Aspiring to greatness: Kelley Indianapolis undergrad overcomes loss and excels
To say Jacey Stuckey has overcome is an understatement.
Her drive, motivation and determination will inspire you – even after just one conversation.
Stuckey grew up in rural South Carolina, and after losing her mother and uncle at age 14, she wasn’t sure if college was in the cards for her.
What seemed unlikely became possible because of Jacey’s tenacity to persevere.
She became determined to get the best grades she could in high school so she could attend college. Now she’s putting herself through school at IUPUI mostly with scholarships.
“Nothing great ever comes from being in your comfort zone all the time,” Jacey said. “My advice: Push yourself even if you feel like you’re doing something no one else is doing yet, even if you feel like others will judge you or think you’re crazy.
“A lot of people told me I couldn’t go to college. They said I didn’t have the grades or the money. But here I am, in college, in a different state. If I hadn’t pushed myself, I may still be in that small town in South Carolina — Maybe not in school at all. But here I am.”
Jacey packed all her belongings in a U-Haul truck at age 18 to come to Indianapolis; she had big dreams of pursuing her passions in entrepreneurship, real estate and private equity.
Jacey was directly admitted to the Kelley School at IUPUI and is also in the Honors College. She’ll graduate in December 2019.
Jacey has excelled at the Kelley School in every sense of the word: Most recently, she was named a
Top 100 student at IUPUI. Her team also won first place in the first annual CFA Research Competition held in Indianapolis, and they will compete in the regional competition in New York at the end of April. Not only that, but her team won 1st place in the semi-finals and 4th place globally in the Cornell Commercial Real Estate Case Competition in November.
“Always push yourself beyond what you imagine you can achieve,” she said. “You have to identify your goal—your dreams, really—and set a path to accomplish it. Even if you aren’t where you intended to be, you’re often in a better position than if you hadn’t done anything at all.”
Jacey is pursuing finance and international studies majors with a minor in economics.
“I found my passion in determining underlying value and making predictions,” she explained. “There are many different ways for people and firms to ‘put their money to work.’ With investments, there are a great deal of technical skills, research and luck involved with making the investment bring desired returns. It’s both an art and a science, in my opinion. The investment field is so diverse; this is something I believe I could never get tired of.”
Jacey is currently the president of the Finance & Investment Club. She just finished the real estate workshop course that’s now offered at the Kelley School at IUPUI as well.
Throughout her time at Kelley, Stuckey was vice president of the Entrepreneurship Club at IUPUI, a senator for two years in the Undergraduate Student Government and she’s been involved in two national diversity organizations: Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and UNCF Koch Scholars.
“When I graduate, I want to work in private equity. I had an internship in private equity in Boston last summer, and I have another set up for this summer in Chicago. I’ve discovered that’s where my true passion lies. Being able to interview for my dream firms – and make it to the final rounds – has been a defining moment for me. I’ve learned I can compete with the best of the best, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. In the future, I would like my own private equity firm,” she explained.
To other students considering college and especially to those who aren’t sure if it’s feasible, Jacey says it is.
“So many students don’t take advantage of available scholarships. At age 16, when I started thinking about colleges, I knew I needed to apply for scholarships to get anywhere. A lot of students don’t take advantage of this, and some scholarships go unawarded simply because no one applies. You’ll never be in the applicant pool unless you apply,” she added.
In fact, Jacey was able to go to Vienna and Prague through two study abroad scholarships. She says it’s a reminder to others — anything is possible.
“Know what you want to do, and figure out a way to make it happen,” said Jacey. “It’s what I’ve always done. It just takes a bit of will power, focus and grit along the way.”
On her LinkedIn profile, Jacey notes a quote from British Navy Captain James Cook: “Do, just once, what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”
There are clearly no limits for Jacey Stuckey and those like her who aspire toward greatness.
This story was first published in December, 2017 and was updated in March, 2019.