I would like to introduce Nathaniel Hunter or Nate as he prefers. Nate is our featured alumnus for this March 2017 edition of the NAU B & A Alumni Career Insights blog. Nate graduated in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BBA), Marketing emphasis.
While attending school, Nate worked for AZ Sports 92.3 KTAR promotions. He also obtained a sales internship from June to August 2016 with Daktronics. Daktronics is the world’s industry leader in designing and manufacturing electronic scoreboards, programmable display systems, and large screen video displays. Upon completion of his internship, Nate was offered a full-time position with the company which he accepted. He is now in Inside Sales for the Western Region. He is corporate-based, but has the privilege of working out of his home. He has teams in Wyoming, Hawaii, and Northern California (commercial sector) that are all under his direct supervision.
While attending NAU, there were two courses specifically that he feels helped him prepare the most for his current career. Those courses were BBA 305W Business Communications and BBA 313 Personal Selling. He stated that what he learned in the business communications course he uses daily. He said it helped him to be more concise with instructions to his teams. It also helped with knowing the proper format for a resume. With this knowledge, he secured his internship. As for the selling course, Nate stated that what helped him the most in this course were the role play activities where one person would portray the customer while the other was the sales representative and you had to figure out a way to resolve the situation so that both parties were satisfied with the outcome.
One of Nate’s instructors, Professor Latham, stands out from the rest as it was Professor Latham who took notice of how Nate was excelling with the material and that he showed great interest in it. Professor Latham suggested that Nate should apply for the internship with Daktronics as he felt Nate would be a good fit. Nate stated that the thing he enjoyed the most while at NAU was the small class sizes. He went on to say, “the small class sizes allowed for a better interaction between professors and students. Without it, I may not have been recognized for the internship opportunity which has since become my career.”
As a person, it is often difficult to accept advice from someone else. Especially, if they are not going through or have recently experienced the same thing as you. As one of the final questions for Nate, he was asked for his best piece of advice for current NAU BBA students and this is what he said, “INTERNSHIPS!!! If you haven’t already gotten one, go find one!”
So there we have it, advice from a very recent NAU BBA graduate stressing the importance of an internship. There is an old saying that the worst advice is the advice not taken! Don’t let these words of wisdom escape you, let them sink in and engage and participate in class. Next thing you know, you could be working at a Fortune 500 company in no time, doing exactly what you love! Thank you for your insights Nate and we wish you the best in your professional career with Daktronics!
On behalf of the Department of Business and Administration, please join me in congratulating Kiana Knost for being selected as the March Student of the Month (SOTM). Kiana was chosen because of the strong skills she demonstrates in leading online teams which includes taking the initiative to structure group projects, proposing a plan of action, motivating the team, and verifying that everyone is on track. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BBA) with an emphasis in Management and plans to graduate in Spring 2017.
Although she is a full-time student, she spends her free time hiking and going on walks with Mikey (her dog), traveling, hanging out with friends and family, and developing her skills to one day own a cosmetics line. “One of my biggest passions is makeup, because it allows me to express my creative side,” says Kiana. This passion grew when she started to practice the tips she learned from YouTube beauty gurus who became entrepreneurs. Discovering the many opportunities to turn a simple hobby of applying makeup into a job venture continues to increase her desire to be her own #girlboss.
Why did you choose NAU?
I went to the University of Arizona for my freshman year. I was working toward a degree in marine biology and planned on transferring to a school in California, but while working at my previous job I was exposed to business. The experience inspired me so much that I wanted to work toward a business degree. I earned my Associates degree from Pima Community College (PCC). A friend introduced me to online classes and I explored it further. I kept taking more online courses and really enjoyed them. I also liked that they were flexible. What brought me to NAU was a letter I received in the mail about the 2NAU program and specifically that I could earn my degree online. Also the tuition was affordable at NAU and I had experience with online courses at PCC and enjoyed them.
Why is getting a higher education important to you?
Getting a higher education is important because having a degree and knowledge in business allows me to be better prepared to use it in the business world. With business knowledge, I am also more credible. Many classes I have taken already have expanded my mind about topics that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Getting a higher education has broadened my perspective.
