When Brian Sirois graduated from high school in 2014, he stayed in his hometown of Glastonbury, Connecticut, to gain financial stability and grow in maturity, while working in the hospitality industry and attending Manchester Community College.
Now, almost a decade later, Sirois is graduating from UNC Charlotte in December with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with double majors in business analytics and management information systems. As the first person in his immediate family to earn a four-year degree, he leaves UNC Charlotte with a stronger sense of his talents and passions — and a job offer from the global firm Deloitte.
Sirois transferred to Charlotte just over two years ago with credits from two associate’s degrees — one in liberal arts and sciences and one in accounting and business administration.
"It’s been a long journey for me," Sirois said. "I’ve been in school a long time. My graduation in December from Charlotte really does feel like the culmination of so many efforts. It’s been a really exciting time, and there have been really great opportunities that I've been able to pick up along the way."
As he starts his new role as a business technology solutions analyst with Deloitte, he will draw from his three degrees, a keen interest in people, his work experiences and an acumen for analyzing data to discover action-oriented solutions.
"Data is all around us waiting to be collected and interpreted," he said. "I want to help businesses make more informed decisions, have a clearer view of their consumers and a deeper understanding of their social and environmental impact."
Before coming to Charlotte, Sirois had worked for years in restaurants, starting with part-time gigs at age 16 and growing to the point where he was chosen for a manager role with Sayulita Cantina. "All of my peers nominated me to join the management team," he said. "It was not something I was expecting. I was not campaigning for it. It just kind of happened naturally, and I was so honored. This was a group of people I really respected."
Working in restaurants built his skills in mental organization, personal responsibility and time management. "It has also helped me to become a bit of a chameleon and blend in with whatever situation and group I'm put into," he said.
Slowly, over time, Sirois also grew more serious about his studies. "I was really looking into myself and trying to figure out what it was that I was really interested in," he said. "I was doing my own research and figuring everything out. I toured all over the place. I got into Temple, Penn State and College Park in Maryland, and nothing felt quite right. But when I toured here at Charlotte, it just felt like the perfect blend of a really great campus vibe with the closeness to the city. I also have two friends who live in Charlotte, and they helped me think it through."
Because of his wide-ranging interests, Sirois ended up majoring in two disciplines at Charlotte. "I've described myself as relentlessly curious," he said. "There are so many things that I am interested in. Having two majors has allowed me to explore so many different avenues. With an inclusivity mixer I went to, I was introduced to the world of consulting. I realized I can work with all these different industries in my career. I don't have to pick just one."
Sirois has participated in Model United Nations and played club tennis. He also has taken on leadership roles, most recently as president of the American Marketing Association at Charlotte. His leadership team and teams that preceded his tenure have reinvigorated the organization following the COVID-19 pandemic. One activity of which he is particularly proud is twice bringing a petting zoo to campus to raise over $4,000 and grow awareness of the AMA. He also established "Books of Knowledge" to pass down to future leaders, detailing responsibilities and actions to take.
Sirois has benefited from interactions with faculty and staff, including AMA advisors Cindy Fox and Jackie Robinson, who have encouraged him and other AMA student leaders to forge their own path while also offering input as needed.
He also credits Belk College of Business Assistant Director of Academic and Career Coaching Chris Holloman for his guidance. "He is actually the person who first advised me on pursuing a double major," Sirois said. "Whatever questions I have had, he has come up with really great answers or provided great resources for me to look into. His help has been invaluable."
Sirois is eager to settle into the city of Charlotte and to engage with the Deloitte team. "After working full time and being in school full time, I am so excited to really invest my full self in a company," he said. "What I generally love to do with my career is help others succeed. That is what I think of when I think about the concept of consulting. I want to be able to help companies or individuals make more informed decisions with data. That is what calls me."
He intends to stay focused on continual learning. "I don't think I will ever stop being inquisitive and wanting to know more about different things and seeing what is new and what is developing," he said.
He is proud to have been part of Charlotte’s transfer student population. "That’s a journey that I'm really glad that I took, being able to take the time to get out of that high school mindset and grow a little bit and then coming here," he said. "I was really able to hit that reset button and take what I learned, and just fly with it."