Business student owes success to good values, strong parenting

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A. Sue Weisler

While at RIT, Allan Johnson has started his own business, played several intramural sports and fostered a love of history.

Allan Johnson loves a challenge and believes that “excellence is a habit, since we are what we repeatedly do.”

The graduating marketing student has been running his own business, Allan’s Textbooks, and providing tutoring and note-taking services on campus while pursuing his degree from RIT’s E. Philip Saunders College of Business.

Call him a Renaissance man because Johnson also participates in soccer, volleyball and baseball intramurals, plays guitar and sings, is an avid reader and history buff of America’s founding fathers—George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln (whom he calls his heroes), and loves swing dancing.

Johnson believes hard work and integrity are essential to success. “One of my favorite quotes comes from Churchill,” he recites. “‘Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.’”

He claims much of his self motivation comes from being home schooled by his parents—the late Helen Johnson, and her husband William, a professor in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology—who provided an individualized classroom setting with a flexible curriculum for their four children. “My parents invested a lot of time and effort into our education,” Johnson explains. “Home schooling can be an incredible tool if it’s administered properly, and it definitely worked for us.”

Besides maintaining a 4.0 GPA and being on the dean’s list, Johnson received the Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar award and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society and the Sigma Beta Delta Academic Business Honor Society. He completed his double co-op at Ultralife Corp. in Newark, N.Y., a manufacturer of battery and communications systems, where he assisted with business development opportunities.

And knowing the importance of maintaining business contacts, Johnson started a LinkedIn group for undergraduate students on the Saunders College website—which has more than 110 members.

“In the Saunders College, I truly respect professors like Dr. Clyde Hull who taught an intense but very comprehensive class on strategy and policy,” he says. “I can walk into any company now and take what I’ve learned to evaluate and analyze its visions, values and goals.” 

According to Hull, associate professor of management, “Allan wasn’t just a hard worker—he was a creative, insightful worker who found innovative ways to apply the course material in real-world settings. He is excellent at writing and public speaking, and will go far in management, in education, or wherever else he takes his career.”

Johnson has a self-described outlook: “I love God, my family, and my fianc Emily Crist, who is currently pursuing an elementary education degree at Bryan College”—where Johnson completed his freshman and sophomore years. “I love business and marketing, but the only future plan I’m really sure about is that I want to be a husband and a father.”

After graduation, Johnson plans on a career in marketing before returning to RIT to complete his MBA.