Marcus May Knows Basketball, Banking, and the Box Office

In life, there is sometimes a game-changing moment. That one point beyond which everything is forever different. For Kelley School of Business alumnus Marcus May (BS’03), that moment came during his senior year, when the IUPUI men’s basketball team won the Mid-Continent Conference tournament, earning the school its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.

“That’s the last time IUPUI has ever qualified, and it was a huge deal,” remembers May, who received his marketing degree from Kelley the same year. “It was gratifying for IUPUI to be in the big dance. We played the No. 1 seed Kentucky in the first round, and although we didn't prevail that night, it was an incredible experience.”

The 2003 Jaguars were a much-anticipated team, promoted publicly on billboards, on the side of buses, and in life-sized banners. May, a pivotal player, felt compelled to slam-dunk the athletic expectations the community set for him, while not dropping the ball on his academic course load at the Kelley School.

“The year we made it to the tournament really prepared me for managing my time professionally,” says May, who now works as a relationship manager at Chase Bank in Indianapolis. “Time management is one of the most important aspects of what I do today. What that meant in college is that if we had an away game on the West Coast, I made sure to have my books, so I could keep up with my studies.”

The next pivotal moment that helped to shape May’s future was graduating with a Kelley degree. Without it, he may not have landed his first job interview at Chase Bank in New York City.

“After I moved to New York, I remember sitting down with a woman from JP Morgan Chase as she looked over my résumé,” remembers May. “She said, ‘Oh, Kelley School of Business — I've read about them.’ Having someone on the East Coast recognize Kelley and know how powerful this degree is one of the main reasons I landed the job. I still work for Chase Bank, and I’m very proud to say I’m a Kelley School of Business graduate.”

A double major in marketing and market distribution, May believes his college experience prepared him to face the business world by equipping him with a wide variety of skills: from the accounting background used to determine if a company qualifies for a loan, to the marketing he uses to sell Chase products.

It also positioned him to successfully pursue an off-the-court passion: theater. Recently, May’s first play, “Sacrifice,” debuted with two sold-out shows in Indianapolis. An encore presentation of the production is being held Friday night (March 21) at the Pike Performing Arts Center.

“When you’re producing a show, you must create a budget, cast the actors (right), and scout locations,” says May. “In addition to exercising your creativity, you’re basically taking on a business endeavor. Business and producing go hand-in-hand.”

May’s advice to other college athletes is to work closely with their advisors to carefully plan their academic years and stay on schedule. Initially an engineering major, May also recommends that students take their time deciding what fields to pursue. But mostly, he says, set goals and be confident in your ability to achieve them.

“No goal is too small. Conquer one thing and move forward,” May says. “The good thing about the Kelley School of Business is you have to clear competitive hurdles to be admitted, so once you've made it that far, the momentum comes naturally. I would tell student-athletes to have faith, set goals, and be confident. Your hard work will pay off."