What attracted you to your degree? Since high school I dreamed about owning my own cosmetics line. I knew there would be more doors opened for me if I had a business degree and once I got some experience working in the beauty industry, I was persuaded to pursue my BBA degree.
Which teacher influenced you the most?
Professor Jason Myrowitz and the Negotiation and Conflict Management course influenced me the most. He provided comforting advice when I had questions or needed help. He was also able to provide me with reassurance if I had any doubts or issues with assignments as well as provide helpful, genuine feedback.
Where would you like to be in 4 years?
I hope to be working for a cosmetics company at a corporate level and to gain some more experience in management. I would also love to be a beauty Influencer on Instagram. I love photography and beauty-related things and Instagram is the perfect medium to blend the two. Eventually I would like to create my own cosmetics line. Ultimately, my goal is to have my own cosmetics company that is vegan and cruelty-free, so four years from now I would love to have my first product released.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is isn’t about money. It’s about being with the people you enjoy being around and care about. Mainly, it’s about happiness and being healthy so you can do what you love and enjoy every day.
What is the most important characteristic you believe will get you far in life?
Being genuine. People remember what you do, so it’s important to be genuine. You never know who might be the one to help you in the future. I have always felt that doing good and being kind to others will get you far in life.
“…stay organized so you don’t overwhelm yourself.”
What advice would you give incoming BBA students attending our program?
The best advice I would give is to stay organized so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Having a planner and planning which assignments to do each day will make things a lot easier. Write down every due date and then write down when you’re going to complete each assignment. That way you’re able to work at a steady pace and don’t end up cramming to complete assignments at the last minute. I’ve found that cramming doesn’t help. As much as possible, keep a balance including leisure activities too. Stay organized, pace yourself, take breaks when you need to, don’t cram, and don’t be afraid to ask your professors for help. They’re there to help.
What will you take away from your experience at NAU?
How to work as partners and in teams. I gained experience in leading online teams and I think I could translate that to the working world. In most of my classes I was the one to take the initiative to lead – to get the team organized and make sure everyone was focused on the same goals. I would also check in with everyone through group texts in order to make sure everyone was on track to complete their part of the project. In groups, you’re with different types of personalities and I found it important to allow others to share their thoughts and make suggestions; it’s a great way to explore and expand ideas.
What does it mean for you to be the Department of Business & Administration’s SOTM and recognized for your leadership qualities?
When I was younger, I never really imagined myself as a leader. However, as I’ve gained experience in the workforce and through what I have learned at NAU, it has been exciting to look back at how I’ve developed and grown. A leader should be able to direct, encourage, and listen to what others have to say. NAU has helped develop my leadership skills and now I have been recognized as Student of the Month. I feel honored.
Congratulations, Kiana, on being the March Student of the Month!
On behalf of the Department of Business and Administration, please join me in congratulating Gabriel Montero for being selected as the Student of the Month for December 2016.
Gabriel is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at NAU-Yuma. He is striving to graduate in Spring 2018.
In addition to being a full-time student, Gabriel enjoys playing golf, reading fiction, photography, and spending time with his family.
Gabriel was one of twelve students selected to receive the Southern Arizona Logistics Education Organization’s (SALEO) annual scholarship. When asked how he felt about winning the SALEO scholarship, he said, “I was very happy when I heard the news about winning the scholarship. I couldn’t wait to tell my family after receiving the news! I have twin daughters graduating from high school this year, so the news was very encouraging for them. If their father earned a scholarship, maybe they can too (they are far better students). Financial help is available, but students must be willing to put in the time to seek them out and apply. I am very happy and thankful to the SALEO organization for the award.”
Gabriel Montero (center) receives scholarship presented by SALEO President Mike Valencia and Dr. David Parmenter from NAU
Regarding his career plans after graduation, Gabriel is planning to continue to graduate school at NAU. He is also “looking forward to having opportunities open up in the manufacturing planning process. This is an area that I would enjoy working in which requires this degree.” His advice for other students pursuing a logistics degree or career is, “I love the logistics field because it’s the type of degree that will open doors to many diverse areas of business. Many people think logistics is just transportation; however, it is much more than that. The field is very broad since it covers many areas such as procurement, internal logistics, and the outbound process to customers.”
