2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Matthew Kassler, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Isenberg)

Matthew Kassler

University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Isenberg School of Management

“A charismatic, enthusiastic extrovert with a passion for Chipotle and stand-up comedy”

Fun fact about yourself: I was in the movie, Grown Ups, and I was slimed on a Nickelodeon game show.

Hometown: Mansfield, Massachusetts

High School: Mansfield High School

Major: Operations and Information Management

Minor: Information Technology

Favorite Business Course: OIM 420: High Performing Organizations with Prof. Michele Burch

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Extracurricular Activities/Leadership Roles:

  • President of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity
  • Secretary of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity
  • Student Representative for Pi Kappa Phi National Council, which oversees 180 chapters
  • Chairman of Residence Hall Association’s House Council for Honors College dorm
  • Student Assistant at Isenberg’s Chase Career Center
  • Member of Operations & Information Management Club

Community Work:

  • Team Member of UMass Amherst For the Kids, which raises money for Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, MA
  • Volunteer for The Ability Experience, Pi Kappa Phi’s charity that creates experiences that empowers people living with disabilities
  • Captain of Relay for Life team to raise funds for the American Cancer Society
  • Volunteer at Amherst Survival Center

Awards and Honors:

  • Member of UMass Amherst’s Commonwealth Honors College
  • Member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, which recognizes the Top 7.5% of the class
  • Graduate Summa Cum Laude
  • Member of Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society
  • Recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship all four years
  • Dean’s List Honors all semesters

Where have you interned during your college career? (List Companies, Locations and Roles)

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – Risk Assurance Intern – Boston, Massachusetts
  • Ameresco, Inc. – Information Technology (IT) Intern – Framingham, Massachusetts
  • Retty, LLC. – Operations Intern – Hopedale, Massachusetts
  • Brockton Rox Baseball – Sales and Marketing Intern – Brockton, Massachusetts

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working as a Risk Assurance Associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) after graduation.

Who is your favorite professor? Throughout my tenure at Isenberg, I have had so many phenomenal professors. My favorite of them all is Professor Nora Junaid in the Operations and Information Management (OIM) department. I enrolled in Nora’s introductory OIM 210 class my first semester in Isenberg. That semester, in order to satisfy an Honors requirement, I worked with Nora after classes to conduct research on information systems. Specifically, she and I established a meta-analysis that lists studies examining personality factors and technology use determinants. Throughout the class, Nora was my mentor, not only in our research together, but way beyond that. She introduced me to OIM, helped me understand its potential career paths, and inspired me to pursue the major. The best part about sitting in Nora’s class was that she always walked in the room filled with enthusiasm. She was one of the most engaging, helpful, and dedicated professors I had at Isenberg. Without her, I may have never pursued OIM as a major.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? In all of my business classes, I learned a great deal of hard skills. For example, in accounting, I learned how to balance my assets, liabilities, and equities, and, in OIM, I learned how to analyze large sets of information to make data-driven decisions. However, one of the biggest lessons I gained is that the key to being successful in the business world stems further than proficiency in a specific discipline. Successful business people are those that ace the soft skills. Knowing how to be personable, a good listener, and an effective communicator go a long way in business and in life. Likewise, possessing a go-getter attitude, coupled with exceptional work ethic and leadership capabilities, will result in becoming a well-rounded business person. Similarly, establishing meaningful connections with your classmates, professors, and co-workers will also lead to success. Without networking, I would not have received a few of my internship and full-time job offers. Having a strong network allows you to grow personally and professionally, and being versatile with a plethora of soft skills will provide you with endless opportunities.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The advice I would give to a prospective business major is parallel to what I would advise any student in any major: be open minded. Societal norms pressure students to be attached to a subject, stick with it, and stay in the same career for the rest of their lives. Way too many of my peers have found themselves stuck in majors that their parents told them to do and were too nervous to try something new. College is the time to explore all of your opportunities to find your passion. Don’t be afraid if it doesn’t work out exactly how your four-year map said it would. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to students, advisors, and professors to inquire more about different subjects and career paths. I arrived at UMass as an economics major on the pre-law track, only to switch it immediately at Orientation. I then switched it again, and then, one more time. I had four majors in my first two years of college. Try everything you can until you are happy. Invest in your education to get the most out of it.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? After completing classes in OIM, finance, accounting, marketing, and management, it surprised me how intertwined all of the core business disciplines are. When I transferred into the Isenberg School of Management my sophomore year, I had no idea which direction I wanted to follow. However, I realized that choosing one of the five majors is just a starting point. All business majors learn enough about all of the subjects to be able to pursue any of them further professionally. Every major overlaps with one another. There were so many times in my OIM classes where my professor would say, “You may have learned this concept in finance or accounting.” The interconnectivity of all of the majors surprised me the most.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? One thing I would do differently in business school is take advantage of more Isenberg classes in other majors. Specifically, I would have liked to take an investing class and a personal finance class, having recently developed an interest in these topics. I also wish I had gone abroad, not necessarily to study in another country, but to travel on my own time to experience another culture. I am eager to travel post-graduation and post-pandemic.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The achievement of mine that I am most proud of is how well I was able to manage the overall college experience. Although there were times I felt stressed and doubtful, in the end, I was able to effectively balance the demands of being a full-time college student with varied interests. I attained a 4.0 GPA, held multiple executive board positions in my fraternity (including president), obtained four internships, conducted research and worked for Isenberg, and made time to give back to the community.

