Fernando Campos’ interest in business developed at an early age. “I remember running a small, out-of-the-backpack business in middle school and high school, selling candy I had bought at Costco to my friends,” he said. Watching his parents launch their own businesses – his mother in architecture/interior design and his father in real estate development – also was a major influence.
Despite his interest in business, he initially enrolled at the Virginia Military Institute, where he gained leadership and discipline skills while maintaining a 3.8 grade point average. But the call of a business degree eventually led him to transfer to USC Marshall in his third year. “Growing up in Northern California, USC always seemed like the ideal school – great weather, strong academics and a lot of pride in the Trojan family.”
With a concentration in international business, he hoped to study abroad. “I didn’t think as a transfer student I would have enough time to do that,” he said. “But I found out with the Marshall program, it didn’t slow me down for graduation.”
He spent a semester at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he took courses in human resources management, global strategy, global marketing management and consumer behavior. “It was an amazing experience, and definitely out of my comfort zone.”
Campos also will spend this July in Botswana, along with eight other USC volunteers who will serve as “conservation coaches,” teaching elementary school children about environmental conservation and AIDS awareness, while coaching soccer.
The best part of the overall program, he said, has been the USC Marshall community. “Just being surrounded by really motivated and well-rounded people every day has bettered me as a person,” he said. He particularly feels connected with friends he has made through Delta Sigma Pi, the professional business fraternity where he served as vice president of pledge education, as well as his social fraternity, Zeta Beta Tau. “A lot of friends that I’ve made at Marshall and USC, I know will be lifelong friends and hopefully even business partners someday.”
He is beginning his career at KPMG in downtown Los Angeles as an associate in the structured finance group. Eventually he plans to earn his MBA and start his own investment firm. That goal developed after he garnered a spot among 20 classmates on the weeklong USC Marshall New York leadership trip, where he met with investment bankers at a number of firms in the city. “Seeing their work ethic, the knowledge they have gained, how well they will be placed after they leave investment banking was incredibly motivating to me.”
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