W&J junior John Rosario (J.R.) Mazza gaurds against Waynesburg opponent on basketball court.

Athlete brings basketball to business; gets personal in insurance internship

Created: October 20, 2022  |  Last Updated: November 22, 2022  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , , , , , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (October 20, 2022)—Unconvinced by claims to the contrary, W&J junior John Rosario (J.R.) Mazza is proving just how personal business can be.

A business administration major with an emphasis in entrepreneurship, Mazza, continuing his summer internship with Northwestern Mutual, serves as a financial representative at the company’s Bridgeport, West Virginia branch and places human connection the center of insurance sales.

“It’s a lot of selling yourself,” said Mazza, who became a certified West Virginia Accident and Health/Life Insurance Agent to obtain his role. “I’m a firm believer that if someone likes me enough, if I can serve as a resource for someone, that they’ll keep coming back to me just because of the relationship.”

The son of former basketball player and alumnus John Mazza ‘88, and himself a guard on the basketball team (who broke W&J’s single-season record for three-point field goals last season), Mazza has long emulated the connectivity and leadership that now bring him professional success.

“My first meeting led to my first sale, and that was a big moment for me,” Mazza said, noting that it took a lot of calls to land the meeting. “I got on the board that they send every morning, and that made me feel like, ‘I’m really doing it now,’ because, in the first few months, I was struggling.”

Overcoming those struggles meant finding support. Motivated by the affirmation, “this too shall pass,” Mazza sought it out.

“My first couple of weeks, I had a question about everything,” he said. “Everybody I went to was super nice, and I never asked a question that they weren’t happy to answer…. I still mainly enjoy the internship because of the people I work with—the family culture they’ve created.”

Having spent three years on the men’s basketball team at W&J, it’s a culture with which he’s grown familiar.

“They all took me under their wing and got me feeling like I was a part of something,” Mazza said of the team’s upperclassmen. “When I got here, there was such a strong bond with the entire basketball team. We’re all very close.”

Of course, closeness doesn’t always come easy.

“Every little interaction you have with everyone matters,” Mazza said, reflecting on his internship. “You have to keep thinking about the bigger picture and keep going.”

With this experience, and support from friends, family, and W&J, that’s exactly what he intends to do.

“My business classes, my coaches, and my teammates have helped me a ton,” Mazza said, specifically noting the influence of Men’s Basketball Head Coach Ethan Stewart-Smith and Intern Assistant Coach Evan Bonnaure. “So, after graduation, I’d like to get my [Masters of Business Administration] and land a job in sales.”

Learn more about J.R. Mazza here.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu or call 888-W-AND-JAY.