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Not your average student club

Justin Simbol

Justin Simbol, senior finance and economics major, changed course radically just after coming to North Central. With guidance and support, he found his way to friends, travel, a plan for the future, and the means to genuinely change the world.

Why did you choose North Central?

I loved the campus the moment I stepped foot on it. During that first visit, I actually didn't realize I was on campus because North Central is integrated within the Naperville community—which is my favorite part. Downtown Naperville, located just steps from campus, makes North Central special. It is full of opportunities both personally and professionally.

Coffee Lab

Can you tell us about yourself and what you’re involved in at North Central?

Originally, I was a physics major but quickly realized that wasn’t what I was passionate about. In my first year, I sat down with my academic advisor to discuss my options. Through that conversation, I determined I was interested in finance and economics. That was one of the best and biggest decisions I made in my time at North Central. My counselor recommended an interdisciplinary studies class involving coffee and the coffee business. I took the class and the professor actually became one of my greatest mentors. He was also the advisor for a student club called Enactus, an organization dedicated to helping small local and global entrepreneurs become financially sustainable. This organization opened my eyes to social justice, social change and environmental sustainability.

Justin Simbol holding a basket

Enactus sounds like a unique experience, what impact has it made on your time at North Central?

Once I learned more about what coffee means to the communities in the Guatemalan Highlands, I knew I had to get involved. Through Enactus, I’ve traveled to Guatemala twice, Seattle once, and Kansas City a few times. These experiences helped me break out of my shell and gave me the direction needed to start developing my postgraduate plans. I was able to travel there and meet directly with the farmers and learn their stories, and we turned that experience into a coffee company and lab right here on campus. North Central's Coffee Lab is one of a few collegiate facilities of its kind in the United States. I’m able to take what I’m learning in class and apply it not just locally, but globally.


How has Enactus and your time at North Central shaped your future plans?

I plan to pursue my law degree and master of business administration (MBA). North Central has taught me to be flexible and open to new opportunities. Enactus opened my mind to the idea of an MBA by exposing me to a lot of great small business owners. I wanted to fight for the organizations that don’t feel supported or like they have a voice. There's a lot of value in small businesses and I truly believe that that's what our economy runs on.

What is your advice for students just starting their college experience?

Be proactive about getting involved. I met some great people through Enactus and I now consider them family. There's something about being a part of an organization that's different than just working on a group project or doing homework together. These are the relationships that will matter long after you graduate.

Students in Guatemala