Kwok named spring 2018 Penn State Smeal student marshal

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Caleb Kwok was a sophomore, he wanted to start mapping out how a degree in finance could shape his future in consulting.

When he met with his first finance professor, Instructor of Finance Greg Pierce, Kwok shared that his dream company, McKinsey & Company, didn’t recruit at Penn State.

“He told me, bluntly, to go do something about it,” Kwok recalled. “I took his advice and now everything’s come full circle.”

That first conversation was the catalyst for Kwok and Pierce leading the Penn State Smeal College of Business commencement procession during the Baccalaureate and Associate Degree Ceremony on Sunday, May 6, at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Smeal has named Kwok — who will graduate Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA in finance — as the student marshal for spring 2018. Kwok selected Pierce as his faculty escort.

“Professor Pierce as the first finance professor I had in college and he’s always been a big supporter of my endeavors in and out of the classroom,” Kwok said.

Pierce’s advice inspired Kwok into action. He enlisted help from faculty in Smeal and Schreyer, Penn Staters who were working at McKinsey, and other current students. Through networking with Penn Staters at the firm, he was able to eventually lead a visit to McKinsey’s Pittsburgh office. The combined efforts have resulted in McKinsey recruiting more Penn Staters, including Kwok.

“This has been a defining part of my college experience and a part of the lasting impact I hope to have on Penn State,” said Kwok, who has accepted a position as a management consultant with McKinsey.

“I was drawn to finance because it is fundamentally quantitative and analytical in nature, but many of the career paths that the major leads to are based in team settings with lots of interpersonal interaction. The major appealed to my interest in both thinking analytically and working with other people, not just being stuck in a cubicle crunching numbers alone.”

Kwok was a Schreyer Scholar and a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy. He also was president of Schreyer Consulting Group, president of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, and director of finance for Empower Orphans Penn State. He received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, the President Sparks Award, the Provost Scholarship, the President’s Freshman Award, and the Schreyer Academic Excellence Scholarship.

In addition, Kwok interned at Goldman Sachs in New York as well as in the New York County District Attorney’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau.

One of Smeal’s signature undergraduate events provided Kwok with the motivation to hit the pause button on his notable academic career and take time to reflect.

“One of my favorite memories was the awards lunch for senior award recipients and student marshals. Many of my close friends received awards and often times we're so focused on finishing one thing and moving onto the next that we forget to pause and appreciate what we've done,” he said. “The lunch was a great moment to slow down, reflect on our time in college, and be proud of the things we had accomplished.”

Kwok’s parents, sister, grandparents, and aunt and uncle will travel from his home in the Bronx, New York, to watch him graduate.

Smeal has also named student marshals for each academic department, along with a corresponding faculty marshal. They include:

  • Accounting: Anna Harkleroad escorted by Hal White
  • Finance: Casey Conner escorted by Brian Davis
  • Management: Jessica Gazzani escorted by Lisa O’Hara
  • Marketing: Grace Desjardins escorted by Jennifer Chang Coupland
  • Risk Management: Matthew Caruso escorted by Jeff Sharp
  • Supply Chain and Information Systems: Jiwoo Kim escorted by Susan Purdum
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Last Updated May 01, 2018