A marketing class with Professor Sean Jasso allowed Alex Ukpong to see firsthand how the business world operates — both from the company and consumer standpoint.
It’s a lesson he’s taking with him after graduating this June with a bachelor’s degree in finance.
This international student arrived at Purdue University after completing high school in Nigeria, then transferred to Pierce College in Woodland Hills before coming to UC Riverside in fall 2017. Since his move from Nigeria, he learned quickly how to make friends and be involved across campus. His best advice for students: make a conscientious effort to meet people.
“Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone,” said the 22-year-old who is working as a residential advisor at Glen Mor. “It’s very easy to make your life here a pattern, but if you do, that you’ll miss what the university has to offer.”
His first job at UCR was at the Student Recreation Center. Ukpong also joined UCR’s student-run equity portfolio known as the Hylander Financial Group and played intramural basketball. Never ashamed to share his background, Ukpong speaks three languages: English, French, and Yoruba, a native language of Lagos State in western Nigeria.
“Being a person of color, I like being able to share experiences with people who don’t know, or who might have preconceived notions of what someone from Nigeria looks like and speaks like,” Ukpong said.
The respect and work ethic Ukpong brings is noticeable, said Jamal Myrick, Glen Mor resident director.
“Alex has been successful at UCR because he’s someone that takes initiative in all aspects of his life and holds himself accountable,” Myrick said. “Through his work in various student organizations, job at the SRC, or being an RA in Residential Life, Alex makes a plan and sees it through.”
Ukpong plans to work in the banking industry and eventually as an investment adviser for clients in the United States and Nigeria. After graduation, he’ll focus on finding a job and then apply to graduate school in a few years, he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at UCR, and I’m looking for opportunities that will come in the future,” Ukpong said.