March 28, 2013
When you find something you love, you pick it up and run with it. And that's precisely what senior management student Joshua Stroud has done at B&E.
Stroud, a first generation college student from Elkins, W.Va., has a true zeal for B&E and will graduate in May 2013. It is likely that he will be more proud than most to receive the diploma.
"In high school, I was voted least likely to go to college," he explained. "That was my biggest motivator. I went to WVU football games when I was itty-bitty and it was kind of like that peak of the mountain that I never thought I would see. Then, I actually got accepted and it's been a whole new world."
"When I first started at WVU I was a general studies major, and then went into computer engineering. I hated all my classes," he said. Although the going was tough at first, the end result was worth it. "I talked to my advisors and was encouraged to go into business management. It turned out there wasn't a class I didn't like. It feels good to be a part of a school like this. It's something I have a passion for. My father runs a business and he didn't even graduate high school, so maybe (operating a business) runs in my blood," he said.
Stroud, a self-described outdoor enthusiast who loves running, playing sports, fishing, hunting, camping and hiking, has stayed very active in Delta Sigma Pi, America's foremost professional fraternity for men and women pursuing careers in business.
"DSP is about performing certain duties that help us in the business world like recruiting, professional events, community service and building your business fundamentals," Stroud explained. "We have speakers that come and talk to our recruits ranging from CPAs to CEOs."
Participation in the fraternity has been very important to Stroud. "It's taught me leadership; it's taught me how to be a people person and how to work in a professional environment. I've learned how to be comfortable around people of importance. It's taught me determination and how to work in groups." Stroud coordinated a Business Bash fundraiser in 2011, and traveled to Louisville in 2012 for the Delta Sigma Pi Grand Chapter Conference, which he described as "an excellent networking event."
At one time, Stroud served as Vice President of the fraternity. Although he stepped down from that position, he still presents the recruitment process presentation. He's excited because this spring semester's recruitment class is expected to double the size of the fraternity from 20 to 40 members.
"We recruit each semester. It's a 10-week recruitment process where the pledges take weekly quizzes about history and the foundation of the fraternity and what's expected. It takes dedication but it's a really fun fraternity. I love it," he said.
DSP participates in fund-raising activities for club activities such as conferences and fees, but Stroud says a portion of the funds are used to give back to the community, in particular the Bartlett House homeless shelter in downtown Morgantown.
Stroud said his favorite business class is his capstone with Dr. Jennifer Sexton.
"You can take everything that you've learned in your business career and apply it to this class, that's what I love about it," he said. "She puts the material in a way that students connect with her and that helps me learn."
Stroud has a variety of work experience to complement his coursework and involvement in DSP.
"I started working when I was 14 years old and from then on my goal was to get as much job experience as possible. I held on to each position for a year or two so I could be diverse and always have something to fall back on," he said.
His jobs have ranged from construction, to working for a lumber company, to telemarketing, to Western Union, to managing Vocelli's Pizza in downtown Morgantown, to his current position as a WVU student manager at Burger King in the Mountainlair.
"I supervise operations and work about 20 hours per week. I've conducted interviews to hire. I've fired people and I think that's a big learning experience. It's tough but it's important to go through the hardships you have to go through being in management — to organize people and make sure everything's getting done at once and trying to juggle it all," he said.
Stroud's advice for students is two-fold: attend class and dedicate to an emphasis.
"I know it sounds obvious, but it's important to go to class. You need to soak in the material and listen to how it all works. You'll reach an "a-ha" moment. Run after that. That's what I did," he said. "Once you find what you love, it's like you're not working a day in your life. It's so fulfilling."
Stroud said that one of his long term goals is to one day be a philanthropist who can come back and contribute to the University and to the people of West Virginia. In the meantime, however, his goals are more global in scope.
Upon graduation, Stroud plans to find a temporary position before spending a two-year commitment in the Peace Corps, a goal he set for himself after finding inspiration in a professor who taught one of his courses in creative writing, his minor.
"I'm hoping to utilize my business degree in a different country," Stroud said. "I would like to use my knowledge to improve the living conditions of people who have less than us. I've never been west of the Mississippi, so I want to get out and see the world. I'd love to go to South America. I've heard many people there have literally nothing, but yet are so grateful. They don't have all the opportunities to get educated like I do."
"You just need the right opportunities and someone to guide you in the right direction," he said. "I think I could do that. Even if I just touch one person's life, it will be so worth it."