Adin Feliz in suit and tie on The Ohio State University campus

For some, going to college is a direct path to achieving the career they’ve dreamed of. For others, it provides a place to explore, to find oneself and to discover their interests and passions along the way.

Take fourth-year finance student Adin Feliz. His career exploration began just before the pandemic and continued in earnest over the next three years, as his personal drive and curiosity took him on a journey into leadership, business, real estate, politics, state government and law.

Feliz kickstarted his Ohio State experience as a member of Fisher FIRST (Focusing on Inclusion and Readiness for a Successful Transition), a year-long program that provides diverse and first-generation students with a head start on their college careers as Business Buckeyes.

“Fisher FIRST is one of the best experiences I’ve had on campus,” said Feliz. “It helped me ease into the college tradition, meet people including my two best friends, and learn from big brothers and sisters who had already experienced what I was going through.”

His first semester was as traditional as they come — attending classes, meeting friends and living on campus. His second, however, was upended by the pandemic. While on spring break in his hometown of Miami, Florida, Feliz was told classes would switch to remote delivery and that he eventually would have to gather his belongings on campus and finish the rest of his first year online. Rather than bemoan the disruption, Feliz embraced it.

“At the time I was looking for a summer internship and thought I wouldn’t be able to find one,” he said. “So, I used the summer to take a full-course load of classes.”

Exploring real estate

In addition to his Fisher courseload, Feliz delved into real estate – his family’s business. His father is a mortgage loan originator and his mother has a real-estate brokerage business. He decided to obtain his real estate license in order to assist his parents buy, sell, renovate and rent houses.

Adin Feliz next to a SFRMC logo during his internship at the companyFeliz completed the 120-hour real estate certification class in roughly two weeks, sat for the exam and became a licensed real estate agent working for the Southeast Florida Realty and Management Corporation in Miami. He was 19 years old.

“I am always looking for new opportunities to develop professionally,” Feliz said of the real estate pursuit. “I look for work experiences that advance my skills in an array of fields, allowing me to apply my values in an impactful way.”

The license helped Feliz understand the legalities of selling properties and property management and prepared him to work as a real estate agent and list a few properties during his time in Miami.

“It was a great opportunity; real estate was booming at the time and it allowed me the opportunity to gain valuable business experience,” he said.

Learning to lead

After returning to campus in spring 2021, Feliz jumped headfirst into the first of many co-curricular activities that the pandemic had put on hold. He joined Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government as a community relations liaison, a role in which he served on a committee that helped build relationships with student organizations, provided an undergraduate perspective for campus policies, and advocated for resources and policies that are in best interest of the student body.

Throughout the next three years he gained additional leadership experience as a Fisher FIRST mentor and member of Buckeye Ventures and Theta Chi fraternity.

“After the guidance I received through Fisher FIRST, I wanted to return the favor,” said Feliz. “For two years I served as a mentor and program ambassador so I could support and lead others who were new to the college experience.”

As a member of Buckeye Ventures, he learned about venture capital and private equity and soon realized how hard it is to break into the industries. He became president of the club, finding ways for it to be a pipeline for talent for big companies, and he was able to get the club recognized as a Fisher College of Business organization and increased membership to over 100.

Adin with six fellow fraternity brother outside on a lawn
Adin Feliz, far right, with members of Theta Chi fraternity.

As the president of Buckeye Ventures he competed in the Johnson & Johnson Case Competition. His team earned first place and advanced to the national competition against 10 other universities.

“Four other students and I worked together on a merger and acquisition-based case centered around a treatment for prostate cancer, honing our presentation and leadership skills,” Feliz said. “We learned a lot about mergers and acquisitions, having made strategic decisions based on core values, market analysis, financial KPIs and environmental issues.”

Outside of Fisher, he became the risk management chair for the Theta Chi fraternity, organizing social events and making sure plans were set in place that adhered to all university regulations.

An interest in politics

Throughout his life, Feliz has been interested in politics, but his time on Student Government further piqued his curiosity. At the start of his third year, Feliz decided to apply the principles he learned to serving as a legislative intern with the Ohio House of Representatives where he assisted in committee hearings, session days and corresponding with constituents.

Feliz also later served as an elections division intern to the deputy and senior elections counsel with the Ohio Secretary of State. He gained experience editing sample ballots and candidate requirement guides, briefing and summarizing Ohio Supreme Court decisions and working with the 2022 Ohio General election night reporting team.

Both experiences, while valuable, didn’t offer a career path that interested Feliz.

“After my internship with the House of Representatives, I realized that politics was not the route for me,” he said. “However, my work with the Secretary of State really honed my critical thinking skills and made me curious about law.”

Finding a passion for law

While at home during the summer of 2021, Feliz seized an opportunity to gain experience in law. He became a pre-litigation legal assistant for Dos Santos Law, P.A. in Miami. As a legal assistant, he communicated with the firm’s legal team about the status and strategy of claims, e-filed documents, reviewed and analyzed medical files and performed general administrative duties.

The experience stuck. Prior to entering his final year at Fisher, Feliz served as an intern with the senior trial counsel at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. He researched, reviewed and aided the counsel as they prepared for trial, as well as reviewed evidence, criminal records, jail calls and transcripts of court proceedings.

“While at Miami-Dade, I was exposed to capital felonies, murder, homicide and sex trafficking cases, and it was here that I truly fell in love with law and litigation,” said Feliz. “I had a lot of hands-on experiences being able to go with the special response team on arrest warrants, as well as when I reviewed jail calls and sat in on depositions.”

Feliz realized after every hearing and deposition, he wanted to change systematic wrongs by locking up individuals who harmed others. His true interest was in litigation, battling in court for victims who could no longer tell their story.

“I come from a traditional Hispanic household where there is an expectation to become a doctor or a lawyer. I knew several students who went to med or law school and dropped out,” said Feliz. “I followed my head and chose business school as a solid foundation in case the other roads weren’t for me.”

“I was fortunate to be able to dive deep into the legal field while pursuing my finance degree, which not only made me 100% certain of what I want to do with my career, but it paved the way and showed me the steps necessary to achieve my career goals.”

After graduation in May, Feliz hopes to complete a summer internship in finance or further his experience in the legal field before attending law school in the fall.

“People advised me against taking a rigorous college major, but I decided to study finance to make me more well-rounded,” said Feliz. “At Fisher, I’ve gained critical thinking skills and a high understanding of investments, financial institutions and corporate finance that will help me be a better lawyer."

I am always looking for new opportunities to develop professionally.

Adin FelizeFinance student