At its Twinsburg, Ohio headquarters, Q Holding endured a major shakeup when their CEO left. After the shuffle, they took a chance on a recent graduate to cover the looming hole in their executive team. Three days after graduating from Lake Erie College this past May, Nemanja Josic began working at the company as a financial analyst using Microsoft Excel, their main analytical tool.
And “excel” he did. The accounting and finance double major recently advanced to Senior Financial Analyst and completed his first close.
“After two months, my supervisor, the current CFO, told me that I completed the work he expected would take six months,” said Josic. “He was impressed with my sense of urgency, accuracy, creativity and analytical skills, and as a result I got promoted.”
Josic landed a major break. Q Holding is a private equity firm with 3,000 employees and custom components manufacturing facilities in the US, Mexico, Slovakia, England, Israel, India and China.
From Subotica, Serbia, 23-year-old Nemanja Josic has risen swiftly. Last spring, he demonstrated his talents at LEC’s ideaLabs competition, placing first among peers with his presentation titled “Solar Toys.”
The alumnus first determined to come to the US at the age of 12, and he learned English in his gap year. Lake Erie College’s sports, promising academics and small class environment drew him to Ohio. When he began as an accounting intern at the College, his coworkers had to remind him of the Latin alphabetical filing order.
His entrepreneurial talent was tapped by the Downtown Painesville Organization (DPO) for Solution Seekers, a student subcommittee created to build connections between LEC students and local businesses through focus groups and word of mouth marketing. His faculty mentors, Jeff Eakin, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), and Peter Apicella, entrepreneur-in-residence, challenged the subcommittee to solve the ‘downtown problem’ and present their plans to the DPO.
In 2016, Josic added first place Solution Seeker to his growing list of achievements. He placed second the following year.
Minted in 2007, the CFE inspires students to expand their ability, confidence and willingness to start and grow successful ventures. Through coordinated efforts across the Learning Communities at Lake Erie College and throughout the Northeast Ohio business community, the group provides opportunities for students to explore problems and develop ideas beyond the classroom. Those involved begin to see themselves as creative entrepreneurs whose passions can enlarge the value of their communities.
A strong contender, Josic took advantage of every competition organized by the CFE. In 2015, he teamed up with a group of LEC students for Entrepreneurship Immersion Week. As part of the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC), the CFE joins ten other regional institutions to hold this intensive one-week, academic immersion experience for undergraduates from all disciplines. Participants develop business concepts and apply their skills in a team-based competition.
The EEC also sponsors ideaLabs, a business competition. In 2015, Josic tackled entrepreneurs’ most nerve-wracking chore: pitching his idea to around 100 people. He won. Two years later, he was a repeat success.
After reviewing the old tape of his first winning presentation, Josic reflected on both feats. He had learned to analyze global problems, find solutions, develop a business plan and communicate his idea to the public. By his second bid, he was more articulate. His proposal was clearer.
Accumulated experience braced him for the process, which included plentiful research and development. To gain the advantage, he read three books on solar panels and consulted three electrical engineers. His ensuing plan and presentation surpassed the requirements of the competition.
Experiential learning has become a standard expectation for mere entry level job applicants, and internships are customary. Josic completed three in total.
“Every step of the way, I climbed further, gradually progressing toward what I actually wanted,” said Josic. “Every internship exposed me to real world of accounting, I had to be detail-oriented, work hard and apply my accounting and finance knowledge.”
After leaving the accounting department at LEC, he interned with Parker Hannifin in an internal auditing capacity. He moved on to a tax internship with NMS, Inc. in Chardon, Ohio, where he felt within an arm’s length of his career goals.
Accounting and finance faculty at the College shaped his critical mind, providing a wide professional background. Now, he is driven to specialize.
“I believe that technology is the driving force in our economy,” said Josic, whose ultimate objective is to become a technology entrepreneur. Democracy, economic growth and technology depend on one another, according to one of his favorite tech entrepreneurs.
“I like the process of creation. The idea of having my own business while trying to improve the world excites me,” he added. He plans to start online engineering courses soon and continue absorbing knowledge from the world of business.
To learn more about the LEC Center for Entrepreneurship https://www.lec.edu/