2021 Best and Brightest Business Majors: Kurt Vogl

This profile was included in the 2021 Best and Brightest Business Majors published by Poets & Quants for Undergrads on March 29.

Kurt Vogl

Rutgers Business School-New Brunswick

Gas attendant turned analyst turned business magnate (still working on part #3).”

Fun fact about yourself: I’m pursuing a pilot’s license and have flown a plane solo!

Hometown: Middlesex, New Jersey

High School: Middlesex High School

Major: Supply Chain Management & Business Analytics and Information Technology (double major)

Favorite Business Course: Foundations of Business Programming

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

VP of Engagement for the Rutgers University Supply Chain Association: Create and deliver presentations discussing best practices in supply chain management, professional development, and academic performance.

Founder & Volunteer at First Serve Middlesex: Established and led a small service organization of 10+ volunteers, which provides mentoring, training, and scholarships to members of the Middlesex High School Boy’s tennis team.

Member of Beta Gamma Sigma: Academic fraternity exclusive to students ranking in the top 10% of their class.

Recipient of the 2019 Roslyn Kuchin Scholarship: Awarded for strong academic performance.

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Ethicon Inc (Johnson & Johnson), Somerville NJ
    • May 2019 – March 2021
    • Global Supply Chain Planning Co-Op
  • Microsoft Corporation, Bellevue WA (virtual)
    • Business Analytics Intern
    • June 2020 – September 2020

Where will you be working after graduation? Microsoft

What company do you admire most?  While I’ve had the opportunity to work with several phenomenal companies as an undergraduate student, I most admire the Microsoft Corporation, where I will be working full-time upon graduation. The firm’s mission is to “democratize technology,” an objective which I consider to be a nexus of aspiration and tangibility. The initiatives that Microsoft has undertaken are ambitious but are never so lofty that one feels their contributions are immaterial. It is incredibly exciting to have a hand in projects that I believe will ultimately change the way we live and work.

Who is your favorite professor?  My favorite professor at Rutgers has been Anthony Taitt, who taught a Supply Chain Finance class that I enrolled in as a junior. Professor Taitt is fair, engaging, and thoroughly committed to the success of his students. He brings a wealth of experience to the classroom, weaves current events into coursework, and encourages students to think critically. It was a pleasure to study under Professor Taitt. I still think in terms of the frameworks he introduced to our class (cash conversion cycle, inventory turnover rate, float, etc.).

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?  My greatest takeaway from business school has been that, above all else, business is a social science.  I do not contest the value of robust technical skills, such as proficiency in Microsoft Excel, coding ability, or an advanced understanding of academic theory. These items have unquestionable utility. In my opinion, they pale in comparison to interpersonal/leadership skills as determinants of busines success. Emotional intelligence is the “x factor” that can parlay an individual’s expertise into a company culture or departmental initiative. It is the bedrock upon which the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? As a high school student, my view of the “job market” was extremely narrow; I was only aware of the professions with which I had a direct relationship. I thought I could become a doctor, a mechanic, or maybe a chef upon graduation. As a business major, I was shocked to learn just how many “jobs” there are. Who supplies doctors with the medical devices needed to perform surgery? Who designs the processes by which a car is built? Who forecasts the demand for the ingredients a chef might use to cook my favorite foods? I learned quickly that wherever there was a need, there was a job! While this was an intimidating realization (as I had finally learned the extent of my own ignorance), it was also incredibly freeing. Nearly every profession exists within the context of a business, and thus with a business degree there are few industries or fields where you cannot find work. The world is truly your oyster!

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Looking back, I have very few regrets surrounding my time in business school. However, I do wish that I were more intentional in the electives that I chose to enroll in. I selected a series of largely unrelated courses, prioritizing schedule over content. This was done to maximize the amount time I had available to intern/co-op. If I could do one thing differently, I would challenge myself to create a “curriculum” out of my electives, garnering experience in a niche field that I am passionate about (real-estate, entrepreneurship, etc.).

