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Class of 2021: after throwing everything he had on his student loans – including his car – Joel Rosback graduates debt-free – VCU News


Joel Rosback is graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business in Supply Chain Management this semester in an enviable position. He has no debt, let alone a full time job awaiting him.

“The feeling of being a debt-free graduate is incredible,” said Rosback. “I know I can go out in the world and do almost anything without worrying about having to pay. It’s liberating.

After high school, Rosback planned to go to Virginia Tech, but he couldn’t stand the thought of taking out student loans. Instead, he attended J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to save money while taking basic classes. He was completely independent, working full time to support himself.

After deciding to move to Virginia Commonwealth University in 2019, he knew he would have to take out student loans. But that pales in comparison to the $ 25,000 he spent on a 2018 Honda Accord. It was the first time he had taken on huge amounts of debt, but others encouraged him to do so. “I really felt pushed by those around me at the time to get the car and also to get a nice car,” he said.

About a year ago, his debt was about $ 36,000 – $ 24,000 for the car loan and $ 12,000 for student loans.

“I knew I didn’t want to graduate with this debt, so I had to find a way to pay these things off as quickly as possible,” said Rosback, grateful to evangelical Christian personal finance guru Dave Ramsey for encouraging her. success.

“Since my student loans didn’t charge interest, I worked on paying off my car first, which meant I threw everything I had on it,” Rosback said. “It included extra income from work, bonuses, extra financial assistance, tax returns, and all the COVID money everyone got.”

It worked. By early 2021, he had paid off his car and some of his student loans, reducing his total debt to around $ 10,000.

But any satisfaction he felt was short-lived. Five weeks after paying off the car, he was sick of the $ 10,000 student debt hanging over him. So he sold the car almost as much as he paid for it and paid off the rest of his student loans.

“I still don’t have a car to this day, and I’ll try to hold on for as long as possible,” said Rosback. “If I could go back and do it a different way, I would definitely try to get a cheaper car. … When I buy a car, it will be in cash.

Rosback should have no problem saving for this car. In January, he began working at DuPont as an asset planner for the Tyvek® team at the Richmond plant.

Originally a marketing graduate, Rosback moved on to supply chain management and analysis after the department’s David Berdish spoke about concentration in a business foundation course.

“He discussed all of the field opportunities and skills needed, such as analytical and critical thinking,” Rosback said. “I consider myself to be a very analytical and critical person so after hearing about it I immediately knew that supply chain was the career path for me. “

Soon after, Rosback knew he wanted to get involved in the community for social and professional aspects. But he couldn’t find groups specifically aimed at supply chain students.

“I felt very frustrated and like I was at a disadvantage in terms of learning potential and experience,” he said. His girlfriend convinced him to start his own organization. So he founded the VCU chapter of Sigma Chi Mu Tau, the honorary supply chain management company.

His fondest memory is that of the honor society that sponsors the “Beer Game” supply chain. The game, aka the beer dispensing game, exemplifies the boost effect, which occurs in the supply chain when excess inventory results in lost sales opportunities. Four players – the retailer, wholesaler, distributor and manufacturer – represent various groups in the supply chain. When an unusually large amount of beer is purchased from the retailer, this information travels up the chain, causing a brother of FOMO – the fear of functioning of beer, leading the manufacturer to produce more.

“It was the moment for me that I knew that Sigma Chi Mu Tau can do a lot and can do a lot to support our members. It made me very excited about the future of the Honor Society.

Berdish, who spent over 30 years as Director of Social Sustainability at Ford Motor Co., and now teaches at VCU, chairs the Honor Society and predicts Rosback will be successful in his career.

“He has a terrific work ethic and has balanced his academics and the launch of the VCU Honor Society Sigma Chi Mu Tau chapter,” Berdish said. “I was impressed with his ability to think ‘in systems’. Supply chain management requires the discipline to understand the relationships and holistic – nonlinear – connection of supply, operations and distribution. Joel isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and go into detail.

When Rosback came to VCU, he said he didn’t know the supply chain was on offer, but was glad he found it.

“The reason I came to VCU in general was to be able to be close to home, to save money and I knew VCU School of Business was a top school,” he said. declared.