Being a part of East Central University’s Business Scholars Program is a way of giving back for Ryan Jolly.
Jolly, a Stonewall resident who was homeschooled throughout high school, was recently picked for the exclusive program for not only his solid academic achievements, but his ability to show leadership skills in a manner of being an extension of the university’s faculty through the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.
He experienced firsthand why the program is so valued.
“As an incoming freshman at ECU, I had the incredible experience of an older member of the Scholar Leader program taking the time to mentor and share his knowledge with me,” said Jolly. “This made such an impression on me and I was very thankful for the advice that he gave me for school and future career opportunities.”
Because of that experience, Jolly says he is ready to give back.
“The reason that I want to be a Business Scholar is because I want to be able to give back the same knowledge that I received from this student to younger incoming students so that they can be prepared and active throughout school and engaged in their career, as I hope to be,” Jolly said.
Jolly plans on obtaining a master of science in accounting degree and sit for the CPA exam.
“Ultimately, I want to become a CFA and work as a financial analyst in an investment bank,” said Jolly. “Before getting there, however, I would like to gain some professional accounting experience, as I believe that this will be beneficial to my professional career and prepare me for a position as a financial analyst.”
Jolly has been engaged in numerous activities while being a part of ECU’s Business Leaders Association, such as working at Abba’s Table, attending the OSCPA Career Nights, working the ECU Community Thanksgiving Dinner and participating in the homecoming parade.
He currently works as special assets coordinator with the Oklahoma Heritage Bank, after serving as bank teller there.
Jolly is driven by teamwork and a willingness to serve.
“I have a strong sense of teamwork and am continually searching for ways to be of service,” Jolly said. “Because of this, I believe that I have made an impact on a coworker just by being willing to jump in and go the extra mile to do all I could to help our team. By doing so, I believe that I earned this person’s respect and I return that same respect.”
As with many of those picked to be a part of the Business Scholars Program, Jolly points to communication as being a major skill which is in the process of being developed.
“Learning this skill will have an immense effect on my professional life in every way from interviewing for a position while in college, communicating information in a clear and concise manner to my superiors when I have graduated and having the ability to successfully manage a team,” said Jolly.
Jolly believes he hasn’t clearly mastered the skill, but has come a long way in two years.
“I have developed a much clearer picture of how to communicate effectively and I know that it has already had effects in my current job and will definitely impact my future career.”
While being a part of the Business Scholars program, skills are developed in being an event volunteer such as assisting with career fairs, professional trips and student/faculty recruiting activities. Additionally, these students are department hosts or hostesses for professionals who visit the programs and for prospective students visiting campus. They also serve as mentors, providing leadership for the Business Leaders Association (BLA) student organization and working with the younger ECU students in the Freshmen Scholars Program.
Students must have at least a 3.50 grade-point average before entering the program and must maintain at least a 3.25 each semester to remain in the program. They must also be active in BLA by attending meetings and holding positions of responsibility. Besides being on campus for two or more years, the Business Scholars must be able to volunteer for special projects in the School of Business, participate in the Dean’s Leadership Council, be willing to travel during assigned trips and, once they graduate, give back to the program after graduation as Alumni of Business Scholars.