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A profile shot of Philip Marshall wearing a navy polo shirt and smiling

Launching a Career at the Start

Empezando una carrera como emprendedor

Recent business graduate scores competitive job helping a startup company succeed


Blue graduation cap.Take a deeper look at four other exceptional graduates who forged different paths and obstacles to reach their goals.

Despite growing up more than 5,000 miles away, across the Atlantic Ocean, in Ukraine, Philip Marshall knew about the University of Northern Colorado before he ever stepped foot on campus. His parents attended the university studying Journalism and Music and then moved to the European country for work. 

“My parents work for a nonprofit there, so Ukraine has been my home for my whole life,” Marshall said. “The way I grew up, I learned to be really adaptable. We would travel a lot and meet a lot of new people.” 

The Business Management and Marketing student admits he still found moving to Colorado and beginning his college career to be an adjustment. He had a difficult time making friends at first, until he leaned into what he is most passionate about – business — and started connecting with various groups on campus.

“I got involved in [student] clubs as soon as I could my first semester. Since then, I’ve had so many leadership experiences and experiences in business that have set me up for success in the long run,” Marshall said, which is evident since he will begin a prestigious fellowship right after graduation. 

Throughout his time at UNC, Marshall helped manage the Monfort College of Business’ (MCB) student-run E-Challenge, a business pitch competition reminiscent of the famed TV show Shark Tank where entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of five venture capitalists. Marshall was also a member of the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi as well as the campus group Christian Challenge, and he helped found the College Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) chapter at UNC serving as its acting president. 

“My professor was able to sit down with me and help me learn what I needed to know to go on to my career. That’s what I’ve experienced here at UNC, a personal experience with a close-knit community and lots of opportunities.” 

“The main goal is to get experience in entrepreneurship,” Marshall said. “So, in the College Entrepreneurs Organization we decided to launch a business selling care packages that parents and family members can buy for their students.” 

The business is called Bear Box and offers packages filled with candy, snacks, caffeine, ChapStick and facemasks to boost students' morale and spirits during finals week and midterms or simply offer the everyday, self-care need. The experience has taught the members what it takes to launch a business, good and bad.  

“We were met with a lot of challenges and made a lot of mistakes,” Marshall said. “We hadn’t done enough research to understand the product we were making. So, we’ve adjusted. We changed our prices [and] the size of the boxes. We’re trying to really make a product that people want.” 

It’s proving to be successful. When the group launched Bear Box last November before final exam week, they sold 86 care packages. During Valentine’s Day, they sold another 72. All profits go back to support the club.  

“The club does a lot of other things [besides] just running a business,” Marshall said. “We bring in speakers, we do networking events and social events, so that’s where the money goes toward.” 

The connections Marshall made during these events have paid off. He was able to attend the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization annual conference in Tampa, Florida, where he was introduced to the organization Venture for America, a nonprofit that recruits entrepreneurial students freshly out of college to join a startup for two years and gain hands-on experience. The company is located in 13 cities across the country, and only onboards about 10% of the applicants each year to the Fellowship program. Marshall found out he was one of those accepted. 

“It’s very competitive,” Marshall said. “The application process was quite rigorous. The last step of the process was a 4 -to 6-hour Zoom call where I had to solve different problems and go through different tasks and challenges with another group and there were judges watching us to see how we work together.” 

Marshall was nervous leading up to this task and sought advice from Assistant Management Professor Maurice Harris, Ph.D., who he has a close connection to. 

“He helped me work through some of the problems we had been given in advance and just thought through what I needed to talk about and how it all might look,” Marshall said. “He has a lot of knowledge and experience and that just meant a lot to me because his insights helped me do better in that interview process.” 

This closeness and access to his professors is one of the main reasons Marshall chose to come to UNC.  

“It’s the perfect example of why UNC is so great,” Marshall said. “My professor was able to sit down with me and help me learn what I needed to know to go on to my career. That’s what I’ve experienced here at UNC, a personal experience with a close-knit community and lots of opportunities.” 

Marshall doesn’t know which startup he will be working for or where he will be located. He has to pitch himself to companies before finding the right fit, which he can confidently do using the skills he acquired and honed from his involvement in the E-Challenge for so many years. He learns his date and destination in July and then he’ll embark on a two-week, extensive training camp before beginning his first startup job. 

“I have a lot of ideas running around in my head and I’m still trying to figure out what I would love to do,” Marshall said. “That’s why I really like this program, because even though I don’t know what I want to do yet, I’ll be able to get the experience to be ready when I do.” 

He already feels confident in the experience he has gained at UNC and is grateful he decided to move to a different country and take a risk in a place he knew had been successful for his parents in the past.  

“The supportive ecosystem at UNC has helped get me where I’m at,” Marshall said. “I was able to jump into so many clubs and gain leadership experience and find community. That’s what really impressed Venture for America—seeing that I made an impact at UNC—they knew I could do that for a startup, too.”

UNC is deeply committed to meeting students’ financial needs. In 2022-23, 87% of all UNC undergraduate students received some type of grant or scholarship aid that does not need to be repaid.  

Philip Marshall received the following donor-funded scholarships and UNC institutional scholarships or other federal, state or grant aid. 

  • MCB Scholarship
  • Finley-Ledall Scholars
  • Jason Gammel Undergraduate in Business Scholarship
  • Dean’s Scholar (Program)
  • Wells Fargo Bank Scholarship
  • On commencement day, Philip will also be receiving the Robert and Ludie Dickeson Presidential Prize for Leadership Award

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