UC Clermont

Isaac Gilbert

Down to Business

Isaac Gilbert tapped internship experience to propel him toward his career goals.

Growing up, Isaac Gilbert '17 wanted to be an astrophysicist. But as he inched closer to adulthood, he realized that making decisions — not testing hypotheses — appealed more.

"Business-minded people are the ones who push the needle," Gilbert says.

But Gilbert knew his journey to the boardroom had to start somewhere, and he was ready. So the then-student at Williamsburg High School enrolled at UC Clermont through College Credit Plus, an Ohio program that allows high school students to earn high school and college credit at the same time by taking college courses at community colleges or universities.

Gilbert immediately found a good fit. "UC Clermont has been great to me," he says. "My professors were knowledgeable, and class sizes were small."

After graduating from Williamsburg in 2016, Gilbert chose to enroll at UC Clermont as a full-time student to finish not one, but two associate degrees — one in pre-business, the other in marketing management technology. As he approached his final classes in the summer of 2017, he also knew he needed to gain some real-world experience. "Any employer is going to ask you in a job interview, 'what can you do?' 'What have you done?'" Gilbert says. "Experience is key, especially in the business field."

So last spring, Gilbert approached Monika Royal-Fischer, UC Clermont program director of career development. "Monika had two internship opportunities for me within a week," says Gilbert, who chose to join State Farm Insurance Agent Alison Taylor's office in Mount Carmel, Ohio, in May. During his three months there, he worked first in a marketing role, sifting through analytics and data to pin down the office's target customer for vehicle and bank loans; Gilbert then tried his hand at sales and received commission on top of his base salary.

The internship further solidified Gilbert's career plans, and this fall, he started his first semester at UC's Lindner College of Business. He still spends plenty of time on the UC Clermont campus, working as a tutor in The Learning Center. He's on track to graduate with his bachelor's degree in December 2018. After that, Gilbert says he'd love to work in sourcing funds and raw material resources for a startup along the lines of space exploration and travel initiatives like Space X or Blue Origin.

"A company like SpaceX, while they do draw a profit, are in business largely for curiosity's sake," says Gilbert. "It seems to me that you are more likely to find excited and passionate people in the offices of a company that's literally shooting for the stars."

This story was originally published in fall 2017.