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Jack Schaaf


Heider College of Business paves way to Fortune 500 success

Jack Schaaf, BSBA’19, learned many things at Creighton. The fundamentals of economics and finance. The necessity of critical thinking skills. The importance of leadership. The value of service. The worth of relationships.

And that education is access.

His own education has ushered in incredible access to American Airlines, Amazon, and Snap, Inc. More on this in a moment. But during a semester course, Practicum in International Development, Schaaf got an up close and personal view of this lesson – or rather, its antithesis.

“My biggest takeaway from this class was understanding the economic impact of disparity in access to educational resources,” Schaaf says. “Sometimes we take for granted the access to education we have in the United States and the opportunities that come with that access.”

Living the Jesuit value of men and women for and with others

Schaaf traveled to the Dominican Republic over fall break for the practicum. He and his classmates helped distribute small digital libraries containing preloaded educational material to facilitate education in remote areas of the DR as part of The BlueBox Project. Students also helped train teachers how to use this educational technology. The impact of what they did had a profound effect on Schaaf.

“Being able to witness taking a small piece of technology that turned an iPad into a library was incredible as it expanded the depth of materials available in the classrooms we visited throughout the countryside,” Schaaf says.

Service, in fact, played an integral role in Schaaf’s Creighton experience. He traveled to West Virginia’s Nazareth Farm over spring break with the Phi Delts as part of a week-long service retreat. Closer to home, Schaaf took advantage of Creighton’s numerous opportunities to live out the Jesuit value of being men and women for and with others. He volunteered with Completely KIDS in its after-school program and with Jesuit Academy.

Group photo in the DR

The Creighton connection

Business was a field that not only had interested him from a very young age but was one in which Schaaf thought he could find his purpose. His parents modeled this in their work, and he wanted to follow suit in his own career.

He quickly learned when visiting Creighton’s campus as a high school senior that pursuing a business degree could affect impact, and that a Creighton education was a personal one. The North Oaks, Minnesota, native, said Creighton’s welcoming spirit immediately made him feel at home.

“Every person I spoke with during my visit went out of their way to welcome me and make sure I had the right data to make an informed decision on my next steps for selecting a college,” Schaaf says. “I felt that if so many people went out of their way on day one, I could only imagine the connections I would make in four years.”

And connections Schaaf did make. He not only joined Phi Delta Theta social fraternity but went on to serve as its social chair and eventually its president during his senior year. He engaged in the Anna Tyler Waite Leadership Program and participated in the Freshman Leadership Program. Additionally, Schaaf helped guide Omaha-area high school sophomores through the year-long Youth Leadership Omaha as a Heider student mentor.

Phi delta group pic
Some schools help you build the skills to open the puzzle, but Creighton builds the skills to help you solve it.

Financial analyst: from airline industry to retail giant to tech titan

After graduating, Schaaf remained in Omaha to work for the accounting firm Bland & Associates, where he interned as a business analyst for two years as an undergraduate. Then he had a chance to relocate to Texas to work for American Airlines (AA), satisfying a life-long fascination with all things aviation in the process.

“As a child – and still as an adult – nothing was more exciting than having the opportunity to travel and see the world,” he says. “My move to Dallas was just that – an opportunity to travel the world and work with the best and brightest people in the industry.”

After advancing to a senior financial analyst position with the airline, Schaaf shifted gears, joining Amazon to work on a team lead by one of his superiors at AA. Then once again, a former AA leader asked Schaaf if he would be interested in applying for a role at Snap, Inc., where he then transitioned from retail giant to tech giant. As a senior financial analyst at Snap, he helps support the safe maintenance and function of its platforms for users.

Jack Schaaf in front of jet

Schaaf attributes much of his success to the critical thinking skills inherent to a Creighton education. Classes, such as senior capstone classes, help shape critical thinking skills “to both understand a challenge and view different ways to work around it and solve it,” he says.

“At the end of the day, large companies are not a finance or economics class. They are a complex puzzle that needs to be solved. Some schools help you build the skills to open the puzzle, but Creighton builds the skills to help you solve it,” Schaaf continues. “Whether you work for the airline industry or a tech company, critical thinking is the most important skill to have, which Creighton helps develop, challenge and grow.”