When asked which courses made an impact on him, Gabriel highlighted Sarah Richardson’s Business Communication course which he took this semester. “The course was very well structured and the feedback was excellent. The course has had a positive impact on my job.”
When asked what he believed is the secret to success, Gabriel stated, “I believe that the key to success is to work hard. Work hard and smart to overcome roadblocks; do not be discouraged when it gets difficult. Difficulties and problems should be seen as opportunities that contribute to personal and professional growth.”
Congratulations Gabriel on being the Student of the Month for December 2016!
Lindsay Callaway is our featured alumna for this edition of the NAU Business and Administration Alumni Career Insight Blog. Lindsay graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in May 2010. Since graduation, she has advanced her career at Penske Automotive Group, an international transportation services company that operates automotive and commercial truck dealerships that distribute commercial vehicles, diesel engines, gas engines, power systems and related parts.
Lindsay is currently the E-Commerce Manager of Penske Automotive Group, Arizona Market. In her role, Lindsay oversees their entire web presence for Arizona’s dealerships and related businesses which covers about 21 brands and 16 dealerships in addition to their collision center and rapid repair. She stated, “I am responsible for what our customers see on the websites, including the internal website maintenance. I’m also in charge of our online reputation and social media accounts, online/digital marketing, vendor analysis/performance, and our online inventory photo team. As well as managing a team of 10 employees.”
When asked which courses helped her prepare for her career, Lindsay mentioned that her BBA 305W Effective Business Communications course was a huge asset. She said, “being able to communicate effectively in a variety of platforms is important, especially when working with a large group.” She also mentioned BBA 480 Business Plan Development and added knowing strategic issues and operations of new and existing businesses inside and out to be helpful. “My emphasis was on small business while in school, and obviously now I am definitely not with a small business, but I feel I am able to apply what I learned in that course to the bigger picture now. In all honesty, I have a hard time remembering some of the specific courses, but overall I felt well prepared with my education to perform my job today.”
Lindsay believes the BBA program helped her feel qualified and confident. She said, “I didn’t expect job hunting to be so tough though. I definitely had some blows to my ego when I didn’t get return calls or interviews for jobs I felt I was perfect for. When I was first hired with Penske, it was an entry level position that didn’t actually require any degree. When I accepted the job, I knew I was going to a great company that supports and promotes from within so that was huge for me. However, I was disappointed I wasn’t hired into a ‘big girl job’ right out of school. I remember telling myself I’m going to show them what I’m capable of and advance quickly. Luckily I did and was able to earn my first promotion after just five months. I feel the program gave me the knowledge and resources to be a great employee and advance within an organization.”
Regarding conducting a job search, Lindsay mentioned the advice she received throughout school which was to start job hunting early on. She commented, “Unfortunately, I didn’t listen. I had a lot going on academically, personally, and work-wise that I truly couldn’t put the effort in while in school. I didn’t start job hunting until after I graduated. I searched the typical job search sites and would spend hours looking for jobs. I reached out to a couple long time family friends that were in the fields I was interested in to see if their companies were hiring and I cold called local companies I wanted to work for.” Ultimately, for Lindsay it came down to networking and getting the word out. She got her job through a friend who knew someone who had just put in a two-week notice. She contacted the company and was interviewed before the job was even posted online.
When asked about the difference between the corporate world and what she learned in school, she mentioned hands-on experience. She said, “Being put in situations and having to problem solve or work through them and not necessarily having the textbook scenario to do it. You can go through a lot of scenarios in classes, but I really didn’t feel that it prepared me for the real deal. I’ve found that I have to be insanely flexible professionally. Time management is key and prioritization is a daily occurrence. When I start my day at work, it rarely ends how I expect it to. I think school is very here is a task, complete it by the deadline while I found that in my professional world I need to have a lot of fluidity.”
