Name: Jack Oistad
Hometown: Buffalo, Minnesota
What CofC organizations you have been involved with?
- Investment Program serving as the European economist for the Investment Society
- Honors College Charleston Fellows Program
- Phi Chi Theta Business Fraternity-Zeta Phi Chapter vice president and founding member
- Charleston 40 Tour Guide
- ImpactX – co-founder of VeriThreads
- Global Scholars
- German Club
- Surf Club
CofC awards or honors:
- Swanson Scholar in the Honors College
- First CofC exchange student with the University of New South Wales in Australia
- Placed in the top 3 teams in the Spring 2020 ImpactX Demo Day Competition
- College of Charleston President’s List for Academic Excellence
Why did you choose the College of Charleston?
I decided to come to CofC when I came for the Honors College’s interview weekend my senior year of high school. Over that weekend I talked with my future professors and met my future classmates, but most importantly I saw all of the opportunities that CofC could offer me. I’ve always been a person who wants to explore and try new things, and CofC has been a great place to do that.
What drew you to study German alongside international business?
I was drawn to international business because it was a business degree that had a global focus. It’s been a dream of mine to be a global business professional and definitely majoring in international business here at the College has helped me with that endeavor. As for German, I was really drawn to the flexibility of the program to align and work with my business degree. I also appreciate the plethora of German business connections located in the Charleston area.
What’s your favorite location on campus and why?
If I had to choose it would be between the Cistern Yard (for obvious reason) or the second-floor study room in the Honors Center. I loved how the Honors Center is in a historic house. It feels homey and on nice days it’s always great to hang out on the second-floor porch.
What’s the most surprising thing about your CofC experience so far?
Meeting different people from all across the country, and even the world, who call our campus home. Going to school across the country really pushed me to make friends with people completely different than people I knew back home, and that experience has really helped me grow as a person.
What is your favorite place to eat near campus?
O-Ku on King Street. They have great sushi, a cool ambience and amazing weekday deals.
What’s the best class you’ve ever taken?
The class that pops into my mind would be the Business Ethics course I took my freshman year. It was my first class at CofC and it pushed me not only academically, but also on a philosophical level. It was a class that taught me how to analyze situations, think critically and identify my morals and virtues. I know I can use this knowledge for the rest of my career and life.
What’s the hardest class you’ve ever taken?
Definitely the most demanding has been the Investment Program. In order to enroll, you have to do a super day interview and compete against others for spots. Once you’re in, you must have the discipline to learn A LOT about the financial world and markets on your own. In addition, you have to be adaptable and be an effective team player for any project we take on. You definitely will work long and hard in this class, but it’s all worth it. The growth in my professionalism, my industry knowledge, my work ethic, as well as within myself has been pretty amazing this year. Next year in the program I can’t wait to work on my leadership, strategy and visionary skills as a returning member.
What are your hobbies?
I really like to be active whenever I can. I love to run, hike, mountain bike, workout, travel, etc. I’ve also discovered that I have a knack for cooking, so I love to make new recipes for myself and my friends whenever given the chance.
What do you consider your biggest achievement as a member of the CofC community?
That’s a tough question, but if I had to narrow it down it would be sticking through my first year as a student here. That may seem pretty mundane, but I had a really hard time adjusting to the College and to the City of Charleston my first semester here. I was still trying to find my circle of friends, figure out who I wanted to be here and find my sense of independence. I remember that I wanted to transfer to a school closer to home when winter break came around, but I decided to give CofC another shot in the spring. I can honestly say that was one of the best decisions of my life. Spring semester my freshman year was really the time I bloomed into who I was going to be here, and everything seemed to “click.” I’m so proud of myself for having the grit to give CofC another chance, because I know I wouldn’t be this happy if I had taken the easy route and transferred.
What’s something your CofC classmates would be surprised to know about you?
My legal name is actually James, not Jack. When I was really young, I was super shy and kept to myself. When I came out of my shell, I started to refer to myself as Jack and the nickname has stuck around ever since!
How are you preparing for life after you graduate from CofC?
I’m always keeping an eye on the future and for the next steps I need to take. This summer I have an internship with the Target Corporation in Minneapolis, so hopefully that work experience will help launch my professional career. In addition, I’m currently studying to take the LSAT and I hope to keep law school as an option if that is the route I want to take.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
Put yourself out there early on and try new things and activities. I remember everyone freshman year was trying to find where they belong, and the only way to do that is to take risks and discover who you are and what you like. Be open minded and know that you and others around you will grow. Just keep in mind to never lose sight of your inner self and morals, and the sky’s the limit for you here!