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

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Making College Count Author Offers Advice to UC Freshmen

Monday, December 19, 2016 6:21 PM
Patrick O’Brien tells students to ‘Set Themselves Apart.’
Patrick O'Brien

Patrick O'Brien

Incoming Carl H. Lindner College of Business freshmen were given a question to ponder on August 24 before the start of the new semester school year.

“How great do you want to be?” asked Patrick O’Brien, author of Making College Count: A Real World Look at How to Succeed in and After College. His book was a summer reading assignment for all incoming freshmen.

The best-selling author’s visit was part of a host of “Welcome Day” activities for freshmen that included inspirational speeches, faculty/staff introductions, team-building exercises and a cookout.

O’Brien told students that the start of their UC college career is a rare opportunity in life to begin anew as a blank sheet of paper.

“Everyone has a 4.0 [GPA] and everyone has a choice on how great they want to be,” he told nearly 600 freshmen who attended the day’s event.

He says the key to having career choices is to network, study hard, get involved in student group leadership roles and aim to set themselves apart by “being different and better."

“It’s not enough to be president of an organization; How did you make it different and better?” he asked students as he explained the first-cut criteria of grades and involvement that employers use to sort applicant resumes.

O’Brien used his own life as an example of college success.  As a double finance and accounting major at Miami University, O’Brien held campus leadership roles, tutored economics and interned at a prominent bank. He went on to career success at Procter & Gamble, where at age 22 he worked with colleagues from Yale and Harvard. He says he learned not to be intimidated and took pride in where his Ohio education took him.

He also worked at Union Camp and prior to achieving entrepreneurial success as co-founder of Making It Count, an education company that delivered success presentations to more than 23 million students. Making It Count was acquired by, with O’Brien serving as CEO until the company was acquired by Monster Worldwide ( After the merger, O’Brien served as a division president for Monster – getting a firsthand look at what employers want in candidates they hire.

Through shared experiences, O’Brien told students that UC is among “the best schools for students to go out and get relevant experience because of the university's excellent co-op program.”