Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor
USC athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond, and pool, they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our student-athlete spotlight.
Name: Kevin Swick
Major: Business Finance
Sarah Bergstrom (SB): How much of a factor was academics in choosing to attend USC?
Kevin Swick (KS): I picked USC pretty much purely for academics. I was a walk-on my freshman year, so I came here primarily for the business school. Academics was a huge part of my decision to come here along with the fact that being a Trojan runs in my family, I'm a third generation Trojan.
SB: I read that you are president of the USC Value Investing Group...Explain what you do with that.
KS: It goes on during the school year. We travel to different stock competitions around the country and make stock pitches to real investment firms. It's been a great thing to be a part of. A lot of people mentored me when I was a freshman and sophomore and I've learned a lot of life lessons.
SB: Are other athletes involved?
KS: (laughs) No, I'm the only athlete.
SB: Has it been hard to maintain success on the field and in your classes?
KS: You kind of get into a routine. Freshman year was definitely hard but you figure it out after that. You definitely learn time management. Someone told me once that you can only do three things in college. I have baseball, school, and VIG. I've definitely had to give up some of the social aspects of college but that's okay with me. I absolutely love baseball and my academics.
SB: Speaking of balance, is it true that you played summer ball in Alaska and interned at an investment firm? How did you manage that?
KS: Yeah...I was busy. I interned at an asset management firm in Alaska called Permanent Capital Management. I would work from about 5 A.M. to 12 or 1 P.M. every day and then play baseball until it was dark. It was a lot of fun.
SB: Has any of your business knowledge helped you in baseball? Or vice versa?
KS: I think one thing is learning that what you put into something is what you get out of it. The more time and work you put into baseball the better the results, the same goes for investing. And I've definitely learned a ton from playing baseball. I've learned how to fail. You fail so much in baseball and in investing you fail a lot too. It's helped me learn how to manage that psychologically. Baseball has taught me not to make ridiculous risks when you lose, which is important in business.
SB: What is the best class you've taken here?
KS: Probably History of California or Valuation.
SB: History of California? A GE? Don't you learn about that in 4th grade?
KS: Yeah (laughs) it was actually super interesting! There was this Wall Street Journal reporter who wrote a piece following the lives of this illegal immigrant family who came from Mexico. I thought it was a great class.
SB: I also read that you volunteer on Skid Row. Is volunteerism an important part of your life?
KS: Absolutely. I really enjoy giving back. One day I hope to start something in the community that teaches basic economics in elementary schools. I've recently been working in nearby elementary schools and I learned that 50% of the kids I work with won't go to high school. That's crazy! I want to do something to help change that.
SB: What do you want your legacy to be when you leave USC?
KS: I want to be remembered as being a man for others. That I gave back to my team and helped the baseball program get back to where it used to be. And in terms of academics, I want to pay it forward. So many people helped and mentored me and I want to do the same.