Mathematical Business: Gracie Stanek

For graduating senior and mathematical business major Gracie Stanek, business runs in the family.

“My mom, my dad and my brother all have accounting degrees,” Stanek said. “I think a lot of people that I respect in my community were involved in the business profession. I kind of always had role models who were involved in that field.”

Stanek grew up just over two hours away from campus in Asheville, N.C. Though initially planning to move farther away from home for university, she came to realize that Wake Forest was meant to be her home after her first tour of campus. 

“I toured some other schools, and specifically some other business programs, where you could feel the tension, and you can tell that students really felt like they were competing against each other to get grades or reach success or get internship opportunities,” Stanek said. “That’s definitely not the case [at Wake Forest]. I’ve found that students are really rooting for each other.”

She also appreciated Wake Forest’s emphasis on students taking non-major courses and exploring their options through divisionals and electives. 

“I found that, in a lot of other business schools, you kind of are boxed in,” Stanek said. “Although I anticipated wanting to go into business, I liked that I had the ability to take courses that interest me.”

It was this flexibility that allowed her to discover the smallest department in the business school — mathematical business. She credits her professor for Calculus III, Dr. John Holmes, with first introducing her to the department. Though he has since moved on from Wake Forest, Stanek said that she would have never considered the major without his encouragement.

“I loved business. I loved math. So why not just pursue them through this joint major?” Stanek said. “I looked more into it and what people who majored in math business pursue after graduation, and I found that the math business major really offered a lot of versatility.”

Starting in July of this year, Stanek will begin working for Red Ventures, a digital marketing agency in Charlotte, N.C., as a product operations analyst. She received this job offer in September following an internship with the company last summer.

“[Red Ventures’] culture is really unique, and I had a really great experience with my manager and all the other kids,” Stanek said. “I made really great friends who are also returning to Red Ventures, so that definitely gives me something to look forward to, even though it’s a very bittersweet experience — leaving Wake Forest.”

While still experiencing those bittersweet emotions, Stanek does feel excited and prepared to step into the professional world. She credits this, in part, to the skills she has acquired during her time at Wake Forest.

“One of my favorite things about my experience in the business school has just been the very applicable nature of a lot of the coursework,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience where I felt like ‘When am I ever going to need this in my professional career?’” 

She continued: “We’re always working in a group environment, and while at times it can feel frustrating and hard, that really is the reality of what you’ll experience in the professional world. So I think that all has been really integral in helping me prepare.”

From now until graduation, Stanek will be enjoying her remaining time here at Wake Forest, reminiscing on her experience and looking forward to who she will become.

“I had the best four years at Wake Forest. It feels like it’s flown by in seconds, not four years,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be moving to Charlotte. I’m really excited about my job, and I’m just really excited to enter a professional setting.”

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