Alumni spotlight: Konstantinos Rotsios

1994, B.S. Applied Economics

1995, M.S. Agriculture & Applied Economics

Current organization/employer: Perrotis College, The American Farm School

Favorite memory of campus:

I always enjoyed congregating at the St. Paul Student Center with fellow Ag Econ majors. It was a great place to meet and work on assignments. The setting - and the company of other driven, intelligent young men and women - inspired some important academic breakthroughs for me. I think part of it had to do with the feeling of belonging to a dynamic and close-knit team of like-minded individuals. Sharing a vision and sharing goals can have that positive effect.

Why did you choose CFANS as a college?

The choice was the result of a logical consideration and an emotional connection. It goes without saying that the Applied Economics Department ranking as one of the top in the country was a very important part of my decision to attend. I like to believe I was lucky because the family I had in the States was located mostly in Minnesota and several graduates of the American Farm School, where I lived and had gone to school, were also in the area. Having to leave my home in Greece for a place so far away for the first time in my life, it was meaningful to feel that I had a network of people where I was going, but more than that, it was essential for me to believe that the program would help me realize my goals – and it did just that.

Why do you think the University of Minnesota is great?

I’m not sure how one begins to answer a question like that…! I guess I would have to say that one aspect that has always struck me is that in spite of the fact that the University of Minnesota is so well established and offers premier programs in so many areas, the school has retained the attention to detail, the closeness, the warmth, and the purposeful dynamism of a small community. When you come here you are not merely a student learning from professors; you are a peer, a colleague, a collaborating partner. This makes for the most meaningful kind of learning.

Career information/ professional achievements:

Associate Dean for Administration and Business Development at Perrotis College in Thessaloniki, Greece.

What's your passion? What do you love about your work and your field?

I like to tell my students that agriculture is a way of life and that, given the right framework, it can be a way of making a living as well. Changes in our environment – physical and metaphorical – are occurring at an increasingly rapid pace. This can be daunting for a young person just starting out and trying to navigate life independently for the first time. The best part of my job is teaching the students I work with how to be flexible and how to adapt to new circumstances. They can learn to turn these difficulties into positive challenges and opportunities for growth. This is part of the vision that has always prevailed at the American Farm School and Perrotis College, and defines much of who I am and what I do. I am very proud to be a part of an institution that plays a positive role in a country that so desperately needs the kinds of work models and paradigms we provide here.

How did your education at the U of M help prepare you for what you are doing today?

My experience at the U of M taught me to be open-minded and to realize there's more than one way to do things. This, as I mentioned earlier, may be one of the most pivotal lessons one learns in life. Flexibility, creativity, adaptability – these are the qualities that will allow you to do well in any situation, in any field, under any circumstance.

What advice do you have for current students (and future alumni)?

Stay focused on your dreams and don't give up. Enjoy some of the most beautiful years of your life. This is the time to amass experiences – soak them up and allow yourself to be transformed by them. One of the best investments I could have made for my future was coming to the States and learning within the context of the culture, a way of doing things and looking at the world so different from what I was used to. Take advantage of some of the great study abroad programs that are set up for this purpose – they will certainly prove to be life-changing.  Perrotis College (where I work) has a wonderful program which you can check out at www.afs.edu.gr. It allows meaningful flexibility for students in a dynamic work environment, while offering a truly unique combination of opportuntiies for exploration and personal discovery. These are the intangibles that ultimately matter.