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Alumni Spotlight

WVU B&E graduates Rick and Jessica Shuman

Rick & Jessica Shuman

B&E grad couple conquer NYC metro area together

February 28, 2017

During an undergraduate college experience at West Virginia University, students discover their callings, their passions and lifelong friends and mentors. Some even find love. At least that’s the case when it comes to 2011 College of Business and Economics marketing graduate Rick Shuman and 2012 B&E marketing graduate Jessica Shuman.

While the Mountaineer couple actually met at mutual friend’s party, they developed a bond through business and continue to today.

“Some of our conversations early on were about business, so naturally the things we read and watch today help us stay more connected,” Jessica said. “It also helps us understand a bit more about our careers and our daily work life.”

Rick was born in San Jose, California, and moved to Charles Town, West Virginia, at age 12, and Jessica is a native of Parkersburg, West Virginia. But today, these small-town West Virginians are young professionals taking on a major metro city life together in New York City.

“[Moving to NYC] was certainly a major culture shock. We each grew up in small West Virginia towns of about 30,000 and now we’re in one of the biggest metro areas in the U.S. To start, some days were better than others and home sickness was real, but you learn to adapt as you go — from insane traffic, meeting new people and an overall understanding the culture of the area,” Rick said. “One funny thing we found is that most people here have no reference of West Virginia or that we are a state! We always ensure it's a topic, and bettering the West Virginia brand has been one small imprint we've made.”

The B&E alumni also live out the WVU Mountaineer brand, bringing that pioneering spirit into their everyday marketing careers. Jessica bolsters the role of Sales Executive at ADP, and Rick serves as Manager of Consumer Promotions at L’Oreal Paris.

“My current role at ADP involves managing a team of 13 sales reps who specialize in selling additional solutions to our small business clients. I started my career with ADP right out of college. I’ve been able to grow from Small Business Services to Global Enterprise Solutions, and I now manage a team of small business reps,” Jessica said. “It feels like I have come full circle in five years!”

Jessica said after college, she was applying for almost any job that fit her degree, so in a way, sales chose her, and she is certainly glad it did.

“Now that my career is anchored in sales, I would recommend that route to anyone.  You strengthen skills like resiliency, goal setting and holding your attitude in adversity,” she said. “We have an amazing culture at ADP driven by a talented workforce,” she said. “Sales can be stressful and I think there is a misconception of ‘boiler room’ type offices, but there are many perks for hitting your sales goals. Also, working in such a large organization allows many channels for advancement.”

In Rick’s role at L’Oreal Paris, he leads the strategy, execution and analysis of all national consumer promotions across cosmetics, skin care and hair care categories, which involves running a broad spectrum of promotion types to hit specific objectives the marketing teams need to be successful.

“I manage the full promotional budget and am responsible for bringing innovation to the table, while maintaining strong performance on established promotional tactics. I’m constantly evaluating new tactics and vetting suppliers to see if they have a unique service that will fit our business. Consumer promotions is a niche that typically only exists in large CPG companies that are in very competitive markets,” he said. “Some of the promotion types that I manage are in-store signage, both digital and print coupons, mobile rebates, sweepstakes and contests, product sampling and many other types of promotions.”

Rick always had an intense interest in business and knew following in his mother’s footsteps as a marketer would open up many different career options for him.

“I love working on national marketing campaigns with a cross-functional team from strategic brainstorming sessions to seeing the program come to life in-market. It’s a very rewarding experience and it makes all the hard work and stress worth it in the end,” he said. “I get to work with some incredibly bright minds at one of the largest marketing organizations in the world and I enjoy being a part of this fast-paced environment that is always trying to stay ahead of the competition.”

So, while their careers and aspirations have lead them to new places, the Shumans carry WVU and B&E with them wherever they go and always uphold the values of both.  

“The people and community of WVU and B&E is hard to replicate. They fostered an environment of high learning and a feeling you could do something big,” Rick said. “Though it's tough to stay in touch, we made so many friends from all types of backgrounds. The pride you feel is something that is irreplaceable and why we recommend our siblings and nieces and nephews attend. Those will always be the best years of our lives!”

And as small-town West Virginia natives and forever Mountaineers, they bestow upon current and future Mountaineers looking to move to new areas a little piece of advice.

“Be open to it – you will learn so much about yourself. It will push you beyond what you think you are capable of,” Jessica said. “New experiences are also great for your career, especially if you can move around with the same company.”