Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

A model student setting the world on fire

A model student setting the world on fire

If a Jesuit education promises a transformative experience, then Quinlan senior Austin Nugent can check that off his list many times over.

As a sophomore, Nugent started Quinlan’s Books Building Business program with the mission of sending business materials to developing nations.

But he didn't stop there: Over winter break, Nugent (along with Quinlan junior Gabriela Wilewska, fellow member of Enactus, which oversees BBB) was granted an experiential learning scholarship for two weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia. He took the BBB project with him.

During visits to the National University of Management in Phnom Penh—which received 1,100 publications from BBB—and the Center for Khmer Studies in Siem Reap, a public library that BBB also supports, Nugent and his colleagues met with administrators and librarians, who expressed their deep gratitude for his efforts.

“It’s good to see that our books are being used and that BBB’s mission is supporting what it should be,” says Nugent, 22, who also visited the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh to learn about the challenges facing Cambodia, taught English at a local school, and spent several days at Banteay Prieb, a Jesuit-run center near the capital that provides vocational training to the disabled.

The trip rounded out Nugent’s tenure as a Quinlan scholar and leader. The Sheboygan, Wis., native, who is triple majoring in finance, economics, and international business, also serves as president of the Loyola Economics Research Club (the economic phenomenon dubbed the Dutch disease is one of his focuses) and as president and founder of the Loyola Soup Kitchen Crew.

Adding to these credentials, last October, his team won first place in the inaugural Quinlan Case Competition, in which 17 teams of undergraduates tackled a real-world business challenge. Then, in November, he received a 2012–13 Loyola President’s Medallion.

“Austin has impressed me and many other people he has met along the way,” says Cliff Shultz, PhD, Charles H. Kellstadt Chair and professor of marketing, who tapped his extensive connections in Southeast Asia to guide the BBB team in their first donation effort. “He is particularly persistent. He and his team just kept going; they kept with it,” he says, despite the challenges they faced in finding a way to ship the books and establishing communication with contacts overseas.

Nugent’s hard work has paid off: After graduating in May, he will start a job at Northern Trust in Chicago, working on a development program in the Credit Services Department.

Taken together, Nugent’s transformative experiences—in the classroom, at soup kitchens in Chicago, and on an 8,000-mile journey to Cambodia—are what a Jesuit education is all about.

“I value the global perspective it provides,” Nugent says. “Quinlan allows students to see, and better understand, the global challenges facing those in the business environment today.”