2018 Best & Brightest: Brian Zuelch, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Isenberg)

Brian Zuelch

University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Isenberg)

I consider myself an intuitive person who wants to be continuously experiencing and learning something new.”

Fun fact about yourself: I became an ordained minister over the internet. 

Hometown: Merrick, NY

High School: Wellington C. Mepham High School

Major: Operations and Information Management

Minor: None

Favorite Business Course: High Performance Organizations

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: President of Isenberg Citizens First Initiative; Isenberg Senior Gift Committee; Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity; Teaching Assistant for Freshman Transition Business Seminar; Open House Student Speaker; Business Leadership Awards Student Ambassador.

Where have you interned during your college career?

Freshman Year: ReCeil It International Inc., Operations Management Intern, Bellmore, NY
Sophomore Year: Isenberg Citizens First South Africa International Service Internship, Co-Coordinator/Operations Intern, Amherst, MA/Hoedspruit, South Africa
Junior Year: Macy’s, Store Management Intern, Massapequa Park, NY

Where will you be working after graduation? I am currently interviewing for full-time jobs after graduation. 

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Professor Traci Hess in the Operations and Information Management Department. She has a very impressive background and is a very genuine educator. You can tell that she cares about her students’ well-being and goes out of her way to make sure her students are learning and getting the most out of her classes. 

What did you enjoy most about your business school? I enjoy that there are so many opportunities to learn and gain valuable professional and networking skills but nothing is spoon fed to you. Everyone is put in an opportune starting place but it is up to you to utilize everything available to you to your advantage.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I gained was how to market myself effectively. You learn valuable skills in the classroom, but having the ability to apply these skills and show your value to employers and tie together the technical and leadership skillset is something that sets you apart.      

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would suggest to take full advantage of every opportunity within your school in and outside of the classroom.  Whatever major you pick will affect what path you take right away, but being able to give yourself a well-rounded education catered to your interests is something that is up to you.  Getting out of your comfort zone, going to guest lectures, and engaging in events in your community will bring so much more value to your degree.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying… either English or Art History.  I love the arts and literature and I have always made it a point to see plays and visit art galleries within my community because I think that appreciating the arts is a big part of being an informed member of society.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was surprised by the drive of the people around me.  There are so many people from different backgrounds who want to use a business degree for so many different things. That diversification definitely exposed me to new ideas of how I wanted to personalize my education for my career after graduation.     

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I would definitely say my uncle has influenced my decision to study business the most. He helped me pinpoint how I can apply my skills and interests professionally and has given me insight on different opportunities that an education in business would open and how it will benefit me no matter where my career leads me.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my service leadership internship in South Africa. Applying what I’ve learned in the classroom – and from my past experiences in teaching leadership and computer literacy seminars in an international conversationalist setting – has had a profound impact on the trajectory of my career.

Which classmate do you most admire? It’s hard to pinpoint a single person because I’ve definitely encountered many people in my classes whose background and context have taught me different ways to think about problems we encounter and what questions to ask to best understand a way forward.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would want to thank my parents for supporting me and providing me with the opportunities that I have encountered and the confidence to pursue them. I would also want to thank Christina Monte, the Director of Enrollment Management and Student Success in the Isenberg School, for acting as a mentor and professional role model throughout my undergraduate career.        

What would your theme song be? “Horchata” by Vampire Weekend because that song reminds me of summer and makes me smile and my theme song would need to be a song that makes me smile.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?
1. Skydiving in Dubai
2. Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland 

Favorite book: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Favorite movie: Good Will Hunting

Favorite vacation spot: Southern California  

What are your hobbies? Going to the beach, watching movies and volunteering at my local animal shelter

What made Brian such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Brian Zuelch is an ambitious, analytical and conscientious person who is committed to using his business knowledge to make a positive difference in others’ lives. I first came to know Brian in 2015, when he participated in a faculty led international program, which I co-led, called Ubuntu Business in South Africa. During the semester long course and 21-day program to South Africa, I had the pleasure of getting to know Brian well. The program included many activities, such as business visits and tours around the country. However, the few short service projects we completed were among the most meaningful experiences for Brian. In response to Brian and other students’ requests for more service opportunities, I created an all service international internship to South Africa. Brian worked as my assistant in the creation of the program and assumed a leadership role during our time abroad. Based on my experience working with Brian, I can confidently attest to his integrity, compassionate character and consistent commitment to quality work.

In creating the international internship program, Brian worked with me to consult with the Timbavati Foundation in the Kruger Park region. One long-term goal of this partnership is to establish a computer lab in every one of the thirty high schools served by the foundation and to train the teachers and students computer literacy. Prior to the programs departure, Brian met weekly with the other student travelers to create lesson plans and strategize ways to recruit donated laptops from the UMass and surrounding communities. In South Africa, Brian was an invaluable member of the group, where he demonstrated leadership skills and the ability to adjust and solve problems when unexpected challenges arose.

In the past year, I have worked closely with Brian in his role as President of the Isenberg Citizens First organization at the Isenberg School of Management. Based on the premise that community matters and character counts, members of ICF participate in a number of school-wide service programs and use their business skills to make a positive impact in society. Brian leads hundreds of students in the ICF organization. With his unique blend of business skills and passion for service, Brian is an invaluable member of any team!”

Christina R. Monte, Ph.D.
Director of Enrollment Management and Student Success
Isenberg School of Management
UMass Amherst



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