Aug. 31, 2023

‘There’s so much you can do’


At NDSU, you can gain the skills you need to create a successful business from the ground up.

Jake Joraanstad, a 2012 computer engineering graduate, is a great example. Joraanstad, along with his friend, Ryan Raguse, founded Bushel, an independently owned software company that provides software technology solutions for farmers, grain buyers, ag retailers, protein producers and food companies in the U.S. and Canada.

Bushel now powers more than 2,600 grain and ag retail facilities across the U.S. and Canada with real-time business information for their producers.

Creating a software package that allows farmers to do business digitally was conceptualized when Joraanstad was in college.

Joraanstad, originally from Rolla, North Dakota, always had a passion for technology. When it came time to choose a career path and what college he wanted to attend, NDSU was an easy choice.

“NDSU for me was one of the default answers. I had a few options to go, but I thought Fargo was great when I did the tour on campus,” Joraanstad said.

In the computer engineering program, Joraanstad obtained a breadth of knowledge in circuits, electronics and software. Joraanstad credits the first software classes he took at NDSU as leading him to where he is today.  

“The reason I even understood that I wanted to be involved in software was because of the classes I was taking,” Joraanstad said. “I remember one class in particular, C++ at NDSU, where I was like ‘man the possibilities with software are so crazy.’ There’s so much you can do. You can literally create anything with just a computer. You just need a computer and you can build a business, you can build an idea, you can make it come to life on your phone. And that was just really inspiring for me.”

In addition to skills specifically related to computer engineering, Joraanstad also gained interpersonal skills from his time as a residence assistant at NDSU’s Reed/Johnson Hall, and his involvement with Cru. Those skills are still helpful today in his role as CEO.

Having mentors along the way was another positive experience that helped Joraanstad during his college years.

“I think as business people you have to have mentors in your life,” Joraanstad said. “I think NDSU was the first time I was introduced to the idea of a mentor or somebody that was involved that I could go and share my problems with.”

Joraanstad recommends NDSU students pursue internships and live on campus to get the most out of their college experience.

“College is all about the experiences you’re going to get. You’re not going to learn everything you need to learn in life in college. That will never happen. So you have to remember part of why you’re there is to learn how to learn. Part of it is learning how to be independent. You’re just now leaving your family for the first time,” Joraanstad said. “It’s okay if you don’t know everything that you want to do in your life yet. I certainly didn’t know I was going to build a company when I was a freshman, even as a sophomore or junior I wasn’t sure what I should do.”

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