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Class of 2017: Jusuf Presheva

By Sofia Sokolove

Jusuf "JP" Presheva

Jusuf "JP" Presheva, BBA '17, has always had a mind for business. When he was just 16 years old, he took out a loan from his dad, bought a truck, fixed it up, and sold it for a profit. Nearly two years and many cars later, Presheva had a business license and a DBA, and was a regular at car auctions, where he was often the youngest person there.

With a burgeoning and successful company, Presheva says he knows it was a bit of a non-traditional choice to adamantly pursue a college degree. He says he had heard of stories of people dropping out of school and becoming filthy rich, but, he says, that was never a risk he was willing to take.

Presheva's persistence in earning his degree derives from his childhood. When he was six years old, Presheva and his family fled from their war-stricken, native Albania to Houston, forcing his father to give up his carpet factory. "He left everything behind," Presheva says.

"We started fresh," he says, "because [my dad] had no degree."

That stuck with Presheva. And so after two years of continuing to run his business while attending classes at Lone Star Community College in Houston, he transferred to the McCombs School of Business in the fall of 2014, continuing to travel back and forth to Houston on the weekends while earning his degree in consulting and change management, with a minor in sociology.

Presheva says his minor helped him become a better salesperson by helping him understand how people work. And he found a community at McCombs. "It's this open, very caring environment," he says. "Sometimes people don't say that about McCombs, but I think it's the material that’s strict — if you ask for help, you have that."

Of course, there were points, Presheva admits, when simultaneously running a full-time business and earning his degree felt nearly impossible. "But you have reason to overcome those points when it feels like you can't continue," he says. "For me, those reasons were mostly for my dad, and how things didn't work out for him when he transitioned to the states because he didn't have a degree."

After graduation he'll stay plenty busy: In addition to his used car dealership, which has grown from three cars to 25, he's launching an athletic apparel business. His longterm future though, he says, is wide open. "I want to get to know the corporate world," Presheva muses. "If business stays good, though, I won't have time for that." 

Photos by Sarah Frankie Linder

A version of this article originally appeared on the Alcalde website.

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