After simply trying out for a spot on the soccer roster as an incoming freshman, McCarvel left Dominican as its all-time leading goal scorer who was one of the inaugural inductees into the Penguins’ Athletic Hall of Fame. Since then, he’s pursued an entrepreneurial career that began with co-owning The Dive Bakery Cafe and now has taken him to Chile to learn Spanish, where he is applying his new MBA degree from Seattle University. In between, McCarvel played professional soccer in Ireland, and worked for Crocs Inc. in Singapore and Hong Kong where he traveled throughout Asia, Australia and South Africa on business. Last July, he completed a cultural intelligence course in Guatemala that so impacted him that he returned in December as a facilitator.
The Dominican soccer player reputed for his goal-scoring ability is prospering in the international business world with a shoot-from-the-hip style.
“Outwardly it would appear that way, but I hope I have more methodology than that,” says McCarvel, who recently launched a start-up tech website (www.themasterswitch.com). “My method is if you work hard, have a good idea, a good plan, and you make an honest, passionate effort you can meet any challenge. I think if you apply that same formula to anything, you can find success.”
Upon graduating from Dominican in 2006 as a double major in International Business Management and Psychology, McCarvel invested in a bakery in his hometown, Helena. He and his business partner took out a five-year loan and, to their surprise, paid it off in 22 months. Eventually, they opened another bakery in Helena and last year sold both at a healthy profit.
“Dominican gave me a lot of confidence to do that sort of thing,” McCarvel says. “Without that experience of the business plan/thesis I learned at Dominican, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. That ties directly back to my experience at Dominican.”
McCarvel also worked as a counselor at St. Vincent’s School for Boys while at Dominican. After graduation, he found his way to Belfast to play soccer for Glentoran FC. It was his second trip to Europe after spending a semester in France as an undergraduate study abroad student.
In 2007, McCarvel was hired by Crocs as a Special Events Coordinator. He was given the choice of working in Colorado or Singapore and accepted the greater of the two challenges, the one taking him out of his comfort zone. All he knew about Singapore was what he read on Wikipedia, he admitted with some embarrassment.
“Having never been to Asia, shipping off to Singapore at age 24 was daunting. Thanks to the open culture at Crocs, I was exposed to so many various business functions in my five years there, and learned more there than I ever could have hoped,” McCarvel says. “Moving from Montana to Singapore -- it might as well been the moon.”
McCarvel kept shooting for the stars. In 2009, he became Digital Marketing Manager for Asia-Pacific at Crocs and moved to Hong Kong. That experience led McCarvel to two more challenges: creating www.themasterswitch.com and pursuing his MBA closer to home.
Getting my MBA was a sort of insurance plan. I had great international experience with a good company, but I knew I wanted to further my education. There are plenty of shoot-from-the-hip entrepreneurs around and the (MBA) gives me some credibility.
He owes a debt of gratitude toward Dominican for that.
“DU changed my life, of course,” McCarvel says. “The wealth of resources available to me during my time at Dominican was extraordinary. Great professors and an open door policy around campus allowed me to grow and mature in any way that I desired. I never recall hearing a ‘no’ if I asked for help. There was always someone willing to walk with you through that extra mile. I hope I can show the same sort of patience and dedication to anyone seeking my assistance or guidance.”
McCarvel has plenty of experiences to draw on to lend advice. In October, he is returning to Singapore to handle some investment properties. In December, he returned to Guatemala, this time to assist in teaching and mentoring students in a cultural intelligence course designed to be more effective across languages, cultures and borders by better understanding yourself and your relationship to a foreign environment.
In January, McCarvel moved to Chile where he will immerse himself in learning a second language while making his website, themasterswitch.com, his first priority.
The former soccer player, who once figured he would be fortunate to travel around the United States, is working on his fifth continent. This is not how and where he envisioned himself to be as an 18-year-old coming to Dominican. His goal was scoring goals.
“My advice to DU undergraduates is two-fold,” McCarvel says. “First, you can get as much out of Dominican as you choose, so get involved with more activities and groups, talk to professors outside of class, and take an extra course or two here or there. It all pays off, one way or another.
“Second, don’t be intimidated by anyone you eventually work with or for after you graduate. Rely on the solid foundation you’ve gotten at DU, work hard and with passion, and you’ll do well in any career you choose.”