keep growing and get as much as I could out of my education I needed to enroll in hard classes and involve myself in extracurricular activities. The more I got involved, the harder I worked to make deadlines and pushed myself to innovate."
At SAU, Matt discovered an educational environment conducive to encouraging innovation and tenacity. He jumped into sales competitions, served as a Resident Advisor, led retreats, and competed in intermural sports. His relentless commitment to excellence paid off: three degrees – earned in just 3.5 years – and a job waiting for him after graduation.
Hometown: Princeville, Illinois
We are a small Catholic university, which appealed to Matt. "Staying close to my faith was a key component, and after I applied I was invited to attend a scholarship day. I interviewed and toured campus with College of Business faculty, and I fell in love with the campus. It was a small, tight-knit community that greeted me with open arms, which fits well with my personality. It made sense to come here; SAU offered everything I wanted."
Why did you choose to triple major?
"When I came to St. Ambrose, I knew I wanted to go into business and I liked math, so I thought accounting made sense," he says. But after a few business courses, Matt realized it wasn't the career he wanted. He met with the Sales program director to learn more about its focus on ethics and building relationships – something that resonated with Matt and matched his strengths. He switched majors and added the other two, knowing the extra education gave him an advantage in the financial industry.
How did faculty influence your education?
Matt was challenged and encouraged throughout his education. "I had a great relationship with all of the sales faculty," he says. "My finance faculty advisor never let me get complacent in the classroom. At no point was I allowed to just go through the motions. He pushed me to learn the finance industry," Matt says, adding his Marketing, Economics, and Accounting professors also held him to high standards. "They never let me let go of my analytical side."
What were you involved in and how did it change you?
Matt participated in Dance Marathon, was president of the Sales Club, and participated in intermural sports to feed his competitive edge. He led Antioch retreats, men's Bible study and new student orientations. And, he participated in sales competitions on campus and at Florida State University. But his greatest reward was serving as a Resident Adviser. He was an advocate for residents and eager to help them. "I was able to be there for students who were in tough situations and helped them grow."
Where did your SAU education take you?
Matt is an account executive in the Employee Benefits and Commercial Property and Casualty Division at Kunkel and Associates, an insurance broker in Dubuque, Iowa. During the semester before graduation and following his internship, Matt was offered the position. "I am excited about the opportunities to come, the relationships I will build, and the impact I can have on lives in this new role. But, I will miss the place that gave me so much in 3.5 years, and the faculty and staff. It was a rewarding experience and I am proud to have a degree that says St. Ambrose University on it."