Editor’s Note: Each week we publish an interview with the SMBA ’14 Student of the Week. The winner of the Student of the Week (awarded by the previous winner) sits in the front row of class and proudly displays a flag of his or her choice on the famous Tez statue. Super tutor Patrick Coghlan took home the honors this week.
Michael Schwartz: You earned Student of the Week honors based on your willingness to help out the rest of the cohort at any time, especially in subjects like statistics since you were a math major. What’s the biggest key to helping a stats novice learn the material?
Patrick Coghlan: The biggest key for people beginning to learn about statistics is to realize that all of the problems will provide you with the information you need. The material is not that difficult once a person understands how all the equations and processes work and when to apply them. A new problem might be dealing with a weird object or have an odd back story, but the bottom line is that the question being asked is probably simple once all of the nonsense is pushed aside. It is also important to note that statistics can be confusing and it is not the end of the world when a question is answered incorrectly, although when someone is a novice at anything there is nothing more frustrating than getting answers wrong.
MS: You played baseball the past two years at Purdue as a walk-on. What were your main responsibilities for the Boilmakers and what did you get out of that experience?
PC: My main responsibilities for the baseball team at Purdue were catching bullpens, maintaining as high of a GPA as possible, and bringing as much energy and hard work to every practice, game, and workout session as possible. The experience of walking on at Purdue cemented the philosophy that if you want something bad enough you can get it as long as you are willing to work harder than everyone else who wants the same thing. I was rewarded with memories, friendships, and gratitude that will certainly last a lifetime.
MS: You’ve got an insatiable will to win or be your best at everything you do. Where do you think that comes from?
PC: I don’t really know for sure why I turned out the way I did, but my gut reaction is to say that it came from my parents. There were two unspoken rules as I was growing up and I have continued to live my life by them ever since. The rules were to give all your effort at whatever you were doing and to always finish something you started. But beyond that I think that I am a very proud person and one of the most important things in the world to me is to make my siblings, but especially my parents, proud. I may not always win or be the best, but if I work as hard as possible to get to that point then my parents and siblings should be proud of what I have done.
MS: What was it like growing up with a female twin?
PC: Growing up with a female twin was absolutely fantastic. First of all, I was lucky enough to grow up with a built-in best friend and my twin will always be my best friend. It was nice because we both loved sports but didn’t have to compete directly against each other because of our gender. There was also the perk of becoming friends with all of her girlfriends which meant being around girls more often than not (and those of you that know me are now nodding your heads because my personality makes more sense now). But growing up with a female twin is the best way to grow up.
MS: What are your future career goals? How do you see the SMBA program helping you reach those goals?
PC: My future career goals are to become a loving husband and father, to work in some capacity in Major League Baseball, and to wake up loving what I’m doing. I think the SMBA program will certainly provide me with the knowledge to take the first step into the sports world, but it will also equip me with a better understanding of how professionals interact with one another and how people view the world differently. But most importantly, this program gave me 34 new friends who will become strong connections both personally and professionally as time goes by.