Alumni Spotlight: Jessica Markkula

Name: Jessica Markkula
Degree (s)/ Major (s): B.S. Agricultural & Food Business Management, M.Ed. Human Resource Development
Grad Year: 1998, 2005
Advisor(s): Dale Dahl
Current organization/ employer: BMO Harris Bank
Involvement as a student: St. Paul Ambassadors, Alpha Gamma Delta

Favorite memory of campus: My favorite memory of campus if Homecoming. I loved campus in the fall and all of the activities associated with Homecoming including the parade and football game.

Why did you choose CFANS as a college? I decided I wanted to major in ag business (my dad is a commodity broker so I was somewhat familiar with the industry) and I realized I needed to attend a land grant institution to get an agricultural degree. I grew up in Fargo, ND so North Dakota State was in my backyard, however, I wanted to experience something different and away from home. I had been to campus many times for sporting events but I had never truly seen the campus until I came for my tour. I was nervous at the size of the school but was amazed at how small campus actually felt. I fell in love with the campus and had a great four years.

Why do you think the University of Minnesota is great? The University of Minnesota offers a world class education in a major metropolitan environment. I always said I had the best of both worlds, small college feel and classes on the St. Paul campus, with the large urban feel of the East and West Bank. There are so many opportunities and student groups, there is something for everyone. Plus, Minneapolis/St. Paul are great, thriving cities.

Career information/ professional achievements: After graduation I spent a year at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and then seven years working for the College in Admissions and Student Services. For the last ten years I have been at BMO Harris Bank in the commercial group. I am a relationship manager that works with companies on their financing and cash management needs. I volunteer at a non-profit in my community, Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners.

What's your passion? What do you love about your work and your field? My passion is working with people and making connections. I love that every day is different and everyone has a different story. Through my work I can help people achieve their dreams by solving their financial problems.

How did your education at the U of M help prepare you for what you are doing today? So much of my day is working with people and managing personalities, internal and external. The U of M helped me prepare for that by being exposed to so many different people and situations.

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

  • Take advantage of the variety of opportunities available at your fingertips.

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone - this will serve you well in the future.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help.