diplomaANDjob: tips from our seniors

| Gretchen Hutterli

For many seniors, success means securing a job in their major area of study prior to graduation. But what does it take to do that?

We invited graduating seniors in the management capstone course taught by Dr. Kristy Lauver and Dr. Brent Opall to tell us what they did to land a job before leaving college. Nineteen students – 10 females and nine males -- responded to our invitation. We asked them to tell us about their new position – job title, job responsibilities and job location, as well as share the keys to their success.

So what did we learn . . . .

Internships were critical to their getting a job. Sixteen of our respondents indicated that they had completed at least one during their time at UW-Eau Claire. Eight students completed at least two.

  • Ethan Sisko, an IS major, felt his internship with MCIS, an IT company, taught him what the real work world was like. “It helped improve my communication skills a lot,” he added.
  • Logan Seidling, an ops/supply chain management major, said his internships with Greenheck and 3M give him the opportunity to compare and contrast how processes are done in different companies, an experience he thought helped him during his job search.
  • Erika Stang, a non-traditional student majoring in information systems, had extensive work experience. She had even owned her own business! An internship in information systems and business analysis was important to Stang because it gave her the practical experience she lacked in her major.
  • Harlie Juedes, a marketing analytics major, completed multiple internships. In addition to gaining work experience, Juedes felt her internships gave her “a very broad network of relationships” which were key to helping her get a job in Eau Claire in her major.
  • The two internships professional sales student Danielle Siegle completed were important to her personal growth. “I was able to move to two different states and learn to work with different age groups and different education levels,” she said.
  • IS major Allison Jensen found that her internship experiences helped her confirm her career choice. “My internships with Wipfli and PwC helped fuel my passion for helping businesses and individuals run their lives more effectively and efficiently,” she wrote.

Participation in student organizations was valued by employers. Ten of our respondents were active members of some sort of student organization. It didn't matter if it was a business professional org, Residence Hall Council, Student Senate, an honor society, an athletic team, or a sorority. What was important was that the student was actively engaged in the group. 

  • “It is super important to get involved in college,” wrote Ethan Sisko, an information systems major. “It doesn't necessarily matter which organization, but I think employers like to see you take initiative and follow your passions. They like to see you pursue leadership opportunities with whatever you're involved in, and they want to see you develop good people skills.”
  • “Holding an executive position in Pi Sigma Epsilon made me look at things from the bigger picture and not just what I wanted to accomplish,” replied professional sales marketing major Danielle Siegle.
  • “My involvement in Delta Tau Delta Fraternity taught me how to be a leader and take on responsibilities,” wrote IS major John Helwig.
  • “Serving as secretary and vice president of Student Accounting Society helped me learn a lot about the accounting industry first-hand and gain confidence in my leadership abilities,” replied Steven Long, an accounting student.
  • Being in a leadership role in a student organization made it easier for accounting major Cassandra Geniesse to network with accounting firms. “This allowed me to get to know employers on a better level, made interviewing and applying for jobs easier, and led me to my internship with Wipfli,” she said.
  • IS major Marissa Leners agreed. Through her involvement in Collegiate DECA, Leners was able “to network and find a connection at General Mills. “It was through my internship that I was able to secure a full time offer,” she said.

Relationships matter. Many of our respondents recognized that they wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for the support and encouragement of professors, mentors, coaches, friends, family members and others.

  • Kyle Hoffman, a professional sales marketing student, credited Jerry Kollross, his sales professor and coach, for teaching him everything he knows about being a professional salesperson. “He (Kollross) went above and beyond to recommend me for my internship at Graybar,” said Hoffmann. “Joining the UWEC Sales Team was the smartest decision I ever made attending Eau Claire,” he continued.
  • Information Systems major Allison Jensen attributes much of her success “to the amazing faculty and staff here, namely: Tiffany Weiss, Alyssa Slaby, and Jean Pratt.” 
  • Accounting major Steven Long agreed. “I have received so much encouragement and advice from my professors and advisors during my time on campus, and I’ve always felt such a personal level of attention from every one of them.”
  • Adam Linssen, an information systems major, credits the IS department for helping to set him apart from applicants at other schools. “The hands-on learning and experience working on real-world problems in a team atmosphere have helped me succeed,” Lissen wrote.  He also appreciated the IS staff's “willingness to help” which has made his learning experience “a great one”.
  • Logan Seidling, ops/supply chain management major, is grateful for the support he received from Terry Wells, his academic adviser, and the College of Business as a whole. “They offered me valuable skills that I will use for the rest of my career in the business field,” he said.

We wish to thank the following graduating business students for sharing their thoughts with us: Hannah Gaspar, Cassandra Geniesse, Jared Gullikson, John Helwig, Kyle Hoffmann, Allison Jensen, Harlie Juedes, Abigail Kielman, Tom Kruger, Marissa Leners, Adam Linssen, Steven Long, Kari Naylor, Goliath Oboyo, Sara Schnelle, Logan Seidling, Danielle Siegle, Ethan Sisko, and Erika Stang. Complete comments can be found on the College of Business facebook.