Works for a start-up company based in Silicon Valley that focuses on big-data and the consumer digital experience.
Today we are here with Jason Macaleer, University of Delaware graduate and Men’s Lacrosse Alumni,
TAB: Tell us what position you played and the year you graduated?
JM: I graduated from Delaware way back in 2003, which makes me feel old when I’m forced to think about it like I am right now. In high school I was “recruited” by UD as an attackman, but then switched to midfield during my freshman year. For clarification, by “recruited” I mean I visited UD as a high school senior and coach Shillinglaw drove me around campus in his 1992 Subaru Legacy while reciting the tradition of excellence at UD. I don’t think he knew my name or even that I played lacrosse, but the pile of garbage at my feet convinced me that Shills was a wise man and UD was the right school for me.
TAB: What was your major and at which point in your college career did you to choose that route?
JM: I graduated with a concentration in finance, which came pretty easy to me, so I picked up two minors along the way in Management Information Systems (MIS) and Economics. MIS was a relatively new minor to UD at the time and I liked computers and had an interest in computer programming. Plus, MIS was really hard and I liked the challenge. Then, I picked up the Economics minor because it was apart of an abroad program to Australia, and I wanted the opportunity to travel abroad - I’m so basic - while being able to flex my ability to speak fluent Australian.
TAB: Does your major have a correlation to what you are currently doing today?
JM: Not really. My career has been focused more in the Healthcare IT space. However, Finance is very broad subject and it has utility in a lot of different roles and positions, so it’s been helpful to have a finance background. I’ve been in Healthcare IT for 10+ years focused on both the payer and provider sides working across the healthcare spectrum. I’ve worked with biotech and pharmaceutical companies as well as large hospitals and health systems. More recently, I’ve been working within the population health space via a really innovative start-up company based in Silicon Valley that focuses on big-data and the consumer digital experience. It’s really cool and, believe it or not, there are things from those MIS classes that have come in very handy!
TAB: After graduation, how did you land your first job? Tell us about the career steps you took in getting to your current company and the level you are at today?
JM: I interviewed a lot my senior year and attended all the career fairs. I was interviewing with a lot of insurance companies and positions in the finance industry because I had completed an internship at Citibank during the summer heading into my senior year. The problem was that I wasn’t too interested in those types of jobs or really the finance industry as a whole. So instead, I focused on expanding my network and eventually leveraged a contact in the business school to land a job with Accenture, a global consulting firm. I went to work in their high-tech operating group but then moved over to the healthcare business unit. I landed that job right around graduation, which was great because it came with a signing bonus that I used to help fund a 3-month backpacking trip through Europe with some friends.
TAB: That sounds great, backpacking in Europe on someone else’s dime?
JM: It was great. It was completely unplanned and unexpected so that made the experience even more fun. We had no idea where we would end up or what we would do, but we purchased Euro-Rail passes, which let us ride trains between countries at our discretion so that we could get around Europe very easily. We ended up visiting about 15 different countries and spent every last. One of the guys I traveled with is a good friend, Cullen Roberts, who was a fellow lacrosse player at UD, and he would welcome the chance to tell you some stories about that trip.
TAB: Who do you remember being one of the biggest “characters” on the team when you played?
JM: He wasn’t a player at the time, but rather one of the coaches - John Grant. He was by far the most memorable and loudest guy that I remember from the team. He was a lot of fun to hang around with on the sidelines where I spent most of my time – actually, all of my time. I still use some of his one-liners to this day and his thick Canadian accent made everything even funnier. He was also one of the best lacrosse players in the world at the time, so you could learn a lot by hanging around him and listening to him make fun of you and your lack of lacrosse skills.
TAB: If you knew what you do know and could have a cup of coffee with your college aged self, what advice would you give?
JM: Take your time! When you get out of college, don’t feel like you have to jump headfirst into a career. Take some time to explore different options and see what you like and don’t like. I remember working 70+ hour weeks at Accenture doing complete grunt-work and feeling like I was sacrificing some of the best years of my early 20’s. In my opinion, that was unnecessary and the days of being loyal to a company or career for your entire life are gone. I’d say you have at least 5 to 10 years after you graduate to figure things out before you have to get serious, so take your time and explore.
TAB: Okay Jason, here come a couple rapid fire questions, answer in as little or as many words as you’d like
JM: Let’s do it
TAB: What athletic hobbies do you do on a regular basis?
JM: I try to work out 3-4 days a week and try to go on a few leisurely runs in between. I still occasionally play in the recreational leagues around Philadelphia, which helps me keep up with my bruises and scars. I definitely don’t do as much as I used to athletically because of the perennial fear of injury. Instead, I do less athletic hobbies like riding motorcycles and sampling moonshine. I still surf and ski as often as I can and I highly recommend Surfari-Charters in Nicaragua for those interested in a surf/fishing trip.
TAB: When you played what was your favorite pregame locker room warm up song?
I was a fan of country music so when I had my headphones, that’s usually what I was listening too. But only if I had headphones because country music had no place in the UD lacrosse locker room. As a group, I think we listened to a lot of ACDC in the locker room and during warm-ups on Rullo field because they played it over the loud speaker so Hells Bells still gets stuck in my head to this day.
TAB: Going back to hobbies, do you find it challenging to maintain a workout schedule now that you’re a professional adult?
JM: Well first of all, I am neither a professional nor an adult so I am not sure I am qualified to answer the question. That being said, 10 years ago I would have said it was very challenging to maintain a workout schedule. However, you get to a certain point in your career where it becomes more acceptable to take time for your health and family, and it becomes a lot easier to stay in shape. As someone who works in healthcare, I also see more and more companies placing a focus on their employee’s health & wellness and allowing them to spend more time focused on personal health goals because doing so means lower healthcare costs to that company. So it’s been nice seeing that trend shift to where taking time to maintain a workout schedule is allowed and encouraged.
TAB: What is your favorite mobile or software product that you use on a regular basis?
JM: It would probably be the one I use for the company I work with right now, but unless you are living with diabetes, you likely wouldn’t have heard of it. Aside from that, I travel a great deal for my job, so I use the big travel apps like Uber, Waze, and Expensify the most and I love everything about them.
TAB: Do you play golf and if so what is your favorite local course?
JM: Yes I do play golf on occasion, and would like to go on record that I can out drive Matt Alrich (a teammate of his at the University of Delaware). Growing up, I belonged to a course just outside of Philadelphia called Waynesborough and they have a beautiful course that always posed a challenge, so it’s definitely one of my personal favorites. However, any course where I can break 90 is my favorite course.
TAB: What has been your favorite place you’ve traveled to, and if you were to recommend a travel place, where would it be?
JM: In my opinion, it isn’t necessarily the place you travel, but THAT you travel. I think travel is so important because you learn so much. While I like to travel with others, I’ve learned to enjoy travelling alone. Also, I strongly discourage anyone to use the excuse “now is not a good time for me to travel” because it’s always a good time to travel. It’s not always easy, but it’s never a bad idea. I think it was Mark Twain who said “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do...” so try to travel as often as you can, experience as much as you can, and learn from everywhere you go.