Commerce Council President Jason Kramer (McIntire ’20) found something positive about having classes online and daily videoconferencing. It lets him learn more about his classmates.
He says he feels like you don’t truly know someone until you see where they live. And if nothing else, those little digital windows into people’s surroundings offer a glimpse of their home life and the environment where they grew up—and where many students have suddenly found themselves again.
For Kramer, that meant returning to East Brunswick, NJ. The Accounting and Finance concentrator is back in the home where he grew up around businesspeople and where, from a young age, he first recognized that he wanted to study the subject. But he says it was McIntire’s focus on connections with people that made the difference to him and ultimately attracted him to Grounds.
“Between the extensive group work, emphasis on communication, and community that can be seen in the building, I knew McIntire had something special,” he says. “The School of Commerce focuses on the most valuable resource in the world—people. I was attracted by the open-door policy of the faculty, the student-centered nature of the staff, and how polished the students were. I had a desire to become the best version of myself, but to do so together with the special group of faculty, staff, and type of student body that I met during Days on the Lawn.”
Later this year, Kramer plans to join PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Deals Team as a Financial Due Diligence Associate. In the meantime, he’ll continue to lend his support to both his peers and McIntire students of tomorrow through his online presence on Commerce Council and as a discussion leader for COMM 1800, roles that have provided “two of the most rewarding experiences in my college experience,” he says.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned at the Comm School that is helping you to navigate some aspect of your life during the current situation?
The most applicable lesson I learned at the Comm School stems from the crisis simulation we took part in for third-year ICE [the Integrated Core Experience, McIntire’s hallmark third-year curriculum]. We were given a situation and had to work as a team to formulate the best solution while under immense pressure and with live updates coming in. One of the biggest takeaways was learning how to create a process to adapt and overcome any obstacle that came our way. However, before publishing a company statement and dealing with the outside world, we had to make sure our team was thriving in a resilient way.
The lesson taken from the simulation directly translates to what we are now all facing. I am focusing on making sure I am taking care of myself and my support system first. For me, this has meant keeping a schedule, exercising, and keeping in touch with friends. By having my own process, I am doing what I learned: focusing on my immediate environment first, then facing the outside world with my team.
Outside of your coursework, how are you spending your time these days? What’s keeping you going?
Most of my time is dedicated to the Commerce Council, being a discussion leader for COMM 1800, and spending time with my family. What has kept me going is my love for the teams that I have the honor to be a part of, remembering my support network, and a small ritual I always do at the end of each day.
When I am not working, I am spending time with family playing games or going for walks. Family is everything to me, and there is no better way to get through a crisis than together.
Beyond giving back and spending time with family, at the end of each day, I do this mini ritual that no one really knows about. Growing up, my mom would refuse to let me go to sleep angry or sad. It is her guiding philosophy that no one should go to sleep feeling down, because every day is a fresh opportunity and you can only take advantage of it with a positive mentality. Because of this, every night before I go to sleep, I think of three things I am thankful for that happened on that given day. Every challenge comes with an opportunity to be thankful, so although I cannot change certain facts, shifting my perspective has kept me grounded and moving forward.