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? There are many facets of my life of which I am proud, but my involvement with the Rutgers University Supply Chain Association (RUSCA) is the one from which I derive the greatest satisfaction.  Coming from a small high school, I felt like I had bitten off more than I could chew with Rutgers (whose undergraduate population exceeds 35,000 students). Navigating a large and competitive ecosystem was intimidating; there were many times at which I doubted my ability to find an internship, let alone a job offer post-graduation. Over time, I acclimated to my new environment and have since had the opportunity to work with incredible people at trendsetting companies. As RUSCA’s Vice President of Engagement, I deliver presentations detailing my experience at Rutgers & advise younger students as to how they can succeed in their schoolwork and secure the internships that they are interested in. It’s gratifying to see RUSCA members learn from my successes and mistakes, developing an expertise of their own while tackling bigger and better challenges.

Which classmate do you most admire? I’ve always believed that the truest test of one’s character is the way they treat those from whom they have nothing to gain. By that measure, Silas Stanley (RBS Class of ’20) is superlative. Silas was my “front fill” at Johnson & Johnson, meaning that I would be assuming his responsibilities upon the conclusion of his internship with the company. Knowing that I was a new employee (and first-time intern), Silas went out of his way to be not only a patient coworker but also a great friend. He reached out to me regularly after leaving the company, emphasizing the importance of “betting on myself” – to have the confidence to take initiative. This is an axiom that I try to be live by, and one that I consider to be the paramount component of my more recent successes.  Silas now works for Anheuser-Busch in their prestigious rotational talent program. We remain good friends to this day.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I think that most of my academic and professional success can be attributed to my father’s influence, and so I’d like to sincerely thank him for everything he has done to be a great dad. I have a selfish habit of attributing positive traits to my nature as opposed to my nurture. I may like to think that I am “naturally” hard-working, punctual, or optimistic, but ultimately realize that these attributes are the result of 18-21 years of great parenting. Thanks for everything Dad!

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

1) As an intern/co-op, it has been a privilege to work alongside highly-skilled and established professionals, many of whom made the extra effort to take me under their wing. I grew tremendously during this time, learning not only about the field I plan to work in but also what it means to work hard and take ownership. I value these experiences highly and would not trade them for the world. Later in life, I think it would be incredibly rewarding to take on a similar role for the interns/co-ops that I may work alongside. While I may never be able to pay back those who invested their time and effort into me, I would very much like to pay their kindness forward.

2) Most of the professional work I’ve done to-date has been tactical in nature. I have immersed myself in detail and executed a strategy that was passed down to me by department leadership. A prominent item on my professional bucket list is to earn a position where I am responsible for strategic decision-making. The thought of seeing the “big picture” and planning my company/department’s next move is exhilarating. I can think of no better way to develop the leadership skills whose value I espoused above.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy cooking, hiking, reading, and am pursuing a pilot’s license.

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

“Kurt has been a favorite of mine for years because as high-achieving as he is, he is also very humble. I remember an advising conversation with him early on in his freshman year. He was hoping to find some relevant resume-boosting job for the summer after freshman year, but realized that as a rising sophomore, he didn’t yet have enough experience to be recruited by J&J for an internship. What he said with a shrug was, “Well, no one is too good to pump gas for the summer. It’s a paycheck and it’s good customer service experience for a business major.”  I’ll never forget it. His open-minded outlook was quite refreshing for me.

Kurt went on to double-major in supply chain management and business analytics and information technology, and he remained in good standing in the SAS Honors Program (with a current GPA of 3.968.) He was plenty busy, with the stellar co-op and internship opportunities offered to him after sophomore and junior year, but he never said no to a dean or advisor asking for his participation in things like open house tabling, building tours or advising days for incoming freshmen. He also serves on the SAS Honors Program Student Advisory Board.”

Kerstin Schnatter

Assistant Dean for First Years and SAS Honors Program

Rutgers Business School-New Brunswick

Office of Undergraduate Programs

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