Q: What was the main reason you chose to major in psychology rather than following through with a premed/chemistry degree?
A: Psychology provides a good balance and produces a well-rounded candidate for medical school. I chose psychology as my prerequisite for medical school.
Q: What is the single most important decision you made during your undergraduate career?
A: I took an applied business class. It was an open format, senior level class. It exposed me to business and set the stage for realizing my passion for being an entrepreneur.
Q: You were president and treasurer of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity . What other societies or activities were you in or that you recommend to others? What benefits arise from taking part in societies/activities?
A: Volunteering is very important. I was part of the University of Minnesota Health Emergency Response Team to help at various sporting events. Going to class is not enough. You do things that have meaning. I also volunteered in the cancer ward at the U of M hospital. I took part in scheduling surgeries and was involved with the residents there. It was a crazy experience but the hands-on aspect made me feel like I knew as much about the protocol as some of the doctors.
Q: Psychology is considered one of the most versatile degrees to get. Why do you think that is?
A: By getting a psychology degree, you gain a variety of experiences. The CLA provides you with a diverse background and pulls many different components together. With a psychology degree, you learn the following (using the acronym STEPMD): story-telling, teamwork, empathy, play, meaning, and design. Putting different people together, in a different range of classes, allows for cross-pollination.
Q: What personality characteristics are needed to succeed in the business setting?
A: First and foremost, grit. People need to work hard to achieve goals. Also, conscientiousness and motivation are important. I heard that people change jobs an average of 6 times in their lives. Therefore, adapting to changes and being adjustable. Life is not sequential. It is kind of like the game of Frogger. You never know the exact time to cross the road in order to avoid getting squashed so you have to adapt and find the best route.
Q: Owning your own business must be a challenge and it certainly entails communicating with others. Do you feel your psychology background has enabled you to understand people in order to communicate efficiently?
A: Yes, and beyond. We live in a conceptual age now. Creativity is becoming more and more important. For example, a small company called Instagram was bought by Facebook for their creative touch. Finding creative people and communicating this aspect is important.
Q: If you had to go to college all over again, what would you do differently?
A: As I said, life is non-sequential. I could have been a doctor, but I can’t look back. I am a successful business owner now. So, I wouldn’t change anything.
Extra notes: 70% of people work at small businesses. However, at career fairs, all you see are the big name companies like 3M, Target, General Mills, and Cargill. It is difficult for small businesses to find the right people when there aren’t recruitment services available. Plus, with a small business, there is minimal time to go out to recruit individuals. Even more so, it is hard to assess talent and expertise in small business since they don’t have HR departments.
Take-home messages: Bob had a strong interest in grit- persevering and long term goal initiatives coupled with motivation. Also, creativity is important. That is why psychology is such a great degree because people are exposed to such a broad spectrum of ideas and methods. With an engineering degree, you know how to do engineering-related things, but psychology is much broader. You need to find meaning in things. Psychology helps us do that. Overall, psychology has allowed Bob to recognize what he expects when hiring employees in his business.