It’s been exciting to make an impact on people before even leaving UT.
Connor Clarke, a Morristown native, chose a more unconventional path than most while attending high school: He moved to Canada to play Junior A hockey. He recalls one of his proudest moments as being a part of the Knoxville Junior Ice Bears team that won the national championship in 2014, which eventually gave him the chance to make his move to Canada.
Upon returning to Tennessee, he realized how much he missed home and loved East Tennessee. Although living only an hour from Knoxville, Clarke had never visited UT’s campus. After taking a tour and deciding to pursue economics, he knew the Haslam College of Business was the perfect fit.
“I love economics,” says Clarke. “To me, economics is to business what physics is to science: the fundamental thought behind it all. I felt excited, and it fit my strengths well.”
Now a senior at UT, Clarke is one of four inaugural Dean’s Circle Scholars, supported by the College Fund. Additionally, he serves as an Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ambassador, Supply Chain Scholar of Distinction Peer Mentor, and Smith Global Leadership Scholar. One of his major accomplishments while at UT is being accepted into the Smith GLS program, which allowed him to travel to London and Israel.
Clarke has already launched two businesses, Coonhound Camping and Metris. He says this experience will be his biggest differentiator when he enters the workforce, since he already has a platform to apply and understand what he’s learned in class.
Clarke’s favorite college experience thus far is working with the Anderson Center team. As an Anderson Center Ambassador and Smith GLS, he is working with the department of management on researching team composition in professional environments. The department allowed him to test a concept where students and companies would be matched based on cultural-environmental fit.
“It’s been exciting to make an impact on people before even leaving UT,” says Clarke. “Based on the research, we make suggestions on which students would perform the best, be happiest and most likely to be retained long term. Several students were offered interviews, and we expect many of them will be signing on for an internship or full-time work.”
Following graduation, Clarke plans to join Eastman Chemical’s corporate strategy group. After interning with Eastman last summer, he looks forward to rejoining the team to work full time on high-level, challenging work as an internal consultant.