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W&L Outcomes: Jackson Hotchkiss ’24 Hotchkiss is spending the next year competing in professional cycling events.

Jackson-Hotchkiss-scaled-600x400 W&L Outcomes: Jackson Hotchkiss ’24

Jackson Hotchkiss ’24
Hometown: Lexington, Virginia
Major: Business administration and environmental economics

What will you be doing after graduation?

I am taking a year to race professionally on the mountain and gravel bike and compete in events all over the United States. I will be moving to Greenville, South Carolina, to train and live with some teammates full-time. This environment will allow me to fully immerse myself in the sport.

How did your career plans evolve over the course of your time at W&L?

When I first started at W&L, I had no clue what I wanted to do. However, over my four years, I discovered a passion for creating sustainable solutions for the environment around us. With this in mind, my hopes going forward are to pursue a master’s in sustainable development with a policy focus.

What internships or other summer experiences did you partake in, and how did those experiences shape you and your career plans?

Due to racing at such a high level throughout my college career, I never had a formal internship. Instead, I ran a small handyman business with one of my best friends from high school. It was a great experience and showed me firsthand how to run a small business.

How did the Office of Career and Professional Development support you, and which resources did you find most helpful?

I found that my meetings with the career fellows were the most helpful. They helped by revising my resume, helping me write cover letters and preparing me for interviews.

What did you study at W&L, and what skills or learnings will you take from your academic experience into the professional world?

I was a double major in business administration and environmental economics. If I had to pick one takeaway from both of these majors, it would be that no matter what job you are in, you will always have to juggle stakeholder conflicts. With aspirations to go into the environmental field, specifically working with policy, it’s important to know your stakeholders and what they care about. I learned you need to meet stakeholders where they are instead of explaining things through a lens that they have no relation to.

What clubs, organizations, athletic teams or other extracurriculars were you involved in that had an impact on you?

I was a member of the Cycling Club, the Outing Club and the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. While I didn’t dedicate as much time to any of these as I had hoped, they allowed me to form friendships I would have for the rest of my life.

Who or what has inspired you along the way?

For me, my biggest inspiration came from my time studying in Denmark and Sweden. While there I took a class called Social Innovation in Scandinavia. It was here that I really learned what I wanted to do for a career going forward.

Did you connect with alumni during your career development process?

I connected with several alumni. Most notably I talked with with Deets Hoffman ’10, founder and president of Leaf and Grain. Deets helped me with my personal branding and gave me valuable tips on how to approach and sell myself to potential partners. This has set me up well for my 2024 season as I used these skills to land some of my largest sponsors.

What career-related advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?

If you want something, go get it. If college has taught me anything, it’s that hard work and consistency will take you much further than talent ever will. For me, this became most present with my athletics, but I also saw the value of this in the classroom. Hard work does not go unnoticed, and it might just open the door you have been waiting for.