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Equestrian Student Entrepreneur Excels at NC State

Portrait of Jaclyn McVey

A native of Durham, NC, Jaclyn McVey found a love for horses from a young age. She joined the NC State class of 2022 as a business administration major with a concentration in entrepreneurship, with the intention of starting her own business one day. Originally, she had two business ideas. One was to open up a cookie shop that specializes in cookies for people with dietary restrictions. Her other business dream was owning a farm where she could pursue her equestrian passion and train horses and riders. As she approaches graduation this May, her dream of establishing her own business as a horse trainer is close to becoming a reality. 

Despite intentions of concentrating in entrepreneurship, her academic trajectory took a pivot after a conversation with her parents one day which led her to the world of marketing. She changed her concentration to marketing as a backup plan and was curious to learn additional skills she could rely on if life threw a curveball. “Originally, I thought marketing was interesting. Now I have come to realize that I’m passionate about both entrepreneurship and marketing,” Jaclyn shared. 

Jaclyn and her horse, Tess, after winning a hunter derby.

During her time at NC State, she served as a Poole College of Management peer leader, was part of the NC State IHSA Hunt Seat Club Sport, she was the co-executive director and director of marketing for the Avent Ferry Hall Council, and was also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She did all this while maintaining a 4.0 GPA over the course of her college career and will be graduating Summa Cum Laude come May.

But her dream of opening up her own horse riding barn led Jaclyn to seek out entrepreneurship opportunities on campus. One day, she saw an advertisement for a student marketing assistant within NC State Entrepreneurship and she knew she had to throw her hat in the ring. “I wanted to get an internship that would give me experience in marketing and one that would work with my school schedule. I also wanted an internship where I would get more hands-on experience with entrepreneurship,” Jaclyn shared. She was hired and has been managing the social media marketing channels, weekly newsletter and has helped raise visibility for entrepreneurship at NC State in many incredible ways.

“NC State Entrepreneurship has been so incredibly lucky to have found Jaclyn. Her professionalism, drive, hard work, can-do attitude, creativity and reliability are unparalleled. Her presence has been a gift to our department and me. It’s been a complete delight to see her grow and develop into the incredible marketer that she is, and I know she’ll thrive wherever she goes,” shared Monica Smith, Director of Marketing and Community Development at NC State Entrepreneurship. 

Working as a marketing assistant at NC State Entrepreneurship has helped me grow as a marketer and entrepreneur in numerous ways.

Working as a marketing assistant during her junior and senior years allowed Jaclyn to experience NC State Entrepreneurship both as a student and an employee. “It is nice to be on both sides of the table by getting support from the community and also giving support and opportunities to students to engage with entrepreneurship at NC State,” Jaclyn shared. She added, “being able to work alongside Monica Smith was exciting because she helped me find my passion for marketing. She challenged me while also allowing me to be creative and explore new opportunities with marketing.”

One of her favorite parts of getting involved with entrepreneurship at NC State was finding a supportive, diverse and engaging community. “I rave about this community all of the time,” she added. “It is where I have felt most welcomed and supported on campus. You don’t have to want to start your own business to feel like you belong here. They want to help you build an entrepreneurial mindset that can help you be successful in any path of life.”

As she approaches graduation, she reflects back on her time at NC State and she leaves us with these final thoughts. “NC State has prepared me for life after graduation by helping me embody the ‘Think and Do the Extraordinary’ mentality. This campaign ran for the majority of my time at NC State and I think it has something that I will carry on throughout my life. My friends and I joke about things we do being so ‘Think and Do,’ but it is true. NC State has prepared me to think critically and creatively and apply that thinking to the real world to do what needs to be done. But, I think what I embody the most is ‘the Extraordinary.’ I have never been the type of person to do something halfway. I always want my work to be extraordinary. For me, knowing that I am able to think and do in an extraordinary way is empowering. It makes me feel as though any challenge I may face I will be able to overcome.”

Connect with Jaclyn on LinkedIn