When Business graduate Jessica Menchella received the Dean’s Medal Award Thursday for the highest overall average in Brock’s Goodman School of Business, she was following a tradition of academic success first set by her brothers.
Menchella’s brother Jordan also received the prestigious honour when he graduated from the same program in 2014, while their oldest brother, Jonathan, received the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Medal when he graduated from Brock’s Community Health Sciences program in 2011.
Menchella says her relationship with her brothers is less of a sibling rivalry and more of a mentorship that was part of her strong family support system.
“One thing our parents always taught us when we were young is that education is important, but they never put pressure on us to achieve the highest average or anything. They taught us a good work ethic and to just do our best because hard work will always pay off eventually,” she says.
The hard work Menchella has put in over her university career has certainly paid off.
After graduating Thursday with the highest average in the business school, Menchella will be finishing up her part-time role as a customer service representative at TD Canada Trust to start a full-time position at Restaurant Brands International in a new graduate leadership development rotational program.
Menchella says she found her passion for finance after taking required courses in her first and second year.
“I knew after that I wanted to get into finance,” she says, adding that the knowledge she learned in her courses helped her land her job, which included a case analysis as part of the recruitment process.
In addition to her strong support system at home, Menchella attributes her academic success to skills she has focused on developing over time.
“Organization and time management skills were a huge factor because it’s not only just your work ethic but you have to be organized when you have five midterms in a week,” she said.
Menchella’s academic success is perhaps even more impressive when taken together with her dedication to co-curricular activities during her time at Goodman.
Balance is something Menchella believes in, noting that it is a key to success.
Menchella played varsity squash and headed up Brock’s chapter of War Child Canada, a student organization founded by her brother Jonathan when he was a Brock student.
As she reflects on her time at Goodman and those who were influential to her success, Menchella thinks about two professors in particular who were mentors to her.
“I’ve had a lot of great professors at Brock but Geoff Hoover and Mark Julien stand out,” she said, adding that their teaching styles and passion for their fields are notable. “If I could take their classes again, I would.”
SPIRIT OF BROCK AWARDS
Menchella was in good company on the convocation stage where she was recognized alongside Goodman’s two Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock award winners, Matthew Clarke and Leona Yiu.
Clarke was the undergraduate recipient of the prestigious award for embodying the Goodman student experience throughout his accounting co-op degree. He participated in several Goodman student clubs and took on important roles with both the Goodman Accounting Students’ Association and Brock Finance and Investment Group, where he also helped run Investment Challenge for Charity.
Clarke competed in numerous business competitions, and launched a business, Express Deliveries, through BioLinc’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship program, which led to him winning the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at this year’s Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Yiu, who graduated with an MBA degree Thursday, served as VP Marketing and Communications and then President for the Goodman Graduate Business Council (GBC), where she was part of a team that represented more than 600 graduate business students and ran the GBC Buddy Program offering peer support for new and international students.
Yiu represented students on the Goodman Strategic Planning Committee, volunteered as supervisor of the Brock Tax Clinic and collaborated with the MBA Games team to raise $1,700 for charity. She was honoured with the Zonta International Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship, the GBC Executive Initiative Award, the Dean of Graduate Studies Entrance Scholarship and the Goodman Entrance Scholarship throughout her university career.