Phillip Ruppel ’06

How did you decide to attend Rhodes?

I had heard about Rhodes through a family friend, but it was really the visit and the people I met that made me decide to attend. Rhodes has a great academic reputation in the Southeast, and it appeared to be a diamond in the rough when I compared the value of the degree to other schools I was considering. Also, I was attracted by the Economics and Business programs the college offered. Before I came to Rhodes I knew I was interested in those fields of study, and I was glad to see that they had a great program with above average acceptance rates to masters programs.


Do you have any fond memories from any of your Economics or Business classes?

One of my teachers, Professor Mark McMahon, always had this pointer and he would pick out people in the class, forcing them to think on their feet. He was rather opinionated and whether students agreed with him or not, he taught my class to think critically, rationally, and actively engage the subject material no matter what field of study. Some of the best academic debates I have witnessed were in that Economics 101 class. Those experiences really have benefitted me in the workplace. From the education I received at Rhodes, I learned how to approach common problems practically, ask the right questions, logically implement methods to solving these problems, and defend my opinion when needed.


How else do you think your experience at Rhodes affected your current professional and/or personal life?

In my current job at a private equity firm, I help evaluate potential investments in private companies and then subsequently monitor those companies after investing. It is paramount to conduct an accurate assessment of the company, its management, and the investment thesis before making that investment. The well-rounded liberal arts education really taught me to ask the question “why?” and “how can this work?”. Instead of merely accepting everything at face value, my Rhodes education has taught me to evaluate situations on a higher, strategic level. Also, when I went to New York after graduating, I worked at Bear Stearns for a while. There I was thrust into this big city scenario, with very high achieving students.


You must have felt like a little fish in a big pond, jumping from a place like Rhodes to New York. How did you feel?

Although I was intimidated, I quickly learned that I possessed something much more valuable than many of the other graduates I was working with: I had a very fast learning curve due to my undergraduate education and internship experiences. Co-workers in my training classes were just then learning concepts that I had already mastered in accounting and finance courses at Rhodes or implemented first hand in my internships. I found that I was better prepared for my job than many of my co-workers – even those from the “prominent” undergraduate institutions – due to my classes and experiences at Rhodes.


By Charlotte A. Young ’13