DeZube finds passion by combining business, finance and tech

· 4 min read

DeZube finds passion by combining business, finance and tech

Nebraska's Samuel DeZube graduates Dec. 16 and will go on to work as a business operations analyst in Omaha.
Atali Benimana | Business
Nebraska's Samuel DeZube graduates Dec. 16 and will go on to work as a business operations analyst in Omaha.

Taking the advice he received as a high school student, finance major Samuel DeZube sought to find passions he could build his life around. The Stilwell, Kansas, native got involved in a student-led venture capital fund and found his future by combining business, finance and tech.

“Being involved on campus has been the most enriching part of my college experience and allowed me to expand my horizons past anything I could have imagined when first coming to Nebraska,” he said. “I have learned and experienced so much and have met so many incredible people I otherwise would have never known.”

His friends hail from different parts of campus, including classmates in the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers and people he met through the Husker Venture Fund. Off-campus, he is the lead singer in an indie rock band called Loose Change. The five-member group often plays at Duffy’s Tavern downtown.

“In my free time, I spend a lot of time surrounded by music. I’m practicing with my band and writing new songs,” he said. “What inspires me are the people who are unapologetically unique. They pave their own path, make mistakes and continue to learn and grow.”

For DeZube, his path at the university included discovering his true passions. He started college thinking he would become a software engineer, and after two academic major changes, he found his future in finance. He thoroughly enjoyed taking Investment Principles (FINA 363) with Geoffrey Friesen, associate professor of finance, who hosted a friendly but competitive portfolio investment contest in class.

“Not only did Dr. Friesen help me apply the core concepts to real-world applications, but he expanded the curriculum to provide critical ways of thinking about current events and markets,” DeZube said.

These class discussions played a role in preparing DeZube to navigate current affairs and how they impact finance and the economy.

“Samuel was among a good group of students who liked thinking deeply and critically about finance, markets and government intervention in markets,” Friesen said. “Because finance is such a ‘technical’ discipline, it is easy to fall into a trap where we think we can calculate our way to every answer. Sometimes important decisions go beyond mere calculations, and we only realize this when we are willing to engage in constructive conversations and disagreements about current events in finance and the broader political economy.”

DeZube also joined the founding cohort of the Husker Venture Fund (HVF). Built by alumni and university supporters, the HVF offers hands-on investment experience to students of any major while providing funding to early-stage startups in Nebraska. Students in the HVF also learn from and are managed by their peers.

“The fact that we are entirely student-led makes us unique. This means that everything from screening companies, completing due diligence to actually voting on investments is entirely done by students. This gives our members experience that is as close to real-world venture investing as possible,” DeZube said, who served as a managing director.

He and a team of HVF students went up against Goliath-sized universities with deep roots in the venture capital world in the New England Regional Venture Capital Investment Competition. They defeated teams from Dartmouth and New York University to advance to the global competition, where they took third place.

“If you are interested in venture capital or startups, there is no better way to learn than joining the Husker Venture Fund. In two years, we’ve invested over $150,000 into Nebraska and growing the Silicon Prairie,” he said.

Becoming active in Nebraska’s entrepreneurial community led him toward opportunities like serving as an investment intern for Nebraska Angels and an innovation development summer analyst for JPMorgan Chase. Attending an entrepreneurship event connected him to meet his future employer, a software startup called Workshop in Omaha, Neb.

“I attended a 1 Million Cups Lincoln event where Derek Homann spoke about building his startup called Workshop. They were in the early stages of the company, with less than 10 employees at the time, but I knew they were building something special. Since that day, I have been cheering them on from the sidelines, watching the team and the email platform grow, and I was even a user of their product for two different organizations,” he said. “Now I’m ecstatic to join them in January as a business operations analyst.”

Before DeZube begins at Workshop helping workplaces with their internal communications, he plans to spend time with one more of his passions – snowboarding.

“I love to snowboard and plan to celebrate graduation by taking a month-long trip before starting work,” he said.

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