By the time Michael Modon graduated from The University of Akron, he had something he prized just as much as his diplomas — a passport with stamps in it.
The honors student and Buckingham Scholar says he learned early on at UA that he had to be willing to "step outside of the box" to make the most of his years here. That included balancing coursework with two internships, as well as leadership and research opportunities. By choosing to study abroad in Spain and South Korea, Modon says he gained a global perspective that serves him well today.
"I would highly encourage everyone to have a study abroad experience," says Modon, who had a double major in finance and economics. "It is a great opportunity to understand the international community, particularly in business, because you deal with people from all different cultures and societies, and understanding how the rest of the world operates is extremely important."
Which is why when it came time to weigh job offers in his senior year, Google was so appealing. The international company offered Modon a career with the same wide range of opportunities that define his Akron Experience.
"Google is a tremendous place to work for anyone who wants to be creative, but also is very driven," notes Modon, who lives near the company's headquarters in the San Francisco Bay area. "You have the ability to really navigate by yourself. You get to be involved with as many projects as you want, similar to a university."
And some of those projects have taken Modon abroad again. That passport of his is quickly filling with stamps.
"It was the opposite of a cookie-cutter experience."
“ There’s a lot of skill sets you learn at a university, sets that are not written on a degree anywhere.”
“ You’re in a different country, doing something in completely uncharted territory.”
" I’ve been tremendously rewarded in my career by having the opportunity to interact with some of the brightest minds throughout the world."
As incoming Honors College students prepared to start their first year on the UA campus, they received sparks of inspiration from four honors alumni — all recent College of Business Administration graduates — who became more than their majors and found success on their chosen paths.
The four, who had all been all Buckingham Scholars, were brought to campus through the Honors Leadership Summit, which is a program hosted by the Institute for Leadership Advancement within the CBA. The institute, established in 2012 by a $1 million gift from The J.M. Smucker Company, promotes the development of leaders with the unique combination of knowledge, skills and principles needed to make an impact on their organizations early in their careers.
The alumni that returned to inspire, one each week, were:
Capping off the series as keynote speaker was Richard Smucker, CEO of his family's company. He spoke about wise and ethical leadership.
In wide-ranging interviews before their presentations, each graduate talked about the value of his or her UA education. From mentors to motivations, from goal setting to overcoming fear, from campus involvement to studying abroad, each shaped an Akron Experience that made them ready for everything that has followed.