2018 Best & Brightest: Colin Patrick Wood, Penn State (Smeal)

Colin Patrick Wood

Penn State University (Smeal)

Tightening grip on consciousness, absorbing less (more?) puppy memes, avoiding cliché at all costs.”

Fun fact about yourself: I once declined an invitation to the Dalai Lama’s birthday dinner.

Hometown: Doylestown, Pennsylvania

High School: Central Bucks High School South

Major: 1. Economics 2. Supply Chain & Information Systems

Favorite Business Course: Financial Market and Institutions

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Out & Allies in Business


  • Integrity Action Committee

Board Member

  • Delta Sigma Pi

Vice President for Scholarships and Awards

  • Wall Street Boot Camp

Program Graduate

  • KPMG International Case Competition
  • PwC Challenge Case Competition
  • Boulevard (community service organization)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • CURO Wealth Management, Newtown PA, Analyst
  • Goldman Sachs, New York NY, Financial Analyst

Where will you be working after graduation?

  • Accenture, Consulting Analyst

Who is your favorite professor? Anh Le is an Assistant Professor of Finance at Smeal. I took his “Financial Markets and Institutions” course, which is centered on a deep understanding of fixed income, and interest rate and credit risk modeling. He was the most passionate professor I have ever met, making FI markets feel sexier than VC. It was a glorious challenge.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? Smeal has the capability of catering to many different types of business students. For students who want to learn a particular skill and business function, that option is available. For those who wish to explore what it means to be a leader of integrity, there are courses and committees ready for students to become involved with. For those who want to become astute students of the markets, we have a trading room and Bloomberg terminals ready for use. Smeal has allowed me to make a difference in the arena of Diversity, by running the LGBT programs. I feel I have contributed to the future of the college by being involved on the Integrity Action Committee, which acted as a sort of steering committee for the culture of the college. My business fraternity has allowed me to pass my knowledge onto countless underclassmen. Professors and advisors have become friends. If I had to abridge, I would claim that Smeal offers its students a universe of business acumen, skill, and networking that is unparalleled.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Studying business has taught me the importance of having a network, and becoming central to it. Most business careers are people-centric, a characteristic that often overshadows even skill and experience. Keeping an organized network and aptly navigating its nuances has landed me internships, given me the opportunity to meet incredible businesspeople, and most importantly, allowed me to finish projects with efficiency and clarity.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? It really does depend on the particular field. If I must be general, I will give two pieces of advice.

Firstly, begin a network as soon as you can. Do not be intimidated by being the only freshman at an information session or recruiting event. Attend. Collect business cards. Send emails. Have phone calls. Grow your network early.

Secondly, have a story and a genuine intellectual interest outside of business. In an interview, you should be able to tell your ‘story,’ which defines where you began and how you ended up in the very chair across from your interviewer. Make part of that story a genuine intellectual curiosity, not consumed by business. Some of mine have consisted of gaining a better understanding of consciousness, studying the use of Sharia law in Afghanistan and its effect on young women. These curiosities can often lead an entire interview, and show a firm that you care about more than getting a job.

 “If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…sociology. The study of human interaction is not only an impossibility to complete, but changes with events local to global. It is intriguing, important, and the world is better off because sociologists exist to advise on policy.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The most surprising part of this study is that input truly affects output. In high school, it is common to put in effort to get great grades, and to make a difference in an organization. That should get you into the school you want. In college, one should double the effort in both of those areas. After college, one should once again double the effort. In business, effort is noticed and rewarded more than one might expect, especially when you don’t expect the reward.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I was raised by my mother, my grandmother, and my aunt. To them, I was a project. We had recently moved to the suburbs from Philadelphia, and my family wanted me to succeed in a new type of life for the family. I was given endless love and affection and an incredible amount of energy. This desire to make people better was ingrained in my character as a child. Before college started, I had set my hopes on being a neurosurgeon (who hasn’t?), but the prospect of waiting until my mid-thirties to make a difference was a major deterrent. Smeal was difficult to get into, so I figured that I would start there, just in case I wanted to study business. As a freshman I joined a professional business fraternity and began attending information sessions. I learned that business is entirely about making things better. I landed on consulting because of the intense client-relationships that are required for the position, and the problem-solving nature of each and every day. I attribute this to my upbringing by my three female heroes.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?  I am most proud of my involvement with Smeal’s Integrity Action Committee. This was a group of staff, faculty, administrators, and students who led important discussions on the ‘personality’ and culture of business and of our college. It was an opportunity to work with important stakeholders (key alumni and administrators) to shape the future of our college, and I could not be prouder of the work that we completed.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? If there is one lesson that a degree Supply Chain teaches you, it is the importance of being lean. If I were Dean for a day, I would try my hardest to cut away the burdens of bureaucracy and make the college a student-as-people-centric business.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most graduated when I was quite young (I believe I was a freshman). Her name is Kari Lunden – I met her through Delta Sigma Pi. Kari left me with two critical lessons as a young person. Firstly, she taught me that one could be herself and find success. Secondly, that one might find the most meaning in her attempt to understand and wander the world, and that it is okay to admit this to oneself, adjusting course accordingly.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I absolutely must thank my mother for my success. I entered my mother’s life when she was single and nineteen years old. She gave up the best parts of her life to make sure that I would experience love and stability. She did this while attending nursing school, and working twelve-hour night shifts at a hospital as a nursing assistant. I do not know when she slept. I do not know when she took care of her own mind and body. I do not know when she sought love and stability for herself. She gave it all to me and I would be nothing without it.

What would your theme song be? My theme song would be “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra. It is classic, stooped in love, and reeks of adventure.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Visit Iceland. Visit the Amazon.

Favorite book: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Favorite movie: Seven Pounds

Favorite vacation spot: Fire Island, Long Island, NY

What are your hobbies? Skiing, cooking, coffee shops, reading

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

“While I served as the college’s Honor and Integrity Director, Colin also served as a member of Smeal’s Integrity Action Committee for Students, centered on strengthening students’ commitment to integrity and ethical behavior. During his tenure with the committee, he actively participated in the development and delivery of “Integrity Moments,” involving short vignettes and discussion in large classes with 700+ students; he facilitated focus groups centered on students’ perceptions of integrity and ethical behavior at Smeal; he delivered one of the keynotes at our 10-year anniversary celebration for the Smeal Honor Code; and on his own, he developed a proposal for an “Integrity Chair” position for his business fraternity. These are just a few of his efforts within our committee. Colin’s energy and involvement in the honor and integrity program, and his passion for making a difference is invaluable to our college community.”

Jennifer Eury
Instructor of Management and Organization


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