I entered the University of Illinois through the Division of General Studies. After exploring several options, I selected an Advertising major in the College of Media because it really matched my creative personality and I enjoyed working with clients and developing projects. In particular, the Media Sales Certificate Program helped me develop skill sets that I use every day in my career. For example, I am now seeing how my current employer emphasizes the business principle of “Under Promise, Over Deliver” that I learned in our media classes.
Outside of classes, my experiences with the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and my 4-year commitment to the club soccer team provided meaningful experiences that significantly influenced the person that I have become. My fraternity provided a sense of community and opportunities to build relationships with people from a variety of backgrounds. There, I worked with a committee to plan personal and professional development events, such as Professional Networking 101. In soccer, I developed leadership skills, beginning as a player and growing through the ranks to become a coach. It nurtured a healthy sense of pride and a competitive nature that fosters my success in work and life.
I landed my current full-time position by using resources available through the University’s on-campus recruiting programs – I-Link, the career fairs, and on-campus interviewing. I am now working at Nestle USA in a 5-year rotational retail sales development program where I can constantly enhance my knowledge and skills, learning from a wide variety of people. I am very excited to be receiving experience not only the retail sales role, but to have training opportunities as a business analyst, account manager, and other roles that will give me access to the full picture of business functions.
My advice for current Illinois students is to practice being okay with uncomfortable situations. Many of those uncomfortable experiences are ones that help you grow most in either a professional or personal sense. Additionally, try to get involved with as many thing as you can. Ultimately, it will broaden your experiences and become what you bring to the table as a professional in your future organization.
(Last Updated: March 2016)