Michael Cizek poses with a classic car
Cizek at the Second Annual Great Gainesville Car Show, a fundraiser he was inspired to start because of his time at Warrington.

Warrington: A College Focused on More Than Academics

By Michael Cizek

Ever wonder about the difference between a college and a university? A university requires students to take broad academic coursework, giving the pupil a “universal” educational experience. That’s why it’s called a university. Cool, huh? But a college focuses specifically on applicable coursework. That’s why the Warrington College of Business doesn’t require general education classes and focuses exclusively on business coursework. So, to graduate from UF with a degree from Warrington, one must fulfill the “universal” education requirements of UF, and the business coursework at Warrington for degree-specific knowledge.

Coming from rainy Seattle, I have friends who go to schools all over the country. When we’re able to catch up over breaks, they describe their college experience almost exclusively from an academic perspective. Classes are king. But I have noticed a shift at UF that both students and employers love: extracurriculars are back!

Not only relegated to the ranks of high school athletics or the ever-popular chess club, extra-curricular activities are where we learn by doing. One of Amazon’s corporate values is to, “have a bias towards action.” Like any “real-world” business, growth happens when taking action. Warrington intentionally encourages this mantra of action by hosting 39 college-affiliated extra-curricular organizations.

On a more personal note, by encouraging me to be involved outside of the classroom, I was enabled to vastly improve the ever-important soft skills. But more than just soft-skills, I directly attribute my extra-curricular involvement to my ability to land internships, and ultimately, a full-time job. Why? Employers aren’t just looking for a high GPA anymore. While grades are still important, the extracurriculars one does outside of the classroom better showcase a job candidate’s work-ethic, attitude, and ability to quickly learn than simply having a 4.0.

In four short years in Gainesville, I lived out a short-term American Dream. When I arrived in August of 2014, I didn’t know a soul at UF. I was enabled to grow outside of the classroom by Warrington in organizations like the Florida Business Leadership Society, Career and Academic Peer Mentors, and the Florida Leadership Academy. Even more so, as a Warrington student, I was encouraged to start something myself, so I started the Great Gainesville Car Show, an annual community car gathering that raises thousands for a local non-profit. Warrington’s extracurriculars culminated in my leading the Mr. Two Bits cheer against East Carolina University in The Swamp in 2015, becoming the 2017 Homecoming King, being inducted into the UF Hall of Fame, and most importantly, successfully landing my first full-time gig.

I graduate this Friday with a Master of International Business degree after having graduated last December with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Later this month, I’ll be starting as a Business Development Representative with Zoom Video Communications in Denver, Colorado. I am a proud product of Warrington and am exuberant with the College’s direction and leadership. Watch out, with Business Gators learning more than simply academics, Warrington students will continue to lead the world’s top companies.