Former Nordic skier grooms fresh trail to graduate school
Here’s a basic tip for even the most accomplished skier—stay on the trail! But what if you encounter an unexpected turn, or worse yet, the trail’s end? For Cory Rouw, a former member of the UW-Green Bay Nordic ski team, his decision was simple—never stop moving.
A St. Cloud, Minnesota native, Rouw (’21, Master’s of Management) came to Green Bay as a member of the Nordic Ski Team and had earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in International Business—but still had a year remaining on his scholarship. He decided to continue on a fresh path in graduate school.
“I had my bachelor’s, but felt like there was still more to learn and I really loved the University.” The Master of Science in Management program was a perfect fit, especially since Rouw had decided not to pursue a career in psychology. What he had enjoyed most were his business classes. And this was a graduate business program that did not require an undergraduate business degree. “It was an easy way to transition into a graduate business program that made the most of the degree I had.”
The professors also made the most of Rouw’s talents, employing him as a graduate teaching assistant for the undergraduate classes, while allowing him to resharpen his business chops and test-drive teaching.
“I assisted in macro-economic and accounting classes which was a great way to peek behind the curtains of the academic side of business.”
Rouw even tried his hand at lecturing. The result? He decided to stick to the business side of business, but still appreciated the experience. “It was really interesting, and I gained skills that I can use in the future.”
In high school and college, his focus had always been divided between skiing and academics. Graduate school was all-academic, all the time. “I think as an undergrad, I could pick things with decent enough grades, but when I got to grad school, I finally felt like I was in something that really mattered.”
Maybe for the first time in a long time, the focus wasn’t all about his athletic ability, but building relationships.
“I made good personal touchpoints with my professors and that made a big difference,” he said. Those connections manifested themselves in surprising ways—including re-learning how to study, write research papers and as Rouw puts it, “do all the basic important things that I was maybe able to skim over earlier.”
In the end, he thinks his graduate degree will be worth far more than an impressive addition to his resume or LinkedIn profile. “I think grad school helped me become a more well-rounded person.”
But the real final test is in the job market, and so far, so good—having recently been hired as an operations coordinator for CH Robinson, a Fortune 500 provider of multimodal transportation services and third-party logistics. Rouw says adding a graduate degree to his credentials certainly didn’t hurt.
“I think it probably gave me a leg-up during interviews and helped me stand out.” He also admits that while never aspiring to a career in worldwide logistics, he’s happy to be heading in a fresh direction.
“At this point in my life, I’m a blank slate, happy to just get started somewhere and learn everything I can.”
And that’s never a bad place to be anywhere along life’s path.