From a young age, Nicholas Willett has always been interested in processes, people, and building things. For these reasons, he chose UConn’s School of Business program, where he pursued his interests and engaged in various campus clubs and groups – all while working for a San Diego-based startup.
Why did you choose UConn?
I chose UConn for the strength of its business program and its large, welcoming undergraduate community. During the campus tour, I had so many wonderful interactions with current students that made me feel like I belonged. The diversity of the student body also appealed to me, as one of my primary goals for my college experience was to broaden my worldview and learn from others’ life experiences.
What’s your major and why did you choose it?
Coming into UConn, I knew that I was drawn to the intersection of business and technology, but I was unsure of what major best aligned with those interests. After pursuing a wide variety of experiences – from case competitions to research in a psychology lab – I attended a seminar one day where accounting faculty explained the value and versatility of the accounting major. Around the same time, I got a job at UConn’s OPIM Innovate Lab and discovered that the School of Business offered a minor covering the exact concepts I was enjoying learning about and teaching to others. From these experiences, I decided to declare an accounting major and data analytics minor, and I never looked back.
What are your plans after graduation?
Since graduating in December 2021, I have done some traveling abroad while working at a startup. In a few months, I will be moving to New York City and joining Citigroup as a Corporate Banking Analyst.
What activities were you involved with as a student?
I spent my first two years in the Business Connections Learning Community, which was a great way to make lasting friendships. Additionally, I was involved with Beta Alpha Psi, Hillside Ventures, the UConn Investment Banking Society, Outing Club, and the Alternative Breaks Program, among other organizations. My experiences in extracurricular organizations taught me to lead, learn, and problem-solve in new ways. Today, I remain involved as an advisor for Hillside Ventures, where I work to grow the fund and create educational resources for student analysts.
How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?
UConn challenged me to become a better student, citizen, and professional. Through rigorous academics, diverse extracurricular opportunities, and innovative experiential learning resources, I developed a deeper understanding of who I am and the type of impact I want to create.
What’s one thing that surprised you about UConn?
As a freshman, I was surprised by the strength and involvement of UConn’s student body. There are many ways to connect with people, explore your interests, and learn new things. Everyone I met was highly engaged in and passionate about a variety of activities and organizations. UConn was an inspiring and energizing environment in which to live and learn.
Any advice for incoming first-year students?
Carve your own path. Your academic, social, and professional journey may look different from your peers, and that is okay. Follow what fulfills and motivates you, and the rest will work itself out.
What’s one thing every student should do during their time at UConn?
Go to Horsebarn Hill with a telescope on a clear night. The view is unforgettable!
Who was your favorite professor and why?
There were far too many amazing professors to pick just one! With that said, I owe a great deal to Professor Youli Zou, my Honors thesis supervisor. Her patience and mentorship helped me create a thesis I could be proud of.
What’s one thing that will always make you think of UConn?
The energy at UConn basketball games is unlike anything else and is a perfect representation of the strength of the Husky community. I look forward to returning for games whenever I can!