YOUNGSTOWN — Area alumni and employers met with Youngstown State University students Friday at the Williamson College of Business Administration Professional Development Summit.
During the half-day event, students had the opportunity to ask questions of members of two focus groups and learn from their experiences as they prepare to transition from business student to success in the job market.
“We’re pretty proud of the penguins,” said Tim Petrey, managing partner at HD Davis CPAs, when asked in a chat what on a resume sets someone apart. Petrey and other panelists said graduate resumes often look similar, and students should differentiate themselves by volunteering and networking through organizations such as Mahoning Valley Young Professionals and student organizations.
During the pandemic, panelists also spoke about the importance of overcoming social anxiety and talking to others in person. It can also come in handy for those future interviews.
Chris Allen of Ultium Cells in Lordstown stressed the importance of building personal relationships, noting that all of his jobs over his 30-year career have been through friends in his network. He never had to apply for a job because he believes good jobs come from those relationships.
Panelists talked about the importance of connecting through social media platforms such as LinkedIn and having the courage to ask a professional to meet for coffee so they can learn more about their business. Many panelists work for companies offering internships and were looking for students who were interested in their company. They told the students not only what they do every day, but also what a person on an internship or just starting out in the company can do.
“In our world of public accounting and payroll, we teach our employees, our team members, to think like entrepreneurs…teaching them to be this strategic, problem-solving consultant for their clients,” Petrey said. .
Emma Komlanc, district community resource manager at Walmart, told students not to be afraid to take entry-level jobs with a company where they can learn different roles and work hard while growing into their dream careers. .
Some of the important skills that Brian Rosenberg, a supervising examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said are needed for his job include good leadership, organization, problem solving and the ability to communicate well with others. With their knowledge as YSU graduates, these important skills and initiatives, he said, they can be trained in the more technical aspects of a career.
James McConnell, talent acquisition specialist at Enterprise, said he doesn’t expect interns to know much about the car rental industry. But he wants to see them eager to learn.
Many panel members discussed the importance of being willing to continue learning throughout their careers.
“A lot of our interns say, ‘I learned more in my six months here than anytime I learned in school,'” Petrey said. “It’s not a dig against education here. The difference is that when you apply this knowledge practically in the real world, you learn differently. You learn faster. You absorb things faster. So get ready for this challenge. Your learning has only just begun.
Angelina Henderson, early talent program manager for Goodyear, suggested taking advantage of career services resources offered by YSU, which can give students job interview practices, counseling and networking opportunities. She spoke about Goodyear’s recruitment process for internships and after-school jobs, urging students to start looking for that job long before they graduate.
Panelists also talked about one of the big trending topics of the day – work-life balance. Rosenberg stressed the importance of knowing your values and whether what’s important to you is important to your employer. If a company isn’t working with you, it may be necessary to look for another job, he said.
Petrey noted that work-life balance means something different to everyone, and it’s important to understand your workplace culture. Regarding remote employment, Petrey said learning a new job while working remotely can be more difficult at first and requires good communication and dedication. But more time working outside the office may be something easier to earn on the road, he said.
For YSU business students, it was impactful to hear stories about how employers and alumni found their career paths.
“I think they’ve been very strong on values,” Grace Swaney said, which she says isn’t something the college specifically addresses. She feels like this event is more about real life.
“I know you’re planning after graduation, but you don’t really know what it’s like until [someone says], ‘Hey, don’t do that.’ This is what you need to prioritize. This will get you there faster. You will benefit and the business will benefit,” Swaney said.
Mandy McIntosh, an accounting major, said she learned the importance of figuring out what you want in your career and the importance of being flexible, willing to change careers or career direction.
William Withew, also an accounting student, said he learned about different areas of accounting in his classes, but it was good to meet and hear from people who actually work in those areas.
Michael Davis, a business management student, said he likes to know what employers expect of their employees and interns so he knows what to expect in the future.
“Just hearing their stories, it was all super interesting,” said Dylan Shields, a business administration student. “It gave a real insight into how they [think] when they hire people and how they run their business.
Petrey said the Professional Development Summit, an annual event, is extremely important not only for the future of students, but also for creating new opportunities in the Youngstown area.
“What the kids need to see is that you can be successful here in Youngstown. Our biggest problem locally is that the children are leaving. It’s our job as local professionals, who have done something in one form or another, to come back and share that with people. Because then they understand, ‘I can build something here.’
Top of photo: The Williamson College of Business Administration Professional Development Summit was held on Friday.
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