Nicole Vydra

Nicole Vydra

Class Year



Aurora, Illinois


Marketing, Management, and Finance



“The career options with marketing, management, and finance are endless. I have developed personally and professionally by enhancing my public speaking skills, business knowledge and vocabulary, and awareness of career opportunities in business. The business program develops well-rounded students, and the business itself is an extremely rewarding career.”

Nicole Vydra, ’24

Career goal

“After I graduate, I hope to pursue a professional career in the field of sales or finance, but I am open to see where my career and experience take me. I have many passions and am curious about learning, so I am excited to explore many potential industries after receiving my degree.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“Carthage has shown me career paths that I previously had not even considered. The personal relationships I have built with the business faculty and my advisor, Professor Carter Rockhill, have supported my education and pushed me to become a more creative and successful student. Not only have the faculty encouraged my passions, but they have led me in directions to further my career exploration. My professors have believed in me even when I doubted my abilities, and without their leadership and support, I would not be the student or person I am today.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class I have taken at Carthage is Legal Environment of Business. Although this course is challenging, I am intellectually stimulated by the engaging class discussions and debates. My classes in accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and management enabled my personal growth. Still, my legal class has invigorated my problem-solving passions and love for the foundations of legal systems. Professor Phegley works hard to make the class fun while still challenging us to expand our ways of thinking to grow intellectually. The real-world examples he uses to make the context we are learning applicable to real-life scenarios, and I have progressed my ways of thinking because of them.”

Toughest class

“The most challenging class I have had is Corporate Finance. Professor Zheng Chao is an amazing professor and department chair who nurtures and challenges students in the class to ensure success. The contents of the class itself are challenging, especially because it was my first finance class, but understanding the material is very rewarding. The class requires hard work and concentration to understand the contents, but the feeling of accomplishment from completing the group project is fulfilling.”

Campus involvement

“Since my freshman year, I have served as the Vice President of Professional Development for Pi Sigma Epsilon, a national sales fraternity. One of my proudest accomplishments in this position is creating a bracket-style interview competition by combining my love of March Madness and passion for personal development. Through this process, I improved my interview skills by interviewing members of the fraternity and other business students. The final round consisted of a panel of Business professionals along with a mingling event for companies attending to network with students. I have also been able to add segments such as Nicole’s News which is an economic update given each week, a Word of the Week to increase business vocabulary for the chapter, and internship spotlights to highlight our involved chapter members. I also serve as the Director of Campus Activity and Spirit for my social sorority, Chi Omega. In this role, I have been able to educate the chapter on extracurricular opportunities and events to increase chapter participation on campus. I also plan our homecoming parade by designing and purchasing T-shirts and creating posters and decorations. I have also served as a student ambassador, which has allowed me to connect with incoming students and families and share my love for Carthage.”

Internships or on-campus employment

“On campus, I have worked as a student ambassador, which has built my confidence and improved my interpersonal skills. I have also grown my skills relating to sales and marketing because I can highlight the best features of Carthage and describe to each student why Carthage may be the right place for them. While every student who tours Carthage is different, Carthage has something to offer for all. Part of my position as a student ambassador is showing prospective students the many opportunities Carthage has to offer.”

Opportunities at Carthage

”In my classes, I have had the opportunity to create a marketing plan, a sales report, a professional portfolio, a stock analysis report, case briefs, and budget and inventory reports. These real-world tools have allowed me to practice skills that I will be using daily in whatever field I go into.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite moment at Carthage for this year was our Homecoming Weekend, where I had the opportunity to lead my sorority in the Homecoming parade along with getting to spend time with my family and allowing them to enjoy Carthage as much as I do. Carthage goes out of its way to provide amenities and activities for students on weekends to provide a big school game day environment with a close community feel.”

Favorite spot on campus

“One of my favorite spots on campus is a glass conference room in the back of David Straz Center for Natural Sciences. This conference room looks over the beautiful lake and is filled with sunshine during the day. It is one of my favorite spots to study and never fails to keep me at peace. I also enjoy the Semler Fitness Center, Carthage‘s main gym for non-athlete students. The fitness center is a great place to work out and destress after class and has a warm community feel, usually with a familiar face greeting me at the door. The main court is also one of my favorite spots because I enjoy playing recreational basketball. It is a beautiful court with a generous arena and a well-designed layout.”

Biggest surprise so far

“One surprise I have encountered is how close of a community Carthage is. Almost everyone at Carthage is connected in some way. There is a big family or community feeling. Even though we have students from across the country and even international students, students are still respectful, understanding, and welcoming across campus and share similar values of community and inclusivity. I was not expecting such a supportive and inclusive environment, but I feel blessed to have encountered one.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“My eight-year-old self may be surprised by my current career paths, especially because I never thought I was intelligent enough to pursue a difficult field like finance or economics. However, my younger self would be proud of how much I have accomplished and what I have become.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“The career options with marketing, management, and finance are endless. I have developed personally and professionally by enhancing my public speaking skills, business knowledge and vocabulary, and awareness of career opportunities in business. The business program develops well-rounded students, and the business itself is an extremely rewarding career.”

Why Carthage?

“I fell in love with Carthage from the moment I stepped into the business center. I had the opportunity to sit through a business class before I confirmed my enrollment. I was initially impressed with the professor’s wealth of knowledge and the classroom’s supportive atmosphere. Walking along Campus Drive, students were friendly and lively. Each professor I met had a passion for their field and real-world experience, along with designated office hours and a welcoming demeanor. Carthage also has an excellent location between two major business hubs, Milwaukee and Chicago, along the beautiful lake Michigan.”