Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Keeping an Opportunity Checklist

Finance scholar gains all he ever wanted—and more—from his college experience.

It all started with a list.

In the Marvin P. Kolodzik Business Scholars Program orientation, finance major Charles Rinehart was asked to write down everything he hoped to get out of his college experience. He'd chosen the University of Cincinnati primarily because of the co-op program, so that was a no-brainer. He also knew he wanted to study abroad, become involved in at least three student organizations—and it might be nice to have a job offer before graduation.

So how has Charles done with his list?

 “I've done all that I hoped to do and more,” he says. “My college experience has been unbelievably great.”

He got involved in the co-op program from the start, completing five co-op quarters as a portfolio management intern with Johnson Investment Council, which has also offered him a job upon graduation. “I knew I wanted to co-op, and I found the perfect fit at Johnson in terms of the people I was working with and the level of responsibility I was given there,” he says.

But, “the total experience here is broader than it is at other [universities],” Charles says.  “The number of opportunities [at UC] is incredible and the fact that you're encouraged and expected to take advantage of all of them is great.” For example, Charles was able to customize his own study abroad experience with the help of the Lindner College of Business International Programs Office. In summer 2009, he spent six weeks studying at the London School of Economics and exploring the city.

Upon returning to Cincinnati, Charles signed up for an entrepreneurship course taught by Tom Dalziel. As part of the course, Charles partnered with students Alex Bey and Neil Black to compete in the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) "Reality Check" Business Plan Competition. Their plan for “Book-a-Bike”—an automated bicycle rental system for college campuses—won first prize out of 110 teams from regional universities.

Charles describes the experience as “very meaningful,” saying, “The amount of feedback and the level of reception that we got from local investment professionals and people in the entrepreneurship field was overwhelming.” During his time at UC, Charles also traveled to the Ohio State University to participate in the Fisher Biz Quiz, a trivia competition sponsored by the Wall Street Journal.

As for getting involved in three student organizations, Charles says now, “There were more than three.” First, he joined professional fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. During his term as president, he led the organization in hosting events such as a visit from Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory and a real estate panel during the height of the subprime mortgage crisis, which provided “a good chance for people to hear both a practitioner's viewpoint and also the academic viewpoint.” Charles has also been a member of the University Funding Board, Beta Theta Pi and the Johnson Investment Council Student Fund, an investment portfolio managed by a group of UC finance students.

Charles is on track to graduate summa cum laude in 2010—another of the goals on his list. Looking back now, Charles believes that he's truly made the most of his college experience. “One thing I wanted to do was be able to look back and say, ‘I took advantage of the opportunities that were in front of me,'” he says, “and I have a lot of really fun memories.”