Regarding interviewing, she makes the following suggestions:
- Take a deep breath and relax.
- Conduct research about the company.
- Research the company beyond just the basics.
- Prepare your own questions to ask the interviewer.
Regarding networking, Lindsay emphasizes, “Do it! Get started while in school and continue on throughout your career. Always have business cards ready.” In addition, Lindsay also attends conferences to keep her up to date in her industry. She also said, “You will meet a lot of people along the way and it’s helpful to have those networking connections. Treat everyone you meet with respect because you never know when you may be working together.” Congratulations Lindsay on your career success and on being our featured NAU Business & Administration alumna.
On behalf of the Department of Business and Administration, please join me in congratulating Jerri Hargrove for being selected as the Student of the Month for August 2016. Jerri was proudly nominated by Professor Jeff Blake, who has been a mentor to her during her time at NAU. Professor Blake said, “Jerri is an excellent student with a very positive attitude.”
After completing the summer term, Jerri will graduate with her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Management. Jerri lives a busy life. In addition to taking two to three courses per semester, she also juggles her family life, and her many hobbies. Jerri is currently eight months pregnant with her second child and is moving across the country with her family to Charleston, South Carolina. Her many hobbies include arts and crafts, traveling, staying active, and being with her family. She is always up for new challenges. When discussing how Jerri manages her school and daily life, she said, “I really enjoy learning and see it as an opportunity and a privilege. Sounds corny, but it’s true. I find that I am able to perform well in online courses because I am self-driven and I am dedicated to learning something along the way, not just finishing.” She is an inspiration and many students can benefit by adopting her approach.
After graduation, Jerri plans to raise her children, explore their new surroundings in Charleston, and then return to the workforce. She has experience in the dental field as a hygienist, but may also use her degree to do something different in the dental industry such as managing her own office. It is clear that Jerri will be successful in whatever career path she chooses after graduation.
When asked what Jerri likes most about NAU, she says she enjoys the commitment of the professors to the students. Jerri said, “I enjoy when they take the time to get to know students in an online setting. It really brings the course and the college experience to life.” She also enjoys the flexibility of online courses. It allows her to continue her education while working and maintaining her family and social life.
Congratulations Jerri on being the Student of the Month for August 2016! #NAUSOTM #NAUBBASOTM
Barbara Atkinson is our featured alumna for this edition of the NAU B & A Alumni Career Insights blog. Barbara graduated from NAU-Extended Campuses with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. In her own words, following is Barbara’s career story and insights.
I am currently employed as a contractor “Business Analyst” for an Arizona municipality. I left the information technology field in 2004, when my youngest child, then age 19, moved away from home. I left as a Senior Manager and Enterprise Oracle Database Administrator managing database administrators in 6 data centers in 5 countries. I could not be promoted above Senior Manager because I didn’t have an undergraduate degree. That added significant pain to the excessive unpaid overtime.
When my youngest moved away from home, I didn’t need to make that kind of money anymore, and I wanted a life, so I left. Flash forward to 2008. I had been working in alternative asset investments, which was an education into the bowels of finance and economics that you can’t get in any school. When the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy brought economic activity to a screeching halt, my business dissolved. Plan B was to return to IT, but the rules had changed.
In 2006 when I needed a paycheck, I had a well-paying consulting job in 11 days. In 2008, in 6 months of submitting resumes, I only had 2 telephone interviews. In both interviews, the interviewer said that my experience was exceptional; however, without at least an undergraduate degree I couldn’t be considered. So now I have an undergraduate degree in business administration from NAU. Although I had been out of the IT arena for more than a decade, armed with my undergrad I was able to secure a well-paying consulting position.
My formal title is Lead Business Systems Analyst. I was originally brought on board to facilitate resolution of a very poorly implemented mission critical system. It didn’t take long to realize that the project I was brought on to complete would be completed in a fraction of my contracted time. More projects were added to my workload, and I am typically quite busy with a wide array of tasks that exercise my knowledge and skill sets well. My current workload encompasses a procurement system, a customer service delivery system, business intelligence implementation, and organizational process improvement.
