When I transferred to Purdue and chose the School of Business as my college, I wouldn’t have guessed that Management 295 would change the course of my career. This class was taught by instructor Haley Baker, who would soon be my employer. This class taught me all the basic skills needed when entering the workforce. We learned how to build a resume, held multiple mock interviews, and learned about getting involved in organizations around campus. I joined one of those organizations, Alpha Kappa Psi, a business fraternity, and was later elected its Vice President of Professional Development. Although this position gave me many experiences and opportunities, I didn’t have the chance to work with faculty or staff. Luckily, that same class also mentioned the Professional Development Center and all the opportunities they have for business students. I knew then that working as a peer consultant was exactly what I wanted to do.
But this wasn’t my first experience with the Professional Development Center. I attended one of the school's career fairs in spring of 2019 and after speaking with recruiters, a career in consulting sparked my interest. I then spoke to a career coach, Chris Luebbe, who helped me understand how I could build up my experience, and he mentioned participating in case competitions at Purdue. In a case competition, participants are asked to develop recommendations for a business-related problem within a company. This really helped me gain experience and skills that are important in being a consultant and I went on to participate in eight or nine of them during my Purdue career. If it weren’t for that meeting with Chris, I wouldn’t have known about the case competitions, and the knowledge to be gained from participating in them.
Career coaches are typically very busy meeting with students, so they decided to hire me and a group of other students as peer consultants. I was very excited to hear that I had gotten the job. I had past experience as a finance operations intern, but I wanted to give back to the school community and help students as Chris had helped me. I’ve gained so much in the past few years within this school, and being a peer consultant was the best way I knew to help my peers and also get me more in touch with the students and faculty.
To say I love my job is an understatement. My position has helped me gain so much exposure to the workforce. My average day consists of sitting down with students and guiding them through any problems they may have. I usually get students who need help revamping their resume or career advice on how to get more involved. Students come to me thinking that they need to have everything figured out, but in reality, they don’t. I’ve had students come to me not knowing where to start or even have a resume made. Every time, we figure out what would be best for them moving forward. Working here has made me create the impact I’ve always wanted to make on this campus. I had one student come in for the first time, and after our meeting, the student wanted to meet with me, specifically, again because they appreciated my advice and wanted to continue moving forward together. Connections like this are made every day for me, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
When it comes to career fairs, I’ve had lots of questions about how to interact with recruiters and professionals and I always tell students to remember that they are human beings, too. Ask them about their day and be genuinely interested in their company by asking detailed questions and following up to stay connected.
Just taking that first step of setting up a meeting with a career coach jump-started my career in a way that I never could have imagined. What I realized is all you need to do is take that first step and the possibilities of what you can achieve are endless.