2018 Best & Brightest: Michael John Poorten, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Michael John Poorten

Georgetown University (McDonough)

“I’m a Renaissance man full of surprises and loaded with dad-jokes.”

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a member of a mafia. The #BillsMafia.

Hometown: Sycamore, IL

High School: Sycamore High School

Major: International Political Economy and Business & Operations and Information Management

Minor: Spanish

Favorite Business Course: International Business

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: McDonough School of Business Peer Ambassador, Georgetown Collegiate Investors, Georgetown University Knights of Columbus (Chief Financial Officer), Georgetown Juggling Club, Special Olympics Fundraising, Crossroads Retreat Leader, Three Semesters Dean’s List, Two Semesters Second Honors, One Semester First Honors, Intramural Co-ed Flag Football Champion

Where have you interned during your college career?

YouthWorks, Brooklyn, NY, Service Coordinator

Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Washington, DC, Program Assistant

TIAA, New York, NY, Corporate Strategy and Development Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? TIAA, Corporate Strategy and Development Analyst

Who is your favorite professor? Alexandra (Sandra) Martín was my professor for Advanced Spanish for Business and she is hands down one of the most optimistic and energetic people I’ve met. I was excited for every class, not only because it was a topic I love but also because Sandra engaged me for every second of the full 75 minutes. She made even the most tedious of assignments enjoyable with her chipper attitude and positive energy.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? That would have to be the people. A fancy building and the newest textbooks are great and all, but what differentiates our school from the rest are the people. I’ve been blessed to have brilliant professors and deans that care for me both in the classroom and out.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Studying business has highlighted to me the importance of fostering good relationships and their criticality to a successful career. There’s plenty of technical skills required to propel you to success early in a business career, but if you cannot work well with people then your success will quickly dwindle. That is why I have always sought to engage with as many different people as possible, and I think that has helped me become a more friendly and personable person.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” ~Zig Ziglar” ~Michael John Poorten. If you see yourself being someone others can trust, then perhaps business is right for you.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…engineering. I love to innovate and build physical solutions to problems. When I was in high school, I enjoyed all math and science subjects and was good at them. I thought engineering would be the practical next step. I often wonder how distinct my path would have been if I had pursued that career, but when you’re as happy as I am with what I have now you cannot have any regrets.”

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of receiving my Spanish Diploma Level C1 from the Instituto Cervantes, which I earned from passing a series of Spanish exams during my studies in Madrid, Spain. I had been working on my Spanish for seven years and it was something I had invested much time into and had become passionate about, so finally receiving tangible recognition that my work paid off was rewarding.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire my classmate Chas Newman. We have worked on a number of international business and strategy projects together and I’ve always been inspired by his work ethic. He produces quality work in the classroom, carries engaging and rich conversation, always seems to know exactly what he wants to say, and is driven outside the classroom. Not only does he keep busy with his on-campus business consulting group and political activist groups, but he also started his own business as an undergrad. Chas is someone I try to emulate in many ways.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? That would have to be my parents. One can never take for granted a good upbringing, and I was fortunate to have parents who raised me to be the well-rounded man I am today. They’ve shaped me into who I am since I was young and still offer me points of advice and wisdom when I come to them today.

What would your theme song be? Gonna Fly Now” (Theme from Rocky) because I’m always training to be better and stronger at everything I do.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Run with the bulls during the Sanfermines festivals in Pamplona, Spain and have a conversation with Shakira in Spanish.

Favorite book: Life of Pi

Favorite movie: Saving Private Ryan

Favorite vacation spot: Turks and Caicos

What are your hobbies? Football, Basketball, Juggling, Cryptocurrency Trading, Card Games, Reading

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

“Michael is an exceptional student leader and embodies the Jesuit values of “men and women for others.” Michael has been a McDonough peer ambassador for the last three years.  He brings a caring and supportive approach to his work as a peer mentor, welcoming new students to campus, helping them to acclimate to the hilltop and making sure they know they have a friend on campus.  I have been proud to call Michael a Peer Ambassador and will miss his contributions to the program when he graduates.

Additionally, Michael impresses me with his openness to new and non-traditional paths. After his first year, Michael studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador and then in the fall of his junior year in Madrid, Spain. Studying abroad is something that Michael expressed his desire to pursue, in an effort to further develop his global perspective. He was looking for an opportunity to improve his Spanish language skills and really integrate himself into the culture. I was impressed with his wish to take a less traditional route than many of his peers, taking all his courses in Spanish (at both locations) to enhance this skillset. I know that this experience really had a lasting impression on Michael. These experience enhanced his cross-cultural skills and broadened his global viewpoint of business practices.

McDonough has been lucky to have a student like Michael Poorten as a member of the Class of 2018!  I know he will be successful in all he does and look forward to seeing great things from him in the future.”

Deborah Coburn
Senior Assistant Dean and Director of Advising,
Georgetown McDonough Undergraduate Program



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