I don’t really have typical days. Today I am working on completing the business requirements and design for an enterprise-wide procurement analytics cube. This will allow users to analyze spend against contract, spend by product category by department by vendor to potentially consolidate vendors, identify vendors with contracts with multiple departments so contracts can be consolidated for optimized pricing, and identify vendor names with multiple vendor numbers for cleanup.
Most days have meetings of some kind. Today there was a meeting with the core IT group to resolve production deployment process problems. Tomorrow morning I’ll be facilitating a meeting between users and developers that uses constructs of the Rapid Application Development (RAD) model that was prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. I was able to get buy-in from stakeholders that this would be a worthwhile exercise. As the facilitator, I will document the changes and the change priority agreed upon by the developers and the users. I expect the exercise to be very successful.
There is somewhat of an expectation that I will apply for a permanent employment opportunity that is being created. Should I receive an offer for permanent employment, I will have to get an MBA to move up. The thought of going back to school again kind of makes me want to cry, but the municipality footing the bill helps ease the pain. If I do return to school to pursue my MBA, I hope that I can do so at NAU.
Regarding insights about resume writing, it is important to match verbiage and keywords in job requirements. Most employers, including contracting agencies, retrieve stored resumes using keywords. In the technical arena, most recruiters, whether they are in-house or agencies, don’t understand technology and technical skills. When they select a resume to be forwarded to a hiring manager, they do so based on the resume skills and experience matching the skills and experience in the job requirement.
When I begin a job search, I always like to interview for a few positions I would likely never accept. This takes the pressure off me while I re-sharpen my interviewing skills so when I do interview for a job I do want, the interview is relatively flawless. It’s also important to remember that an interview goes both ways.
Congratulations Barbara on earning your BBA degree, your career success and on being our featured NAU B & A alumna.
Snap a picture of yourself celebrating July 4th and post it on our Facebook page or Twitter to enter the Department of Business and Administration’s July 4th Picture Challenge!
We encourage people that take part in the challenge to post the most creative picture of what reminds them of this special day, but it must include themselves in the picture in some way.
Examples could be selfies with fireworks, pets, military, etc. The photo with the most likes, comments or shares will be the winner of this contest. Be sure to tag your photo with #July4thPicChallenge!
The winner’s picture will be posted on the Department of Business and Administration’s homepage banner on Facebook and Twitter for a week starting from Sunday, 7/10 through Sunday, 7/17.
#BBAJuly4thPic; #BAJuly4thPic; #BBAFourthofJuly #BAFourthofJuly #BBAJuly4thSelfie; #BAJuly4thSelfie; #July4th #FourthofJuly #July4thSelfie #July4thPic #Fireworks #NAU #NAUBBA #NAUBA
Adam Wong is our featured alumnus for this edition of the NAU Business & Administration Alumni Career Insights Blog. Adam graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Spring 2011. Since graduation, he has advanced his career at TTI Success Insights (TTISI), an organization that researches and applies social and brain science to create a customized suite of behavioral assessments that help organization hire, develop, and retain top talent.
Adam is currently the Vice President of TTISI. In his role, Adam leads the areas of sales, training, customer service, and new products. He “spearheads efforts to further improve TTISI’s technology, which is known for consistently staying ahead of the marketplace, while creating the world’s best science-based assessments and technology.”
When asked which courses helped him prepare for his career, Adam mentioned that all of his BBA courses contributed to his education and preparedness for his career. Three courses did stand out to him, and they were:
- BBA 490c, Strategic Management with Professor Jim Latham
- “I don’t remember the exact course number…[but it was] a course with Dr. Miller-Leister, which I had to present on a topic of my choice. I’ll never forget she gave me 124 out of 125 possible points!”
- BBA 450, Leadership with Professor Stewart Segall
When asked how the BBA program prepared him for his current job, Adam believes the program gave him a general level of comfort and knowledge regarding everyday business terms and applications. “The amount of group work and presenting really helped me prepare for ‘the real world’”. When asked to compare the corporate world to what he learned in school, Adam mentioned, “it’s like comparing night and day.”
