Transitioning from Student Life to the Real World

What Three Recent Grads Have to Say

College life can be an amazing experience for many. It often provides that first taste of independence, experiences that offer new insights into life in general, and the formation of friendships that last a lifetime. And then comes that day when a student must leave all that behind—graduation. This is the point where college graduates begin to discover how those years of academic preparation and college experiences pay off in life beyond Loyola.

We thought we would check in on a few CoB May 2012 graduates and see how they are doing and what they have found the transition from full-time student to full-time employee to be like. We talked to three former students: Christine Alexis ’12, marketing graduate with a minor in Spanish and now media coordinator with Zehnder Communications in New Orleans; Dylan Kremer ’12, finance graduate/accounting minor, working in Chicago as a private banking analyst for JPMorgan; and Kayla Butler ’12, economics graduate employed as a management development professional at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Following are their answers to our interview.

1. What has been the best part about transitioning from student life to full-time employee?

Alexis: Free time! I have a lot more free time now. During college I was used to going to class then going home to study, but when you work a full-time job, once you’re off, you’re off. As a result, I have more time to dedicate to my hobbies and passions and have even opened my own business.

Kremer: The best part about the transition from being a student to a full-time employee is having the freedom to do what I want.

Butler: I get to put many of the things I learned in the classroom into practice, while getting paid to do so! I have also been able to continue leading and serving in the community which has been very meaningful to my development.

2. What do you miss most about being a student, if anything? And what do you miss most about Loyola and New Orleans?

Alexis: Well, I used to dread having a 9:30 class because it seemed so early, but now I have to be at work for 8:30. I really miss (and appreciate) those 9:30 classes. The one thing that I miss most about Loyola is my professors. All of them knew me by name and they were easily approachable. When you have a job at a company with a lot of employees, it’s hard for everybody to get to know you on a personal level.

Kremer: The thing I miss most about being a student is the free time you get during the day. The breaks in between classes allowed me to get organized and accomplish certain tasks for the day. I miss Loyola because I miss being around my friends and teammates. Every day I was around my best friends whether it was playing basketball (for Loyola) or in class, and that is something you cannot replace.

Butler: I miss everything about being a student. To name a few things, I miss classroom interaction with friends and professors, flexible class schedules, being involved in student organizations, and mainly the freedom of college life. The things I miss most about Loyola and New Orleans include hanging out on the quad after class, snowballs, Fridays at the OR, parades, and the list goes on and on.

3. What courses at Loyola best prepared you for what you are doing now?

Alexis: Definitely Business Statistics, Management and Organizational Behavior, and Business Communications. I have never written so many memos in my life since I started working full-time, and I am thankful to Dr. Michelle Johnston for preparing me for the task. Also, New Venture Funding, International Marketing, and Spanish with Dr. Josefa Salmón.

Kremer: Three main courses that prepared me well for my current position were Investments, Derivatives, and Advanced Financial Management. Dr. Ron Christner and Dr. Mehmet Dicle were both outstanding professors and were instrumental in getting me more interested in finance. I believe any other finance student can vouch for that as well.

Butler: In a unique way, all of my classes prepared me for my current career. I say this because the foundation of any solid career would be good writing and communication skills. I had to exercise and perfect these skills in every class I took at Loyola. Specifically, I have really benefitted from Business Communications and my Leadership Course because I have to prepare many forms of written communication and do presentations in my position.

4. What do you enjoy most about your new career?

Alexis: At Zehnder, I am fortunate to get to work with a variety of great clients including Sazerac, US Radiosurgery, and Superior Honda, among others. Working on something different every day keeps things from getting too routine. It makes my days and my work very interesting.

Kremer: At JPMorgan, I am surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the industry, and every day I am constantly learning from those people. Working at JPMorgan has allowed me to expand my financial knowledge by getting involved with projects in an assortment of different areas within finance.

Butler: As a management development professional with the Federal Reserve, I enjoy the fact that I am in many ways still a student. I rotate into new departments every six months, and in that time, I have to learn all I can and be prepared to move on. I also enjoy having great management and mentors that are committed to developing me into a better leader.

5. What advice do you have for CoB graduating seniors?

Alexis: INTERN! A lot of graduates are surprised how hard it is to get a job after graduation, but most companies won’t even look at you unless you have at least one really good internship. I was fortunate enough to intern at Peter A. Mayer Advertising and that opened a lot of doors for me. I was very proactive in seeking out internship opportunities, completing three internships while I was at Loyola.

Additionally, I didn’t realize until post grad, but a lot of marketing jobs require knowledge of PhotoShop and InDesign. I would highly recommend taking a few graphic design classes.

Finally, in regards to starting a business or pursing a non-traditional post grad route—take the risk! Loyola has prepared us for this! It’s amazing how many of my peers have started their own businesses after graduation with the support of the Loyola alumni and faculty members.

Kremer: Start your network early; utilize the people you know and always grow your network. The best thing I did for my career was connecting with my business mentor freshman year. He played a vital role in helping me pursue my career and also became like family. You never know who you are going to meet and what that person has in store for you, so pursue everyone as if they can change your life.

Butler: Learn all that you can, but don’t rush the process. Being in college is a great time of self-discovery. When you begin your career, you have to start building your brand using everything you learned in the classroom and about yourself. Without a doubt, you will soon realize that your time spent in college were the best years of your life!

View the complete spring 2013 issue of Loyola Executive.

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