I’ve Always Been Driven

  • Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013

“I’ve Always Been Driven”
You get the impression Austin Foley is going places. The Beloit native is in his senior year at Edgewood College, majoring in Business with an Economics minor. He’s made the most of his opportunity so far.

“I’m pretty active,” he says. “I’m a Resident Assistant, I’m in the choir, and I’m a Financial Literacy peer educator. It’s definitely opened up a lot of opportunities.” He’s also on the Men’s Golf team, carding his first-ever “ace” at a tournament in September 2012.

Austin Foley

He’s seized opportunities from a young age. He’s spent summers and school breaks working for his father, an electrical contractor who launched his own business in Beloit more than ten years ago. And it’s that experience that’s having a major impact on where he’s headed next.

To fulfill one of the School of Business requirements, Austin completed an internship with BJ Electrical Supply in Madison. “I had a great internship experience there,” he says. “I got to be in charge of a couple of different projects in the community. I did some work with UW-Madison, and with Epic Systems in Verona.”

Always looking to ‘network,’ he asked for some advice from his boss: what should he do next? They both agreed another internship – somewhere larger – was in order.

His boss volunteered to ‘make a few calls’ on Austin’s behalf. One of those calls paid off big.
“It turns out the guy he called from Eaton Corporation graduated from the same high school as I did. He’s from Beloit.” Eaton is a publically-traded, global power management company, with an annual budget of nearly $22 billion.

The new contact moved Austin’s resume through to the national office. Austin interviewed via phone on a Tuesday, and two days later was flying to Pittsburgh for two days of interviews – and a formal dinner with executives from the corporation, one of eight candidates being interviewed for an internship during summer 2013.

The dinner was especially memorable. “I was the only Business major in the room. All the other candidates, there were eight of us, were in Engineering – Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering. It was a little intimidating, too. They were from big state universities from across the country, and here I am from ‘little Edgewood College.’ I thought, ‘I’m just going to be myself, and see what happens.’”

What helped was his familiarity with the industry, and the power of personality. “Working with my dad in the summers, my internship here in Madison - I sold the products the company manufactures, and that became really obvious at this dinner – those Engineering majors were saying ‘who is this guy?’ I guess they should have done their research on Eaton before the interview.”

By now you’ve figured out he was offered the opportunity, edging out the other candidates who were perhaps not quite as driven, not quite as passionate. He enjoyed a memorable summer of 2013 in a great (paid) internship with Eaton, in Phoenix, Ariz.

He says it was a great next step – but it is just the next step. This fall semester, he’s already been to Washington, D.C. and Providence, R.I. for interviews. Working closely with our Career Services Office, he’s also had two interviews via teleconference. Austin expects to graduate in May, and hopes to secure his first professional position before then. “I’ve always been driven,” he says. “I’m always working on the next deal.”

November 2013