He hurries to stand in front of the stove to make burritos and tacos that will silence the hunger of Mexican food-loving Plattsburgh citizens. He hurries to stand in front of the white board to give the members of the Marketing Club the opportunity to be the leaders he wants them to be.
Matthew Robert is the Plattsburgh State student who is always on the go. Alternating different hats, he marches towards the big apple with big dreams.
Unlike most PSUC students who get inspired by successful people, Robert gets his drive elsewhere.
“It’s more who I don’t want to be, not about who I want to be,” Robert said.
Growing up in Malone, Robert said his motivation stems from his childhood in a secluded area with high teen pregnancy rates and where welfare is the primary income for most households.
His will to distance himself from that environment, and his quest for success led him to college. His choice fell on PSUC, where he decided to double major in marketing and entrepreneurship and minor in accounting.
“I like math and I wanted to apply it to something. I thought business was somewhere I could apply math without it having to be sitting behind the desk crunching numbers,” Robert said.
Rewind four years and you will see a sartorially unrecognizable Robert. Alex Backstrom, Roberts roommate and friend since freshman year, recalls his first encounter with Robert.
“I remember the first day he came in with his big white shirt and skater shoes. He looked like a skater kid straight out of highschool, and now he is the leader of the club, always in his button-up,” Backstrom said.
Robert joined the Marketing Club in an effort to enrich his collegiate experience. He was introduced to the club by one of his friends when he was looking for extracurricular activities to immerse himself in. During his time at the Marketing Club he gained skills that couldn’t be gainedby flipping pages and taking notes. He became a better leader, a better time manager and a better time manager.
Those skills come to light at every Tuesday club meeting. He lets the members form groups in which leaders are appointed to lead the groups’ projects for the club. After the completion of each project, Robert has the groups meet and discuss the outcome of the project, so they can improve where needed.
“They say that the best leaders make other leaders. My goal is to make leaders of my club members now because I want them to step up and be leaders next year. It’s not about just me this year, it’s about the club continuing and being something after I’m gone too,” he said.
Besides devoting his time to the club, Robert juggles school, his job as a cook at Cheechako Taco and his internship in the same company.
Robert, who wants to get as much as possible out of his last year at PSUC, admits that this is his toughest year.
“You give up sleep a lot. But honestly I find time for all of those. You just don’t sit down a lot. You’re running from one place to the next. You just gotta be a lot more productive with your day,” he said.
And productive he is. Backstrom explained how nothing can distract Robert from advancing in life.
“He is dedicated to get his work done before he is ready to chill. On a Friday night at 10 o’clock, you will see him working on his accounting homework. He is really impressive,” Backstrom said.
Club Adviser Nancy Church is of the same opinion about Robert, who was inducted to Sigma Nu Tau, the entrepreneurship honor society, last year. She recalls a Saturday afternoon in New Orleans where students from the Marketing Club went for the yearly conference.
“I was so proud of him because on a Saturday afternoon when everybody is ready to go out and see New Orleans, he stayed and did a sales certification. You’ve got to give him credit — it is New Orleans after all,” she said.
But it’s not all work and no fun for Robert. He has participated in multiple skits and was the lead actor in one of Backstrom’s productions. They are currently working together on a commercial for Cheechako Taco.
Robert’s dream is to move to New York City with Backstrom whom Robert feels possesses qualities that compliment his own. When in New York City, Robert hopes to start his own marketing company and work with Backstrom on more creative projects.
Both Church and Backstrom agree that whatever Robert decides to do in the future, he is laying ground for a successful career.
“The best thing about Matt is that he can do anything. He can be doing sales for advertising companies or a bank. Whatever he decides to do he will kill it,” Backstrom said.
Email Winta Mebrahti at firstname.lastname@example.org.