Greg Potter wakes up every morning and cooks himself breakfast as he waits for the markets to open. With CNBC playing on the television, he sits down at his kitchen table, with a pen and paper, writing down a detailed list of his priorities for the day. “I am always writing down things I have to do,” he said.
“You want people to be able to rely on you.” When Greg turned 16 years old, he began a lifelong cycle of striving for reliability—beginning with his long, steadfast journey to be able to rely on himself first.
ACTIVE DECISION-MAKING—Greg, a Marist senior majoring in information systems, has worked to take large steps in redefining and developing his whole self. “I didn’t really rely on anyone to push me or drive me to do something,” Greg said. “I was super self-motivated, I still am.”
Greg has developed a constant habit on taking anything that seems unfulfilling and immediately changing its direction. His undeniable decisiveness and commitment to personally and professionally healthy routines have allowed him the ability to turn any situation into his favor.
He struggled with depression and lack of focus in his academics through his adolescence, as he still describes Marist as “by no means a school that [he] should’ve gotten into.” He described the high school version of himself as “average at best,” and his grade point average “atrocious.” However, his changes began to officially take form in the wake of his 16th birthday. “I realized that I didn’t like where I was, so I just put my foot down and made the change.” Recalling his aversion towards working for his father’s landscaping company throughout his teenage years, he was entirely driven to re-pave the path that he had dug out for so long before. With making the active decision to apply himself in school, and considering options of higher education after graduation, Greg began crafting his personal definition of hard work and self-determination.
“At the same time, I was a bit overweight and I didn’t have that many friends, so I started working out,” Greg said. “It’s super cliche—I say this all the time, even now, five years later—that starting to go to the gym built my confidence.” He described the steps to losing weight being difficult to take, while absolutely vital to his overall mental transformation.
“It was a combination of everything that I have learned in the past from my failures, and I just gave it one more attempt,” Greg said. “It really showed me that no matter where you are, where you want to be is totally something attainable.”He recalled his attitude towards almost everything he did turning around, between his grades and his personal fulfillment—and winning “Most Changed” in his superlatives, out of his 3,000 classmates. Greg spent the first 16 years of his life running on a cycle of potential, coming and going between his setbacks and successes.
He is currently wrapping up his education at Marist, while still stumped regarding his conquering of his lack of confidence in even sending his application. “They were able to see who I was as a person without looking at numbers,” he said. “They can see the potential in students.”
Greg Potter has been setting sharp goals within his personal and professional life since he turned 16 years of age, Greg has worked to take large steps in redefining and developing his whole self. He has worked as a Business Intelligence Intern at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and as a Business Analyst Intern at UBS Financial Services in the hedge fund division this past summer. He was offered a job as a Business Analyst upon graduation.
‘IT WAS ALL THERE’—Greg began his education at Marist with a clean slate, prepared to take on an academic journey to the undeniable passions he holds today. “From the beginning, it was all there already,” he said.
He recalled sitting in class during his sophomore year, sharing his plans of applying for summer internships with an upperclassman friend. “He looked at me and said, ‘Dude, you shouldn’t even waste your time. It’s probably your last summer where you could just relax.’” Greg did not listen to him in any sense—and proceeded applying and interviewing for positions without hesitation. “If everybody has that mentality, then it’ll just be easier,” he said.
During the summer following his sophomore year, Greg continued to push his own limits, earning an information technology-based position as a Business Intelligence Intern at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “As a student, I am extremely curious,” Greg said. “I am really interested in the applications of a ton of different disciplines and how they intermingle with each other.”
Greg Potter's Childhood Image
"Motivation is internal—there are no external factors to it. It is the euphoria I get when a goal that I set for myself is finally achieved."- Greg Potter
He spent this past summer working as a Business Analyst Intern for UBS Financial Services in the hedge fund division—delving further into his interests of combining different disciplines. He described his role in the company having been a tech-related position, requiring him to be “bilingual” in the understandings of both business and tech. Greg was the only IT intern among six other finance interns, and ended up taking on a role in a capstone project designed for the finance students. “Even though it wasn’t really applicable to me at all, I ended up taking a project manager role,” he said. “I also took on some portions of the project that were totally finance related.”
While studying abroad in Italy, Greg found out that he was being offered a job at UBS as a Business Analyst upon graduation. “I got called on the streets of Florence and I almost started crying,” Greg said. “Seeing one of the goals that I have set within the past year come to fruition was amazing. It was the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
Because of his experiences over the summer, Greg decided to expand his horizons a bit further by engaging with the Marist Greystone Equity Fund. He took a winter course in order to catch up with the finance requirements he needed to take the investment class. “Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices to get what you want,” he said. “All it takes is one step outside, and the boundary just keeps pushing out further.”
Professor Christopher Algozzine is a Marist professional lecturer of Information Systems who teaches in computing technology department in the School of Computer Science and Mathematics. He met Greg in his architecture class, and claims that he quickly realized that Greg was “wise beyond his years.”
“It is hard to get him to laugh. He is so serious,” Algozzine laughed. “I hope that when you guys do the photo op for him that you get him to smile." It was the last day of fall 2017 information systems capping class before presentations began, when Professor Algozzine “kind of lost it a little bit as an instructor—” raising his voice and expressing his momentary frustration regarding the fate of the their client.
Algozzine let go of his calm, cool and collected identity and “snapped” on his students, who he claims still had a great deal of work to complete in order to finish up a semester’s work for a real client in the Hudson Valley region. “Out of the corner of my eye—as I am losing it—I see Greg.”
Greg Potter was standing in the back of the room, waving his arm in the air to catch Algozzine’s attention. “Yes, Greg?” Greg put down his arm, and calmly said, “Professor, this may not be the best use of our time. Can we be productive—can you tell us what you need us to do and when you need it done by?”
Algozzine paused for a few seconds, sighed, smiled and continued on with his lecture—stunned by Greg’s momentary showcasing of his maturity. “You don’t find students that will do that,” Algozzine said. “Greg was able to calm the professor down and bring back focus to the meeting—that is something you don’t teach.”
Through setting sharp goals every day, Greg has redefined the means of trusting the process. He has actively found his personal way of taking matters into his own hands, and twisting them to derive the greatest possible outcome.
“How have you kept this routine going?” I asked.
Greg sat and thought for a moment, leaned forward, and said, “Motivation is internal—there are no external factors to it. But it is the euphoria I get when I goal that I set for myself is finally achieved.”