Meet Joe Clark '10
Business Analyst, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
— business administration major
Q. How did you choose Augustana?
A. Coming out of high school I wanted to attend a college that would compete at a very high level athletically and could challenge me with a rigorous academic curriculum. In addition to believing in a vision that former head football Coach Brad Salem had for the program, I knew that after graduating from Augustana I would be prepared for life's challenges.
Life at Augie
Q.Favorite class and why?
A. Business Law. One of the most enjoyable and interesting things about this class was that the tests and quizzes were based on applicable knowledge rather than memorizing a list of definitions. Also, Professor Harris has this unique ability of taking something as complex and dull as Business Law, and keeping students engaged through relatable analogies, real life cases, and a scintillating wit.
Q.Favorite professor and why?
A. That’s tough. I would have to say Professor Harris. Besides the fact that I think he is an amazing educator, he always demonstrated a genuine care towards his students and whatever endeavors they wanted to pursue. I still have two personal emails that I received from Professor Harris over four years ago where he was considerate of a past accomplishments and sent encouraging words for the future. Professor Shelly Gardner, Professor Denis Bolen, and Professor Reynold Nesiba were also three of my favorites.
Q. Best Augie memory?
A. Although there are a lot of great memories I have from Augustana, the one that I will always remember is beating Grand Valley State in the 2nd round of the Division II playoffs in 2010. When you consider the fact that we overcame a 4-7 record my first year, followed by back to back 8-4 seasons where we barely missed the playoffs to defeating a perennial Division II powerhouse on our home field was a magical feeling that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Q.Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana – first job, grad school, travel, etc.?
A. After graduating in 2010, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to continue my football career abroad. I moved to Germany for 8 months, where I competed in the highest German division. After my football career was over, I accepted my first job as a Financial Analyst for IBM. I spent two years working for IBM before moving on to my current role as a Business Analyst for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Q.Tell us about your career – what’s an average day like?
A. A typical day consists of building/refining financial models, working on presentations for my bi-weekly Capital Review meetings, and running the analysis for various capital initiatives. As with most finance or accounting job, the majority of my day spent at my desk working in Microsoft Excel.
Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of your current role?
A. The greatest challenge of my current role fully grasping the complexities of a volatile gaming industry. The greatest rewards from my job has to be working on projects with various departments such as Entertainment, Marketing, and the Casino. Also, the free work perks of attending Championship Boxing events to seeing some of my favorite artist and comedians perform such as Kevin Hart, Iggy Azalea, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, and The Black Keys.
Q. Greatest professional accomplishment thus far?
A. Receiving the Eminence and Excellence award at IBM. This award was given to me for going above and beyond, and maintaining my composure during hectic work periods.
Q. What’s next for you professionally?
A. That’s really tough to answer. It’s so early in my career and I’m still searching for that occupation that feeds my passion. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to network and learn as much as possible at my current job.
Q.If you could offer a prospective or existing Augie student some advice, what would you say?
A. I would suggest three things: 1) make networking a way of life 2) build strong relationships with the people in your network 3) seek out mentors who have already accomplished the thing that you aspire for. I hate to sound like a cliché, but knowing the right people can be a tremendous help and sometimes a necessity to get to where you want in life.
Q.Tell us about your family.
A. I have two loving parents who have been married for 26 years. My dad is the Chair of Research and Administration for Mayo Clinic and my mother works for Community Education in Rochester. My sister, Deleonne (20), is in her sophomore year at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. My brother, Leon Jr. (25), graduated from St. Olaf College in 2012 where he played football for Augustana head coach Jerry Olszewski. He is currently in his third year of medical school at the Mayo Clinic where he intends on becoming a Dermatopathologist.
Q. What’s given you the greatest personal satisfaction since graduating from Augie? And why?
A. The greatest personal satisfaction that I've had since graduating is helping teach and coach high school football at my Alma mater.Watching the kids improve and develop confidence throughout the season, knowing I played a part in their growth, was more gratifying than a lot of my personal accomplishments.
Q. A foundation for life at Augustana begins with our five core values – Christian Faith, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service. How did your time at Augustana help to ensure those values remain central in your life?
A. Augustana does an excellent job at ensuring the faculty, administration, and athletic coaches are people of high character whose values are aligned with Augustana’s. During my four and a half years at Augie, these core values were perceptible whether I was in class or at football practice. We are all creatures of habit and when something is repeatedly instilled in you over multiple years it stays central in your life no matter where you go.