Three Majors, World Travel, Research Highlight Senior Andrew Carroll’s UConn Years
When he enrolled at UConn four years ago, Andrew Carroll ’17 didn’t know exactly what the future would offer, but he was determined to get the most out of his college experience.
When he graduates in May, he will have completed a triple major—in economics, psychology and management—and his resume will include a semester of education abroad and additional world travel that gave him a new, bolder perspective.
Through several research internships and the guidance of faculty, he has focused his career goals on improving workplace satisfaction and employee well-being.
And while excelling academically, he managed to maintain a robust social life, helping to create a fraternity chapter on campus and later serve as its president.
“My experience at UConn far exceeded my expectation,” he said. “Some people think the University is so large that they are not going to have opportunities. I found my niche.”
“The best advice I could offer any student is to find something you are interested in, truly inspired by and something in the world you want to question and challenge,” he said.
“Then find a professor with the same beliefs and work with him or her to expose yourself to the world of research and answering questions that you want answered.”
Commitment, Passion Lead to Success
Carroll credits his parents, Joe and Elyse, with instilling in him a sense that opportunities shouldn’t be wasted.
“My parents always wanted me to grow up having even more opportunities than they did,” Carroll said. His father learned electrician skills in the U.S. Air Force and is now a regional operations manager; his mother attended a small college and currently works as the pulmonary rehabilitation manager at the Hospital for Special Care. Nothing was handed to them.
“They always made me aware that the right commitment, coupled with passion, could lead to success,” he said.
Carroll, who grew up in Cheshire, Conn., said his parents never forced him to pursue something that wasn’t of interest to him. Instead they encouraged his interests, offering guidance, but never with a heavy hand.
““If I went through college missing chances… I would have regrets,” he said. Carroll said at UConn he learned to take risks, apply to programs that seemed like a long-shot and to “just go for it.
Despite his many accomplishments, including participating in the honors program, Carroll is very humble, noted management professor and honors adviser Greg Reilly.
“Andrew combines high ambition with an easy-going affect,” Reilly said. “I wouldn’t have guessed that the friendly, laid-back guy I first met in my office was working to combine a high-profile consulting job with honors thesis work, while still finding the time to be an ambassador for the management department.”
Career Goal: Enhancing the Workplace
Carroll’s academic interests grew with every passing semester. Originally pursuing degrees in economics and psychology, he said his pursuit of a management degree came later, when he realized that discoveries he was making offered many practical applications to the business world.
He has accepted a full-time job with McLagan, a Stamford, Conn.-based consulting and benchmarking firm for the financial services industry, upon graduation. It will allow him to pursue his goal of applying research with consulting to enhance the workplace and maximize employees’ abilities to succeed.
“My ultimate goal is to make people feel they can add value to a company, get something back for themselves and be happy and productive,” he said.
Carroll, who never had a semester in which he took fewer than 18 credits, and also enrolled in summer courses, said eventually he may pursue an MBA or possibly a Ph.D.
From Infant Health to Corporate Turnover
During his sophomore year, Carroll began conducting health economics research, investigating how the availability of universal healthcare was impacting prenatal and infant health in Massachusetts. He was able to present his findings at a conference in New Zealand that summer at the University of Auckland.
More recently, he has explored organizational design with UConn psychology professor Robert Henning. They discovered that most correctional officers are in good physical shape when they begin their jobs, but after five years the stress seems to take a toll and many become overweight. They also explored how prison guards can rebound more quickly after an inmate attack. Sharing that information would be a benefit to all workers in the field, Carroll said.
He has also worked for a consulting firm studying compensation and relocation packages and salary benchmarks for some of the world’s largest companies. His management thesis next semester will address factors that influence corporate turnover.
Travel Offered View of World Issues
Travel was key part of Carroll’s educational experience. He spent a semester in Paderno Del Grappa, Italy, and has travelled to New Zealand, Paris and China, either to study, attend a conference, or for leisure.
But during his travels, Carroll doesn’t just take classes. He has enrolled in local cooking and wine-tasting classes, tried meditation and played soccer with Italian students during his trips.
In November 2015, he participated in COP 21, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. “I learned that there are parts of the world so impacted by environmental changes,” he said. “I met people from small nations who really fear their entire nation will be destroyed. I realized we can’t take our natural resources for granted.”
“Seeing people from so many cultures come together and tackle one issue was empowering,” he said. “You realize how much you and your friends could accomplish on a local level.”
Despite all his academic and travel achievements, Carroll has also found time to serve as president of the UConn chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu, a newer fraternity on campus that he helped to establish.
“The idea that fraternities just exist for parties is a misconception. It’s an opportunity to join like-minded ideals and values in a common place,” he said. “As president, I commanded a $15,000 budget, which was like running a small company. It gave me a lot more of an applied sense of how to run a business, from a practical perspective. It’s something I can adapt to the workplace.”
Carroll grew up a Husky fan and has enjoyed watching and attending games in college. “I really appreciate all those moments, but the one highlight was during my freshman year when the two basketball teams won consecutive championships—and the next day was my birthday,” he said. “The sports here give us unity, a sense of pride.”
When he leaves UConn, he will take with him the viewpoint of one of his favorite mentors, management professor Rich Dino. “He taught us that innovation is essential in your field. You don’t have to own your own business to be an entrepreneur or to innovate,” he said. “If you’re impassioned, you will certainly be more successful.”