Matthew Payeff doesn’t measure his success by the number of student organizations he joined or internships he completed.
Rather, it’s what these experiences have taught him about himself and the business world that define his achievement.
Payeff is set to graduate this December with degrees in finance and operations and supply chain management from the John B. and Lillian E. Neff College of Business and Innovation.
“I love how the business environment requires collaboration, creativity and is constantly changing every day,” Payeff said. “This really influenced me because with these majors, I am able to understand all parts and flows of a business while being able to work and collaborate with different portions of the business.”
Becoming a Rocket was a family affair for the Toledo native.
Growing up, Payeff went to football games in the Glass Bowl with his father and brother, and became familiar with the life of a Rocket from an early age. His grandfather, father and older brother all graduated from UToledo.
Nearly two decades later, Payeff, 22, is set to become the latest alumnus in his family.
And his hard work as a student has paid off. He has already started his post-graduation role with Toyota — whom he has been working with since September — as a purchasing supplier development analyst.
His success in starting his full-time position before walking the stage at Commencement is the culmination of his student organization experiences, internships and encouragement from faculty mentors about reaching for all opportunities.
Although Payeff credits others around him for guiding his success, Amy O’Donnell, Distinguished University Lecturer, says he did it all on his own. O’Donnell first met Payeff when he was a student in her Career Development classes.
“I knew from the start that Matt was going to rock at anything he pursued,” O’Donnell said. “He did all the right things: introduced himself before our first course together even began, engaged regularly in in-class dialogue, and stopped by my office frequently to provide updates on his job search, or even just to check in on me. He is a masterful networker.
“I am not surprised in the least by his success and thrilled to follow his professional journey.”
Payeff is a member of Pi Sigma Epsilon, a professional business fraternity, where he led numerous committees and served as vice president of human resources in 2020. In this role, he organized recruitment events each semester for Pi Sigma Epsilon. Because of Payeff’s hard work, UToledo’s chapter won first place as the top chapter recruitment program team at the organization’s national convention.
He also was involved in the KLAR Leadership Academy, where he collaborated with fellow business students to grow their leadership skills.
“I learned that being flexible and being comfortable with being uncomfortable is how to fully engage in these organizations,” Payeff said. “To better yourself personally and professionally, it is pushing the limits of what you know and exploring learning new things.”
And even as the pandemic upended the most routine plans for many of us, Payeff still completed two internships at well-known national companies in the Toledo area: The Anderson’s and Whirlpool. As a result, he learned firsthand about being prepared for the unpredictable.
“I was able to build my experience in the soft professional skills such as professionalism, communication skills and building knowledge of applying the terms and concepts in the classroom to the real world,” Payeff said. “All of my internships were remote and being able to learn different communication tools while navigating through learning the different corporate cultures was vital to my professional success.
“These experiences taught me that life is not always smooth and sometimes, taking the extra steps to adapt and be ready for when life causes issues can make you a better person overall.”