Marius Young, ’18, is used to keeping a lot of balls in the air.
Between a recently declared political science major, six days a week on the football field as a center for the Spiders, and a handful of extracurricular involvements, Young has become adept at balancing priorities.
“It takes a lot of planning ahead,” he said. “You just have to focus on what you want to get done.”
That outlook was one he encountered in action this winter in a Spider Shadowing experience that took him to City Hall under the wing of Jack Reagan, B’89, to see how the process of a city audit unfolds.
“It was interesting to see how it works when you really have to sit down to decide who is going to get funding,” he said. “To see where they have to cut costs, where they have extra money, where they have to open up new bonds, all sorts of things like that.”
Although such a large-scale audit takes several months to complete, Young’s shadowing experience not only let him see the nuts and bolts of the audit — which he described as “a lot of number crunching, a lot of fact checking” — but also allowed him to sit in on the weekly status meetings where Reagan’s firm, Grant Thornton, comes together with the city leadership, including the mayor and the chief administrative and financial officers, to figure out where Richmond is in the process.
Young may have no intention of becoming an auditor, but the experience, he said, was valuable in seeing how people work on a day-to-day basis.
“I learned how most professional meetings are run, both in person and conference calls,” he said. “I learned the basics of an audit, and that was also something that was nice to get my hands on.”
“I think he [got] a perspective on some of the day-in, day-out responsibilities of the new professional that you can’t really get from textbooks,” said Reagan. “When everybody thinks of politics, they think of the policies that get enacted. What this did was open his eyes to how it’s all funded.”
For Young, that insight may prove helpful down the road. He expressed interest in another shadowing experience in the future — particularly one that would let him work with the governmental leadership on the other side of the auditing table — and has already lined up an internship for this summer working in the office of Todd Haymore, R’91, Virginia’s secretary of agriculture and forestry. There, he said, he’ll be able to gain some hard skills and begin to build his own professional network.
Looking back on his day with Young, Reagan expressed confidence in the sophomore’s future: “He’s an exceptionally talented young man.”
“He fit right in on the day he was there,” he summed up.
In the meantime, Young is keeping busy. He’s a singer with Richmond’s well-loved Choeur du Roi, and a member of Future American Men of Excellence (FAME), a campus group that focuses on building relationships among the campus’s men and providing such community services as mentoring. This past semester, when a gap in the group’s leadership opened up, Young was quick to step up as president.
“Somebody needed to do it,” he said. “I thought what we were doing was helping and it was good, so I wanted to do what I could to continue that.”
Although he was quick to say that he was still learning the ropes of the job, his experience as president may also give Young some valuable experience in learning the skills of governance.
After all, as he said, “If you’re going to become a government for the people, you have to be a leader.”