For alumnus Owen Rankin (McIntire ’82), the McIntire School isn't only an important part of his personal success story, it's an integral part of his family's history.
Owen's time at McIntire was such a positive experience that his children, Kevin (McIntire ’13), Mark (McIntire ’15), and recent graduate Zoë (McIntire ’17), followed directly in their father's footsteps: All three earned degrees from the School and likewise pursued concentrations in Marketing, their dad's area of expertise.
After nearly 30 years honing his skills on both the client and agency sides in reputation management, senior executive positioning, corporate communications, and many more areas, Owen struck out on his own, founding firm Over the Horizon Strategies in 2013. His sons continue to apply the comprehensive curriculum of their McIntire years towards advancing their respective careers in market research and consulting.
Recent grad Zoe has started her career as a Social Media Strategist in Washington, D.C., where she's already putting her Advertising and Digital Media Track coursework to good use. We were lucky enough to sit down with the Rankin family and gather some advice for new and returning McIntire students.
The four of you studied marketing at McIntire. Did any of you have class with the same professors?
Owen: I was a teaching assistant for Professor Bill Kehoe, who taught two of my kids; Professor Jack Lindgren, who was my “Promotions” professor, also taught Kevin. Jack was a true mentor who made me the business leader I am today. He challenged us to be great. He was supportive and human.
Kevin: I was actually in the last “Promotions” class Professor Lindgren taught.
Mark: I was in the same ICE Block as Kevin, Block 3, so several of the professors remained. I also took a few classes at Kevin's recommendation, including classes with Professor Lucien Bass and Professor Natasha Foutz.
Zoë: Professors Bass, Amanda Cowen, Marcia Pentz, and Brendan Boler. I've taken lots of classes at my brothers' suggestions.
What faculty member will you remember most?
Mark: It's hard to pick just one. Three professors who come to mind are Professor Bass, Professor Sherri Moore, and Professor Boler. I also really appreciate my connection with Professor Cowen and Allison Teweles as a result of my GCI trip to Brazil.
Kevin: Besides Jack Lindgren's “Promotions” class, Professor Marcia Pentz's “Public Speaking” class was also immensely helpful for refining my skills and gave me the ability to analyze and help others with their public speaking.
Zoë: Like Kevin, I learned so much from Professor Pentz and have become a much better presenter and communicator because of her. I'll also never forget my “Promotions” Professor Carrie Heilman. She didn't just teach me about advertising, but also to never quit and to never settle.
What does it mean to be a McIntire alum, and how do you see yourself giving back?
Owen: Pride in knowing that you had a great experience and the opportunity to work closely with so many smart people. And the ability to go back and feel like you are always welcome—and that you're part of the continuing evolution of the School. I teach at least once a semester, mentor students, and work with the McIntire Marketing Advisory Council, connecting businesses to the School.
Kevin: Being a McIntire alum gives you an excellent background in business and access to an outstanding network. I've heard several stories about companies recognizing McIntire graduates just by their work ethic and knowledge alone. To give back, I'm always happy to talk to prospective and current students. I also make sure to be a part of the annual giving campaigns and GivingToHoosDay.
Mark: For me, being a McIntire graduate means that there's always an immediate connection with another McIntire or UVA alum. I plan to continue giving back by making myself available to speak with students, in particular those transferring into McIntire from other universities.
Zoë: As a new alum, I look forward to being a resource for perspective McIntire students and graduates as they try to navigate the job market.
Any advice for current and incoming McIntire students?
Zoë: Don't let the fear of failure or embarrassment ever keep you from trying something new.
Kevin: Don't be complacent. Talk to your professors, go to office hours, ask questions, and listen.
Mark: Listen twice as much as you talk. This goes for both conversations and discussions with other students and professors. Everyone has something to teach you.
Owen: McIntire gives you an amazing opportunity to work in teams with people who have different interests, backgrounds, and styles. Use this to see how you can try different approaches to get better, more interesting results. Learning this skill now will pay huge dividends when you're in the business world. And remember that time goes quickly: You go from first-year orientation to walking the Lawn in the blink of an eye. Enjoy the time.