by Darla Vasquez - Mar 02, 2017
Rawls alumnus and current executive at United Capital, Jarrod Upton, recently joined Rawls Business Leadership Program students to offer insights and advice based on his experiences at Rawls and beyond. During a luncheon in the Dean’s Suite, students were encouraged to ask questions and engage in open conversation about the financial planning industry, as well as other aspects of the professional working world. Additionally, he spoke to the entire RBLP class about his work experience and provided tips for how to succeed beyond the classroom.
Upton, who graduated with a B.B.A. in marketing in 2002, discussed his academic experience and how it has impacted his time in the financial planning industry. While in school, Upton had many opportunities to expand his horizons and learn from others, which makes him passionate about interacting with and aiding current students.
“Take advantage of opportunities while in college because there is a huge cross section of people who you can learn from,” Upton said. “Study abroad, get an internship, connect with a mentor. There is a world of options at your fingertips.”
As a member of the Advisory Council, Upton asked for advice from students about the programs in place, such as the mentor program, and other potential ideas for benefiting students. With feedback directly from students, he is able to act as liaison between the AC and student community. Among other conversation topics, Upton received extremely positive feedback about the mentor program from participating students who believe the program has helped them gain connections and grow a network.
“Randy Golden has done wonders for me in creating a network,” Caleb Richardson said. “He cares about the quality of my experiences and even helped me obtain an internship my freshman year.”
Upton detailed his transition from school to the workplace. He spoke about the unexpected difficulties, and how he was surprised that he had to work much harder than when he was in school. He discussed the value of perseverance and how beneficial the extra effort can be.
“It’s not the 95 percent effort that gets you where you want to be,” Upton said. “It’s the last 5 percent that pushes you through the hardest obstacles.”
Lastly, Upton offered advice to students about the biggest mistakes graduates make and how to avoid them. Again, perseverance was a key message. He often sees recent graduates that get impatient for the next adventure. Upton says it is important to stick with a job for a while to get the greatest value out of the experience. During that time, he says to ask what you can do for a company rather than what the company can do for you because it shows intellectual curiosity and dedication to the organization’s success. Upton believes that giving back is the best way to move forward, both personally and professionally.