Around campus, Levi Knapp ’16, M.B.A. ’17 can often be seen wearing a suit. While at Thomas, Levi had internships with three different companies.
Last year, Levi graduated with his Bachelor’s degree with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and on May 13 he graduated from the Accelerated MBA program. Now he works at Dexter Enterprises, a wealth management firm for the Harold Alfond Foundation, as a financial data analyst. Levi interned for Dexter twice during his undergraduate degree and then again while working towards his MBA. They liked him so much, they offered him a permanent position.
The Jay native says he hasn’t always been so driven and professional. In high school, all he cared about was sports.
“I definitely could have done better in high school. But now, I’m paying for college and I’m doing really well,” he said. “I was totally different in college where academics was number one and work was number one.”
Levi said that in high school he never imagined that he would have earned an MBA and be working for the Alfond family at 23-years-old.
“All it takes is hard work,” he said. “I’m living proof of that.”
Levi’s decision to attend Thomas made a huge difference. He began his college career at a much larger, public university, but he didn’t feel at home there and wasn’t studying what he loved.
Levi transferred to Thomas where he could get to know his professors and fellow classmates—and where he discovered his love of business. “I chose business because I love relationships with people. It all comes down to people,” he said. “Once I started studying business, I began to realize I am good at it.”
Levi attended the recent announcement of the new Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation. He said it was great to have his Thomas community present, along with his new boss and co-workers from the Harold Alfond Foundation. He believes the new Institute’s goals are important for Maine.
“In today’s changing world, it just makes sense,” he said. “Innovation and coming up with big ideas is important. I think having something dedicated to that is going to help out tremendously.”
One of his courses through the Accelerated MBA program was an entrepreneurship course. In it, Levi had to create a mock business. He decided to create a fast, casual BBQ restaurant with a 40-page business plan, including financials, sales forecast, marketing – everything.
“What I’ve learned about entrepreneurship through this course is that it’s extremely difficult. But, innovation is very important if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition – especially if you are going into an industry that is already really established,” he said.
Levi said Corey Pelletier, Director of Alumni and Career Services, helped him get a head start on success – and that’s how he found his current job.
“The people and the relationships I have created here have helped me immensely. I have gone back and forth with Corey going over my resume, preparing for the interview, and finding opportunities.”
Looking back, what Levi loves most about Thomas is the people – the small community, the friends, the connections.
“It’s so small, I can go up to President Lachance and have a conversation,” he said. “She knows who I am. I just love that feeling.”
*This was originally published in the Spring 2017 Thomas Magazine.