Rob Rucki ’24 had his heart set on attending a military academy. He worked hard in high school to get the grades he hoped would get him in.
But when Rucki visited Notre Dame for the first time, his goal changed. Rucki’s family had made a special trip to tour colleges, Rucki from school in New Jersey and his parents from home in Saudi Arabia. Rucki’s parents have taught at international schools all his life and he has lived in a number of cities across the globe, from Brazil to Egypt.
On a whirlwind tour of college visits in the Midwest, the family stopped at Notre Dame. Sitting down for the beginning of an admissions information session, Rucki says he was ready for a run-of-the-mill presentation.
“But they played a 12-minute video at the start and there was just something about that video. I was like, ‘Something is different here,’” he says. His student tour guide and the people he met on campus clinched it—Rucki applied to Notre Dame and was admitted.
Now in his first year, Rucki is certain he made the right choice. He lives in Carroll Hall on campus and loves being part of the unique residential community across the lake. His free time is somewhat limited as he hasn’t given up on his military aspirations. He’s in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) as a Marine Corps member and will go onto the Marine Corps after graduation.
A business major, Rucki is torn between finance and management consulting, both of which appeal to his entrepreneurial spirit.
In high school, Rucki and his friends started a business club and began creating a wristband ID for their school that would function as a student ID. The new ID would use a more contemporary software system, a “digital ecosystem,” which links the “disjointed” platforms the school currently uses, says Rucki.
He has found resources at Notre Dame that will help the group launch their business. For starters, he has become an IDEA Center fellow this year, which has put him in contact with all the center offers, and he is working on submitting the idea to the McCloskey New Venture Competition.
Rucki says that being part of a climate that supports entrepreneurial endeavors has been encouraging. “Being at Notre Dame, I've met twenty students who are doing things at the exact same level. We’re really lucky here...just meeting these like-minded kids, it’s inspiring,” he says.
Rucki looks forward to seeing his business grow in the coming years, along with business acumen. In the meantime, he knows he’s in the right place.