Grant Manon

The support to succeed

If you were to glance at Grant’s resume, you might assume that his success was preordained. His talent is obvious; his accomplishments are many. A Wells Scholar from Kendallville, Indiana, he spent a summer studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He interned at GEICO and P&G. He was the chief justice of the IU Supreme Court. He graduated in 2015 with three majors: finance, economic consulting, and business analytics.

But as Grant will tell you, many of his greatest successes have been built on other people’s generosity.

As a freshman, he joined IU’s Ethics Bowl team. The other four members were seniors who had been on the team together for four years. “They could’ve been like, ‘You have no idea what you’re doing,’ because I didn’t,” Grant says. “But instead, they took me under their wing and taught me so much. From day one, I was a part of the team.”

The student mentors who helped him through an intensive sophomore-year business communication class, the seniors who got him involved in the Supreme Court, the two faculty members he’s worked with on research—to Grant, they’re all examples of Hoosiers helping Hoosiers.

IU is a really strong community of people who are helping each other succeed.

All for one, one for all

For Grant, the exemplar of the strong IU community is the Kelley School’s Undergraduate Consulting Workshop, which prepares its approximately 30 members for consulting careers.

Grant and his Consulting Workshop classmates bonded over intensive case studies, trips to Chicago, and a tradition of creating goofy PowerPoint slideshows to announce social events.

They even supported one another while competing for the same few high-profile consulting jobs. They practiced for, and carpooled to, interviews together. Through all the highs and lows of the job search, they remained close friends.

“We knew that if we helped each other, we were all going to succeed,” Grant says. “We were earning spots that normally might not have been IU students’ spots. Because we helped each other so much, we were able to accomplish a lot more than we ever could have individually.”

Grant worked with two professors on research, including assisting with an international finance textbook. “The faculty at IU are willing to sit down, tell you about their research, and then offer you a way to help with it,” Grant says.

A taste for giving back

Every other Friday while he was at IU, Grant knew he would eat well. Those were the days of the cooking club he led at the local Boys and Girls Club. The IU volunteers helped the kids cook—often something involving vegetables or an unfamiliar food, like okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake—and then everyone ate. Grant even helped secure funding to remodel the club’s kitchen.

“It was a really fun break from studying and working hard,” Grant says, “but it was also great to interact with these kids.”

The cooking club was one of many ways Grant gave back. He was a mentor for that challenging business communication class. He served as the public relations consultant for the Trockman Microfinance Initiative, which loans money to small businesses in developing countries. As a senior, he guided four freshmen through their first year on the Ethics Bowl team, which advanced to the semifinals of the national competition.

His experiences on the Ethics Bowl team and at the Kelley School also led to a new interest: how to use business to improve the world.

Making a career of making an impact

Grant’s job fits his passions for working with people and improving people’s lives. He’s an associate consultant at Bain & Company, a consulting firm in Chicago, where he advises businesses ranging from family-owned companies to Fortune 500 corporations. He also hopes to work with Bain’s nonprofit partners, including charter schools. His roommates are friends from the Consulting Workshop.

Someday he may get an M.B.A. or go to law school. And on the advice of Tim Lemper—a Kelley professor who’s become a close friend and golfing buddy—Grant may eventually try to have an even bigger impact by working for a nonprofit, starting one, or running for public office.

Whatever he does, Grant will draw on what he’s learned here: “IU taught me that it doesn’t matter what you’re pursuing—as long as it’s something you’re passionate about, you’re going to have an impact and you’re going to be successful.”

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