Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice upon meeting Noah Ross, a senior marketing major at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is his infectious confidence. That’s not an accident, either; it’s an intentional mindset he’s managed to cultivate throughout his time navigating the Chesapeake Energy School of Business and multiple high-level internships.
“Having the confidence to fail is a big thing,” Ross said. “And that’s something that I’ve had to learn and realize—just having a growth mindset, going into it and saying, Okay, if this goes great, that’s awesome. But if not, what an amazing opportunity to learn and to get it right next time.”
There have certainly been failures along the way—Noah’s the first person to admit that this is not how he imagined his career at OKWU going—but there has been tremendous success, too. Now, poised to graduate this December, he’s ready to launch out into a future filled with opportunities because of the growth he’s undergone on campus.
“I love the small setting. You know everybody, you can actually have real relationships. The people really kept me at OKWU.”
Originally, Ross came to OKWU to play basketball, but only ended up competing one year. “Injuries sidelined me, and I kind of lost a little love for the game,” he said.
When basketball was no longer an option for him, Ross began to focus on preparing himself for a career. One day after a freshman marketing class, he approached Dr. Wendel Weaver and asked him about the possibility of a summer internship. Weaver was cautious at first, making no bones about the level of commitment that a professional internship would require, but he said he’d keep an eye out.
A few weeks later, Weaver told Noah about an opportunity in the Connections Department at The Voice of the Martyrs, the Bartlesville-based global ministry aiding persecuted Christians around the world. From the start, Ross was passionate about the work.
“The mission is so fulfilling,” he said. “I would always go to the chapels and get to hear the speakers… I just loved hearing the stories.”
During the second semester of Noah’s sophomore year, another opportunity for an internship came up, this time with Hobby Lobby. As an intern in the Buying Resources department, he was uniquely positioned for high-level practical experience.
“At Hobby Lobby I prepared reports, every week, that went to David Greene and his executive team,” Noah said.
Over this past summer, a third opportunity arose for Noah as an intern at Hampton Creative, a Tulsa-based advertising and marketing agency. During his time there, he’s continued building a strong portfolio of work—rebranding projects, copywriting, idea pitches, and interactive web design. His most recent triumph was successfully pitching the theming for Oral Roberts University’s 2021 Homecoming festivities.
Noah credits a lot of this success to his time in small classroom settings, with professors who truly cared about him and his career training. It allowed him to create a more robust professional toolbox than he otherwise might have.
“I’ve learned how to present, I’ve learned how to do audits, [I’ve learned] how to really think for myself. I think because of that, I’m lightyears ahead,” he said. “The professors not only know you and care for you, but they can actually get in your world and make you better.”
“Having the confidence to fail is a big thing… Okay, if this goes great, that’s awesome. But if not, what an amazing opportunity to learn and to get it right next time.”
Ultimately, what Noah will remember about his time at OKWU is the people—the relationships formed with roommates, classmates, and professors. It’s an experience he wouldn’t have gotten at a larger school, and it’s what kept him here after his basketball dreams shifted.
“I love the small setting. You know everybody, you can actually have real relationships,” he said. “The people really kept me at OKWU.”
He’s been able to prioritize spiritual relationships, too, starting a small group with some friends that’s grown during his time on campus. One man in the group gave his life to Jesus, and Noah was able to baptize another in OKWU’s pond.
“That’s something that really lights me up,” he said. “I think that’s probably what I’m most proud of in my academic career.”
Kyle White, Vice President for Student Development, has had a unique viewpoint on Noah’s journey, and he’s excited to see what the future holds for him.
“Noah is the type of man that is reflective and brutally honest with himself,” he said. “He desires to be better in everything he does. I’ve watched him dig deep and become a stronger student, better leader, and a true man of God on campus.”
There will certainly be plenty of professional opportunities for Ross after he walks across the graduation stage this December, but he’s not letting himself become fixated on predicting his future. He’s content to see what happens.
“Right now, I’m just keeping an open mind and trying to see what doors open up,” he said.
It’s an attitude of quiet confidence, a carefully cultivated mindset that’s been hard-won. It’s the advice he’d give to others, too—and, looking back at his own academic career, the advice that he’d give to a younger version of himself if he could.
“I would say it’s all going to work itself out,” he said. “[I’d say] to not worry, to relax a little more, and to enjoy the ride a little more.”
Get more information on the Chesapeake Energy School of Business here.