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.