Gerald LeGarde '12
What inspired you to become a global business leadership major?
I was probably like every other kid and started a “lawn care business” in the neighborhood at a young age. I learned some business basics such as how to take responsibility, facilitate growth and manage it all. From there, I created an apparel brand called “GerWear” and I sold clothing. Although I knew that I wanted to study business, I wasn’t sure exactly what my future career would look like. I knew that the global business leadership program would provide me with exposure to different areas and business experiences that would eventually allow me to find my passion.
Why study global business leadership at a liberal arts college?
In our diverse world, it is important to be well rounded. This is something that a liberal arts education provides. I focused my studies at CSB/SJU on global business leadership and I was still able to learn about other areas of interest, such as environmental science.
What makes the global business leadership major at CSB/SJU unique?
The faculty: I developed great relationships with the staff in this department.
The network: There is something about the alumni network and my classmates. We will always have a certain bond. Call up a Johnnie or Bennie anywhere in the world and they will come. Trust me, I’ve done it!
The opportunities: The global business leadership program provides you with the tools to succeed after your time at CSB/SJU is over. The global business leadership major opened my eyes to the rest of the world. Within five years of graduating, I’ve had a number of unique, unforgettable opportunities. My first job was in India. I spent months in Maharashtra, India, working with an Indian textile company thanks to Associate Professor Kingshuk Mukherjee. It was a great introduction to the working world and an even better cultural experience. Next, I landed a job with an online start-up company in Cologne, Germany. I spent a year there growing the business alongside a team of young and talented people from all over the world. I then spent two years in Oakland, California as a product developer at MacPherson’s and a wannabe surfer. As of now, I am sitting in Nanjing, China and have been since August 2016, as a nomad building two start-up companies.
What advice do you have for students considering a major in global business leadership?
You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do after graduation. The global business leadership program will help you get experience and create opportunities. If someone told me as a freshman that within five years of graduation I would have lived and worked in four different countries, I would have said ‘No way!’ Take advantage of the resources that the global business leadership program provides. You never know where you will end up! Get involved with cool programs, such as the Entrepreneur Scholars program and do what you can to differentiate yourself.
What has your experience with the CSB/SJU global business faculty been like?
I think the faculty have been the best part of global business leadership program. Five years after graduation, I still have close contact and a solid relationship with several faculty members, particularly Kingshuk Mukherjee and Paul Marsnik. Kingshuk helped jumpstart my career by landing me an internship in India and is still my career mentor. Paul Marsnik introduced me to China and has been vital in my China adventures. I think I hold the record for taking the most classes taught by Paul Marsnik.
What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?
I consider a challenge to be any situation that I am outside my comfort zone. The global business leadership program got me outside of my comfort zone and I think I’ve been living there ever since. This is where the learning happens! “Embrace ambiguity” are the famous words of Paul Marsnik and he couldn’t be more right.