Jake Harmon '16


Jake Harmon
Jake Harmon, IBM, Rochester, Minnesota

What inspired you to become a global business leadership major?

As a first year at Saint John's, many majors enticed me. Mainly economics, English, finance and management. I remember changing majors at least three times that year, trying to appease my friends, mentors and professors. After countless conversations with the adults in my life regarding which major I would pursue, I noticed a trend. The conversation would start with them saying, "well economics and finance are always a safe choice, you will be able secure a job if you go that route," which was typically followed by, "but tell me more about global business leadership. I have never heard of that major before, what does it consist of?" This consistent interest around this new major led me to the idea that future employers would share a similar curiosity. Ultimately, those were the conversations I wanted to position myself in. 

Why study global business leadership at a liberal arts college? 

The global business leadership major increases in value as businesses continuously shift towards establishing themselves as international competitors.  Whether your plan is to work for a global corporation, or to start your own business, this program will help you gain understanding and experience related to the environment that you plan to enter after graduation.

What makes the global business leadership major at CSB/SJU unique?

A unique aspect within the global business leadership program at CSB/SJU is the in-depth focus on the study of leadership. Students are given opportunities to research the strategy and characteristics of executive leaders from various corporations. Rather than simply acknowledging these leadership attributes, the curriculum pushes students to imagine themselves in the mind of a business leader and exhibit calculated decisions based on unique and challenging situations.

What advice do you have for students considering a major in global business leadership?

The best advice I can provide is to take advantage of the many opportunities that the global business leadership program offers outside of the classroom. Find an alumni mentor, join Enactus, study abroad, apply for scholarships, apply for internships abroad, go to the career fairs, ask for letters of recommendation and always be networking and asking questions. The more you put into it, the more you will benefit down the road.                        

What has your experience with the CSB/SJU global business faculty been like?  

My experience with the faculty was extraordinary. The professors take pride in learning about their students on a personal level. They genuinely want to see Bennies and Johnnies succeed during college and after graduation. The faculty members are also well connected in many global industries and they often bring in business professionals to give students opportunities to make connections and ask questions. A handful of the professors also schedule class tours with question-and-answer sessions on-site at businesses throughout Minnesota. Overall, the global business leadership faculty puts a lot of time and energy into establishing a strong foundation for students to practice the skills that are critical to their futures as global business leaders.

What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced?  

One of the greatest challenges I faced in college was time management. There is always something going on at CSB/SJU whether it is studies, sports, clubs, jobs, or friends. I am betting/hoping that you will never say, "I am bored" during your four-year stay. One of the biggest challenges in college is trying to find a balance between 'all there is to do' and 'what you love to do.'  I remember feeling 'busy' on a regular basis and then I came across one of my favorite quotes: "There's no such thing as being too busy. If you really want something, you'll make time for it" -Unknown. It is a pretty simple equation, but it is also easy to get wrapped up in all the commotion in college and in life. There will always be days that feel 'busy', but those are also the days when it is most important to prioritize what you want, where you want to be and the associated actions that will get you there. 

Could you please elaborate on your career path? What is your current job and how did you get there? 

I began college with a summer job as a plumber's apprentice and worked a number of different on-campus jobs during the school year. I worked at Brother Willie's Pub, Custodial Services and the Writing Center as a tutor. During my junior year, I had internships with Neverest Outfitters and Duluth Screen Printing Co., two start-ups founded by Johnnie Alumnus Ian Scherber and that summer I had a marketing internship with Capital Safety — a 3M Company in Red Wing, Minnesota. 

I currently work for IBM. I am located at its Finance Center in Rochester, Minnesota. My role is 'Financial Analyst', but more specifically, I work within the Software Expense Group, supporting the Internet of Things & Watson Education business units.