Business Knights a Family Affair
By BRENT MESKE
Choosing to attend the same college a parent once attended is nothing new. Attending the same college at the same time is something most don’t get the opportunity to do. For the past two years, Sean Parkes and Logan Parkes have been able to do just that.
On Friday, Sean, 47, graduated with his bachelor’s degree in finance after going back to school to continue his education. Logan, 21, is wrapping up his junior year and was recently named the Chair of the Student Ambassadors for the College of Business.
The Parkes have been around UCF their entire life, so the decision on where to go to school was a simple one. Sean and Logan attended local community colleges before arriving at UCF, but both agree that UCF has always been home.
“I was born at Arnold Palmer Hospital and haven’t moved outside a 20-mile radius in my life,” Logan said. “I grew up going to UCF football games, and we have been season-ticket holders multiple times. UCF was always going to be my home.”
Sean has been enrolled at UCF since 2020, with Logan joining in Fall 2022. With Sean having started his UCF journey earlier than Logan, they didn’t get the chance to be in the same classes at the same time. This has provided Logan – who refers to his dad as his unofficial advisor – valuable insight for his college career.
“He helped me navigate campus, showed me shortcuts to class, the best garages to park in, what professors to take and how to study effectively for each class,” said Logan, who hopes to pursue a career in personal finance. “While our experiences have been largely the same, there are, of course, differences. This has led us to meet different people and be able to introduce the other to that person, effectively doubling our connections and deepening our relationships with people we meet.”
While the Parkes don’t have any friendly wagers on grades, they are admittedly super competitive. Sean says Logan is more organized and driven academically, but Logan attributes that to having his dad there to push him.
“Whether he realizes it or not, it has helped tremendously,” Logan said. “My dad has always let me make my own mistakes, so I could learn from them, but also is a helping hand when I needed him.”
A Florida real estate broker and property investor, Sean said going back to school to obtain his degree in finance has helped him learn more about investing, capital budgeting and cash flows, all of which will help him get to the next level in his investments.
Sean attributed Logan approaching high school graduation as the driving factor to go back to school. His advice to anyone considering going back to school later in life is simple: “Do it!”
“When you go back to school because you want to – not because you feel like you have to – it takes on a different meaning,” Sean said. “I felt like I had a zest for learning when I came back to school, whereas, when I was younger, it did not have much appeal for me. For anyone reading this who is considering going back to school, it really is never too late.”
Logan, who was recently named Chair of the Student Ambassadors for the College of Business, said his experience as a Student Ambassador has been an unexpected but rewarding path.
“I was working a full-time job that wasn’t allowing me the time to take advantage of the resources that UCF provides us, and I was faced with the decision of leaving that job to pursue something more flexible,” he said. “That risk has proven to pay off more than I could have expected. I have had the opportunity to build a network with our corporate partners, faculty around the college, and like-minded students who are part of the program. Becoming the Chair is very exciting for me and will push me further out of my comfort zone, which I believe is very important.”
After graduation next summer, Logan hopes to become a financial advisor. He gained experience in the sector through an apprenticeship with Westshore Financial Group. Logan said it’s an opportunity of a lifetime and he hopes it will be his current and final employer.
Although Sean earned his bachelor’s degree this semester, he decided to forgo walking the stage, for now. His plan is to walk next year when Logan graduates. After that? Maybe you’ll see the Parkes in the same MBA courses, at the same time, this time around.