My ability to juggle multiple responsibilities results primarily from my optimistic outlook on life. My high school senior quote, and one that I value to this day, was, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” (Albert Schweitzer). The fact that I loved what I was doing every step of the way in college is something that I truly cherish. No matter what I was doing or who I was with, I tried to enjoy every moment and make the best out of it.

Which classmate do you most admire? There are many classmates whom I admire, but one who really stands out is Connor Humbert, my roommate, friend, and fellow fraternity brother of mine. When I think of an all-around great guy, I immediately think of Connor. He’s funny, personable, humble, a stellar guitar player, and one of the most genuine people that I know. Connor and I pledged Pi Kappa Phi together my first semester sophomore year, and he and I have been great friends ever since. He has a tremendous work ethic, and I admire his tenacity in his difficult computer science classes. It has been an honor witnessing all that Connor has accomplished, and he and I have memories that will last a lifetime.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my parents, Tammi and Jeff Kassler, the most for my success. As cliché as it may sound, I would not be where I am today without my parents. Throughout my life, they have given me unconditional support, regardless if they agree with my decisions or not. Knowing this has given me the courage to take risks in my life and be more decisive. I know that, if the outcome is not what I expected, instead of saying, “I told you so”, my parents will always be there for me. They are my guidance counselors, my biggest cheerleaders, and undoubtedly, my friends. My parents have given me the resources to be the best version of myself. They have instilled so many important values in me. I have learned more from my parents than I have in any classroom. I owe an enormous, “thank you”, to my parents, the ones who believe in me the most, and the ones who provide me with the tools to achieve anything I set my mind to.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. I dream of one day starting my own company.
  2. I want to go to work every day with a smile on my face, while making a positive impact on the world.

What are your hobbies? I like to work out, watch sports, listen to music, hang out with friends, watch comedy specials, and learn how to cook.

What made Matthew such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Matthew Kassler truly exhibits the qualities of the best & the bright among undergraduate business students, and I am honored to highlight his stellar commitment to scholarship, servant leadership, and hustle.

Beyond the sheer variety and quantity of his contributions as an Isenberg student and campus leader, Matthew exemplifies an individual who embraces the pursuit of knowledge and professional growth so essential to a rich undergraduate education. He consistently contributes to the advancement of learning and professionalism at the Isenberg School of Management by delving into information system research as a Research Assistant, enhancing his Operations & Information Management major with an Information Technology minor, as well as guiding fellow students in navigating opportunities offered through the Chase Career Center as a Student Assistant. These achievements were surprisingly accomplished while maintaining a 4.0 Isenberg GPA.

In compliment to his love of learning, Matthew consistently devotes his creativity and convictions to managing a six-figure budget as President of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and volunteering his time with numerous community service endeavors such as Amherst Survival Center, UMass Residence Hall Association leadership council, fundraising for Baystate Children’s Hospital, and serving as team captain for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

Possibly most remarkable of all is Matthew’s perseverance during the summer 2020 COVID-19 crisis by adapting when PwC decided to adjust his Risk Assurance internship from eight to two weeks. Matthew quickly connected with his professional network, enabling him to join a start-up company offering third-party Amazon and FedEx delivery. As the hub of a small operations team, he spearheaded strategic planning as well as day-to-day operations and logistics, resulting in exponential growth for the business.

With all these accomplishments it would be easy to gloat, yet, in contrast, Matthew consistently leads with modesty and sincerity. Foremost on Matthew’s mind is not accolades, but earnest effort, and I am inspired by the prospect of what the future holds for him and the imprint he will make as a Risk Assurance Associate with PwC after graduation.”

Dave Wells
Assistant Director, Career Development
Isenberg School of Management │ University of Massachusetts Amherst




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