2017 Best & Brightest: John Larson, Lehigh University

John Larson

Lehigh University

“I am a travel enthusiast and a jack of many trades (from backpacking to beat-boxing).”

Fun fact about yourself: I’m in an a cappella group at Lehigh that has released an album on iTunes/Spotify, filmed a music video, and performed in the Kimmel Center!

Hometown: Lebanon, Ohio

High School: Lebanon High School

Major: Supply Chain Management & Marketing

Minor: Philosophy

Favorite Business Courses:

1. Supply, Cost, and Risk Management; 2. Negotiations; 3. Global Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Lehigh Melismatics A cappella Group (4 years) – Business Manager 2015-2016
  • Lehigh University Choir (3 years) – Tour Manager 2016-2017
  • University Tour Guide (3 years) – Coordinator 2016-2017
  • Orientation Leader (1 year) – 2016-2017
  • Recipient of Lehigh’s Tauck Scholarship – 2016
  • Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honors Society
  • Lambda Mu Sigma Marketing Honors Society

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Ascena Retail Group, In (Summer 2015) – Global Transportation Intern – Columbus, OH
  • Professor Robert Trent (Fall 2015) – Supply Chain/Market Research Analyst – Bethlehem, PA
  • ArtsQuest (Spring 2016) – Marketing/ Community Engagement Intern – Bethlehem, PA Shanghai CSC Textile Co. Ltd. (Summer 2016) – Supply Chain Intern – Shanghai, China

Describe your dream Job: I hope to one day manage a large non-profit organization that works to improve people’s lives. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with several organizations like this in the past, and I want nothing more than to wake up every day knowing I am making a difference.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor in Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics is Professor James Maskulka in the Marketing Department. Professor Maskulka not only taught my Global Marketing course, but also serves as my academic advisor in the business school. Over the last several years, he has been a source of guidance and motivation in my academic and professional growth. He recognizes the growth of globalization and understands the importance of international travel and learning in an increasingly interconnected global society. His lectures were filled with stories of his experiences abroad, and I hope to keep in contact after I graduate so as to share my own exploits.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I have really enjoyed seeing how the skills that I learned studying business can be applied to almost everything. The courses I took were wide-ranging and challenging, and this honed both my critical thinking process and problem-solving abilities. Now, with only a few months remaining in my Lehigh career, I feel well-equipped to go out into the world not just to work, but to serve as a leader in the challenges ahead.

Where would you like to work after graduation? After accepting an offer from IBM this fall, I am excited to begin my career in their Consulting By Degrees program in Chicago, IL after graduation.

What are your long-term professional goals? I hope to learn as much as possible in the coming years to equip myself with the management skills necessary to successfully guide an organization. In the distant future, I hope to start my own non-profit organization that partners with people and businesses across the globe to bring solutions to people in need.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Do not choose a major based solely on the expected financial payoff. Choose what you are actually interested in, work tirelessly to understand and know it intimately, and make yourself indispensable by being the best at something you actually enjoy.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…at 13 years old, I started a business selling manure (that I had to shovel) as fertilizer to people in my hometown. I knew that if I could sell that, of all things, I would be good at supplying people with the countless other things they needed too!”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…studying History and International Relations with the hopes of making a career out of traveling the world.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…that it is never too early to try to take advantage of every developmental opportunity available. In fact, the earlier you start, the better!”

What was the happiest moment of your life? Just before the start of the summer before my senior year of high school, I learned that my dad had received a grant that would enable him to take an entire summer off. As soon as he was notified, I knew that we were going to fill that summer with some unforgettable adventures. More importantly, it meant that my entire family would be together for one of the last summers that I would spend at home.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being chosen to receive Lehigh’s Tauck Scholarship. The application and selection process was very competitive, with only the top students in Lehigh’s College of Business and Economics being awarded $10,000 to pursue an international internship experience of their choosing. I used my funding to spend two months working in Shanghai, China. This experience shaped me in so many ways, both personally and professionally, and it was incredibly rewarding to see that all of my hard work had paid off.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would choose a horse as the symbol of my professional brand. I grew up riding horses, and I have come to know them as remarkably strong, noble, smart, and loyal creatures. I think these are some of the greatest traits a brand can have, and I strive to embody those same traits.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would thank my grandfather for making my success possible. As the oldest of 11 children, he paid for his own education after serving in the military, and he has set an example of hard work and dedication for me to follow. He recognized the importance of education, enabled me to attend a costly private school like Lehigh, and encouraged me throughout my college career to show my gratitude by doing well. I frequently wonder where I would be now if not for his motivation and generosity.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would want people to talk about how I succeeded by doing my very best work instead of getting lost in the competition. Furthermore, I would hope that people knew I was intensely passionate about the things I was involved in, and that I genuinely cared about the people I worked with.

Favorite book: The Hobbit

Favorite movie: It’s A Wonderful Life

Favorite musical performer: City and Colour

Favorite vacation spot: The British Virgin Islands

What are your hobbies? I spend close to 12 hours a week singing in various music groups at Lehigh. I have always loved music, and I am so grateful to have been able to pursue this hobby so passionately while still working towards my business degree at Lehigh. When I’m not singing or studying at Lehigh, I try to fill my time with traveling, hiking, or visiting my friends.

What made John such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“John Larson is the kind of student who makes teaching at Lehigh such an enjoyable experience. His enthusiasm for learning and taking advantage of the many opportunities that Lehigh has to offer is amazing. He is pursuing a double major in marketing and supply chain management as well as a minor in the liberal arts. John has also participated in an international program as well as some interesting extra-curricular activities. Lehigh and John are a perfect match!”

Robert J. Trent, Ph.D.
Professor of Management
Lehigh University


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.