Name: Zach Wheatley
Degrees: BS Mathematics ’06, MBA/Finance ‘10
Position: Client Services
Industry: Business and Technology Consulting
Why did you choose this industry and field?
Consulting is such a wonderful industry as it has afforded me opportunities I could have never dreamed of. I love the dynamic nature of the work and the ability to continuously learn and improve. Earlier in my career, I was able to travel across the U.S. as well as internationally to such places as London and Singapore. On top of the travel, I have been fortunate to consult for some of the best companies across the Casino, Professional Sports, Music Platform, and Quick Serve Restaurant industries as well as consulting with one of the Big 4. While starting off as a business analyst with no real deep understanding of technology, it has been rewarding growing and appreciating just how much a company’s success is interwoven with its technical capabilities, especially with the advent of Covid-19.
How did you strategize to get your career to where it is today?
Honestly, I have been very fortunate. I have always sought mentors along the way because there is no greater accelerator than experience. I have coupled this with a great network that I’ve built through the years. I can say that every position I have had to date has been through leveraging those relationships. On top of great resources to lean on and learn from, I have stayed hungry and curious. It has been this mindset which has fueled my growth and success to date.
Do you have any career advice for current students entering the industry in this job market?
I am a Panther for life! Not only did I receive my education from Chapman, but also worked in the Athletic Department as the Assistant Basketball/Head Golf Coach and as an adjunct professor in the ASBE. I was able to provide guidance and mentorship to many and it is something that continues to this day. One of the key pieces of advice I would give students is that the first few years post-college can be tough, but that is okay! Learn from it!
For majority of students, the routine of waking up, going to school, completing homework, and studying has been something they have been doing since elementary school. Come graduation, everyone is so excited about their first job…but come to realize within their first year, it wasn’t all they thought it would be. I have personally experienced this, as well as heard it time to time from former students. Take this as a positive and really sit down and recognize what was it about the job that you liked/loved and what was it that could have been better. For me, I quickly realized a static desk job was not for me. I needed something that was lively and involved face to face engagement. That being said: don’t look at the title of the job but focus on what the role will feel like in determining its fit moving forward.
Finally put yourself in a position to say “No” (due to various options in front of you).
Network, network, network! And realize that people are sometimes more willing to do something for you than they would do for themselves, so ask!
How did getting your degree from Chapman set you up for success on your career path?
Chapman has been instrumental in everything I am today. From an education perspective, the level of access I had to my professors was instrumental in my success. I can still remember my one math class of four…there was no hiding! Personally, I made friends for a lifetime and had the best time playing collegiate basketball. From my time working on campus, my integration and passion for the university just continued to strengthen and gave me the confidence that has guided me to where I am today. I highly encourage students to lean in and get involved wherever possible as the rewards can be endless.