Since 2017, Broad Spartans have made their way onto Poets & Quants’ list of “Best and Brightest” undergraduate students for their exceptional accomplishments — and this year is no different. The two honorees from the class of 2020 are supply chain management senior Sam Stevons and finance senior Jack Vaglia.
From MSU to Microsoft
Stevons will leave Michigan State to take on a full-time position at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. She will be entering a three-year supply chain rotational program in planning, data analytics and channel management. Her internships and community involvement as a student helped get her to this point.
From being a member in professional business fraternity Phi Chi Theta to being the director of marketing and human resources for student-run Spectrum Consulting Group to winning the Best Pitch Award for her work at a Spartan Blockchain Solutions case competition, Stevons was dedicated to being involved.
“Spartan Blockchain Solutions made my career interests shift,” she said. “I found my passion to learn more about technology as well its implications and benefits to society” — so much so that she decided to earn an information technology minor along with her supply chain degree.
Stevons has two items on her professional bucket list that keep pushing her forward: become CEO of her own start-up company to improve special education and become a supply chain executive at a nonprofit or charity.
“Find what you’re interested in and run with it,” Stevons said. “Business has endless opportunities readily available and prepares you to take on the world.”
Showing Spartan work ethic
Upon leaving the banks of the Red Cedar, Vaglia will take on a full-time position at Houlihan Lokey in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as an investment banking analyst. Like Stevons, Vaglia was very involved in his time at MSU, as a member of the Financial Markets Institute, Honors College and Evans Scholar Program, which offers tuition and housing scholarships to golf caddies.
“Earning the Evans Scholarship to Michigan State University was the proudest day of my life and something for which I worked extremely hard,” Vaglia said. “I am incredibly grateful for the Western Golf Association and Evans Scholarship Foundation’s investment and belief in me. It will be a privilege to mentor several young caddies hoping to follow in my footsteps.”
In addition, Vaglia also helped found the Alternative Investments Group student club at MSU, which he said taught him his most beneficial lessons. The club’s purpose is to help members “learn in an engaging hands-on environment through our educational series, investment case studies and opportunities for professional development through our speaker series, and resume review and interview preparation workshops.”
Kymm Hadlock, fixed-term faculty in the Department of Marketing, said, “I had the pleasure of teaching Jack Vaglia for two different courses during his undergraduate career. Jack’s relentless work ethic, coupled with his deep, authentic desire for self-improvement, are two characteristics that truly set him apart from his peers.”
Vaglia hopes to invest in real estate and businesses and entrepreneurs he believes in and build his own business to make a positive impact one day for the City of Detroit.
Broad Spartans persevere
With their fellow Spartans, Stevons and Vaglia have had to adjust to online classes and an abrupt transition near the end of the semester due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. “I take it day by day,” Stevons said. She explained that developing new organizational skills have been helpful to maintain a level of structure. “I’m trying to take everything at face value, accept things as they are and keep working towards personal and professional goals.”
In a final piece of advice to current students, Stevons and Vaglia suggested looking to their Broad College network for guidance and support. “The Broad curriculum enables students to understand that there is a myriad of opportunities for us,” Stevons said. “Devote this as a time to develop skills and pursue hobbies that you otherwise would not be able to.”
Vaglia urged others to channel the Broad Spartan mindset to persevere. “Having courage and a strong work ethic is something that’s been instilled in all Broad students,” he said. “The most critical skills needed to succeed in these uncertain times are unwavering courage and an ability to keep working hard.”