When opportunity knocks: Desire to make a difference drives business graduate’s career

Rachel Jackson
Published date

As a business student, Rachel Jackson ’18 came to love the small-campus advantages offered at SUNY Morrisville.

She never dreamed that her education would land her on one of the biggest campuses in the world — NBC Universal in New York City.

Jackson worked as a campus programs coordinator with advertising sales recruiters for the CNBC network and the popular NBC late-night talk shows, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Considered the “backbone of the team,” the campus program coordinators also served as points of contact for the nearly 200 NBC interns while handling the onboarding process, executing recruitment initiatives and internal events. After completing her bachelor’s degree in business administration, Jackson fulfilled the contract role between April and August 2019.

“I grew up in Stockbridge, New York (a small rural hamlet in Madison County), so it was a completely different type of life,” Jackson said. “It’s one of the biggest companies in the world, and there are so many people that you look up to in the field, so it was just incredible.”

Jackson discovered Morrisville through her sister, who studied nursing, and decided to pursue applied psychology at the college. The decision came with an “incredible” scholarship offer that helped seal the deal.

She realized in her sophomore year that she had greater interest in business. “After that, everything fell into place; that was for me,” she said.

She immediately formed a bond with Morrisville’s business professors, who challenged her through their own real-world experiences in their teaching methods and final projects. 

“That’s the type of relationship that’s really important to me because I’m always trying to learn from people and their experiences,” Jackson said.

One professor in particular helped shape her future.

“Every time somebody asks who impacted me the most in human resources, I tell them it was (professor of business & entrepreneurship) Al Muss,” Jackson said. Muss served as a human resources manager for 10 years prior to teaching, bringing to the classroom real-life scenarios similar to those unfolding in Jackson’s current career.

For Muss, one of the best parts of teaching comes from watching students grow.

“Rachel’s success comes from her curiosity about the world and her desire to make a difference,” Muss said. “What I see in Rachel is a genuine concern for people, combined with positive energy and business savvy. Over her time here, she really grew, took chances on herself, and it paid off.”

That was evidenced after her junior year, when she sought out an internship with global manufacturing company Terex Corporation in Westport, Connecticut, during the summer of 2018. With her passion for HR evident right away, Terex offered her a part-time co-op campus recruitment position, allowing her to work remotely as she completed her final semester.

I grew up in Stockbridge, New York, so it was a completely different type of life.

Rachel Jackson

Terex remained in touch with Jackson after her graduation as she pursued the opportunity with NBC. The connection helped land her current position as a human resources generalist — a role she looks forward to every day.

“I want to be an expert in my field and help recreate HR,” she said. “Sometimes it has a negative outlook, but we are here to help you. At the end of the day, I just really want to help people.”

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