Q and A with Patrick Nicholson

Patrick Nicholson presents in conference roomWhy did you choose your major/program? Is it something you have always been interested in?

When I first arrived on campus, I was a little lost and unsure what I wanted to do. It took me until second semester sophomore year to find my place in the food and consumer package goods marketing major. I took a class with Dr. Zondag who showed an incredible passion for this major. He talked about the faculty members’ industry knowledge, the 100% job placement rate, and the high-quality employers who recruit from the program. All this led me to be all in for food marketing. 

What is the most exciting professional or academic experience you’ve had thus far in college?

My major provides me with an incredible amount of opportunities but there are two big ones that were the most exciting. First, I landed my dream internship with E. & J. Gallo Winery. The amount of dedication they pour into their internship program is what drew me to it. I know I will walk away from the internship with skills that will advance me in the industry. Second was winning the 2020 National Grocers Association Case Competition with other food marketing students. This is the most prestigious competition for our field of study, and we put a lot of dedication and hours into crafting a winning presentation. 

What are you involved in on or off campus?

I am currently involved in the Food Marketing Association where I sit as the director of social events. FMA has become a huge passion of mine; I have met amazing friends through it, and it has provided me with a large number of networking opportunities. It also has allowed me to gain leadership experience that I am able to talk about when interviewing. 

How is the Haworth College of Business helping prepare you to reach your academic and professional goals?

The Haworth College of Business provides you with all the tools you need to succeed. Mentors who support and inspire you along your academic career, classes that provide you with a true understanding of what life after college is like, and faculty who care deeply about your success. The college has always empowered me as a student; I have never felt like just a number.

Do you have a specific class or professor who made an impact for you? If so, please explain.

Patrick Nicholson in hallwaySo far, all the food marketing professors have made an impact on me in different ways. Dr. Zondag helped me get my foot in the door in the program. Dr. Gambino saw value in me and allowed me to have some incredible opportunities. Dr. Veeck has been someone who has motivated me every step of the way. Professor Samples has taught me to become more comfortable with public speaking by consistently pushing me past my comfort zone because he believes I can handle it. They are truly some of the greatest people and mentors I have ever had in my life. They see the value in every student and take pride in seeing our success not only while on campus but in our careers. 

Also, our professors know college can be an emotionally draining experience, and they understand we have a lot going on outside of our classes. All the professors are willing to sit and listen to you speak openly about your struggles mentally and physically. They do a terrific job of identifying, understanding and responding to signs of mental illness, and they have referred many students to needed resources.

What is your advice to fellow students who are looking to get the most out of their college experience?

Be involved. The best thing a student can do is join a student organization, whether it is within your major or not. Student organizations provide you with the opportunity to network with peers, faculty and employers. The connections you make can open a lot of doors down the road. I began getting involved sophomore year with the Food Marketing Association, and because of that, I have been given a large number of opportunities, from the Private Label Manufacturers Conference, Food Marketing Conference, NGA Case Competition, scholarships, leadership retreat and job opportunities. 

What are your plans for the future?

Right now I am looking toward my short-term goals to help me reach my long-term ones. I look forward to my internship this summer with E. & J. Gallo Winery and gaining industry experience. I will continue to be involved as much as possible with the food marketing association, and I plan on creating stronger relationships with my professors. I believe that these goals will set me up for success after I leave campus. Food and consumer package goods marketing creates future industry leaders, and I am beyond excited to become one soon.