Regarding conducting a job search, Adam mentions that he strategically leveraged his internship to reach his current position. With determination and hard work, he sought to leave no doubt in the minds of the organization that he was the right person to hire.
Regarding interviewing, he mentions the following points: “Research the company you’re interviewing with and be able to intelligently speak about the position. Listen extremely well to the questions the interviewer asks, and make sure to answer the question. This sounds obvious, but many people are so nervous that they continue to talk, talk and talk without ever truly answering the interviewer’s question. Lastly, dress accordingly and arrive a few minutes early.”
Regarding networking, Adam emphasizes, “Do it! It’s much easier to get a job when you have an internal advocate. Aside from just networking, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY. You never know where an opportunity will take you!” Congratulations Adam on your career success and on being our featured NAU Business & Administration alumnus.
Maday Villa is our featured alumna for this edition of the NAU B & A Alumni Career Insights blog. Maday graduated from NAU-Extended Campuses in Phoenix with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Fall 2012. Since graduation, she has advanced in her career at Londen Insurance Group, Inc., a life insurance holding company that offers final expense and Medicare insurance products.
Maday is currently the Assistant Vice President of Marketing Operations. In her role, Maday is responsible for managing the implementation of improvement initiatives in marketing, developing managers and future leaders within the marketing area, overseeing portions of the distribution channel and supervising the Spanish language business division.
When asked which courses helped her prepare for her career, Maday highlighted the following four courses:
- BBA 305W Effective Business Communications. Not only did I learn the value of oral and written professional communication, but also how to listen effectively.
- BBA 360 Teams and Project Management. I learned how to work well with a variety of people – those with different personalities, goals, study habits, etc.
- BBA 497 Independent Study. In this course, my eyes were opened to a comprehensive overview of a corporation, its components and how it operates.
- BBA 490C Strategic Management. In addition to learning about strategic business decisions, I realized that there were a lot of things that I didn’t know and that was okay because I was going to learn them.
When asked what advice she would offer someone who just graduated and is starting a job search, Maday said, “Don’t wait for a career opportunity to present itself, create that opportunity and then make sure that your social interactions (what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) are appropriate. Employers do look at social media – no happy hour photos!”
Regarding conducting a job search, she emphasized the importance of keeping your resume honest, updated and easy to read. Make sure your resume has something that draws the reader in and sets you apart from all the other applicants. Also, your resume should be free of typos and run-on sentences. Have several people proofread it and list all of your relevant experience including any volunteer work or experience in academic clubs.
Regarding interviewing, she stressed arriving a few minutes early for your interview. Also, know that your appearance matters – dress well, you should look professional, clean, and polished. Lastly, be prepared! Do your research and learn about the company and the position you are applying for. Read about the company’s mission and values to make sure they are aligned with your own values.
Maday concluded the discussion by stating, “Primarily the BBA program helped me build my confidence and become a more well-rounded individual.” Congratulations Maday on your career success and on being our featured NAU B & A alumna.
Students, Are you interested in social media? If so, consider working with NAU Extended Campuses’ Department of Business and Administration as part of a 3 credit BBA 497 independent study project. The Department of Business and Administration is looking for students with a basic understanding of the digital media landscape for the Summer 2016 and Fall 2016 terms. This is an online opportunity so you may work from any location e.g., Yuma, Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, out of state, etc.
Erika Peña, a BBA student with an emphasis in marketing, is working as the Department of Business and Administration’s current social media super-student this term. She is doing excellent work!
- Monitor and post content on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), blog posts (WordPress) and forums using Hootsuite social media scheduling software
- Identify and implement creative and impactful social media projects
- Promote NAU’s Department of Business and Administration using social networks and outreach strategies
- Learn website and social media optimization techniques
This opportunity is a great way to learn how to effectively use social media in an organizational environment and an excellent addition to any resume. Contact Dr. Paige Leister at Paige.Miller-Leister@nau.edu to find out how you can learn more about social media, improve your career opportunities with this practical experience, and earn 3 credits.