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Mission Driven
Scott Koenig, Eller MBA ’09
Director of Development, UA Alumni Association

By Liz Warren-Pederson

Scott Koenig grew up in Toledo, Ohio, but was recruited to the University of Arizona swimming and diving team. “I had never been to Arizona before that recruiting visit,” he said. It proved pivotal — Koenig found he loved Tucson and the UA, and took on leadership roles as a student athlete, including captain of the swimming and diving team and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do then, but I knew I liked people,” he said. Koenig majored in psychology and entered social services upon graduation.

Scott Koenig

Scott Koenig, Eller MBA ’09, is the UA Alumni Association’s Director of Development.

With Our Town Family Center in Tucson, Koenig started out in direct client services, including crisis intervention, but then moved into volunteer recruitment. “At that point, what I really wanted to do was get into marketing,” he said. “I was working with managers at places like Tucson Electric Power and Raytheon, and I could see how these companies could have a really big impact in their communities.”

To that end, he made his next role a significant departure: Koenig took on a marketing position with Bumkins Finer Baby Products, where he worked on the licensing of Dr. Seuss baby products. “I launched the apparel line,” he said. The venture saw him attending trade shows in Las Vegas, New York, and others, all of which gave him insight into sales and marketing.

From there, he said, “I entered the Eller Full-Time MBA program because I was so new to business and really wanted to use it as a catalyst to change careers.” But the economic climate proved to be a challenge: Koenig graduated in 2009. “I got used to hearing ‘no’ when in interviews,” he said. Then he interviewed for an assistant director of development position at the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

“That was the first interview where I didn’t have to apologize for anything on my resume,” he said. “Development is not a career that you can study for, and tends to be something people fall into later in life. For me, it’s a role in which I can relate to people and help them identify what they’re passionate about.”

After two years with CALS, Koenig joined the UA Alumni Association, where it all came together: “My experience was so broad at the UA, starting with my time as a student athlete. Now at the Alumni Association, our mission is to advance the UA by connecting, engaging, and nurturing Wildcats for life.”

Koenig says the broad impact of his work across the UA is satisfying. “I can always envision myself being happy and fulfilled by work that is mission-driven,” he said. “For all alumni, the UA is a shared connection, and the institution has changed the lives of so many people.”

Along with many of his MBA classmates, Koenig has personally contributed to an effort to keep changing lives. His class founded the Nam Kook Jo scholarship to support an international student in the Full-Time MBA program. The endowment, which is still growing, is named for a classmate who passed away between the first and second years of the program. Another of Koenig’s classmates, Fabian Cordova, was instrumental in establishing the scholarship with the Alumni Association, Eller faculty, and the MBA Student Association.

As CFO of the Alumni Association, Cordova is also Koenig’s colleague. “A lot of people talk about the importance of a network,” Koenig said. “For me it’s become not just a professional network, but a close group of friends and colleagues.”

Learn more about contributing to the Nam Kook Jo and other Eller College scholarships.