Student Spotlight - "The More You Know, The More You Grow."
What inspired you to study what you did while at Bay State College?
I was inspired by my previous and current work experience. Working for companies that wholesale in consumer goods is extremely challenging, interesting, and fun, especially when dealing with customers directly. It’s all about providing the best possible service experience for each retailer, or end consumer, so they will want to keep coming back to purchase your product. I find my job very fulfilling and know the importance of building strong relationships with customers and respective sales reps to help to get things done and resolve problems. Because I have enjoyed each of my jobs, and the companies I’ve worked for, I want to stay current and relevant in our ever changing business climate and global economy. I certainly don’t want to rest on my laurels. The work environment is very competitive. One of my few original sayings is “the more you know, the more you grow”, but it is a good one!
What did you enjoy most about your education at Bay State College?
The instructors really made the learning experience fun and interesting, but what I really enjoyed the most was meeting so many new people and getting to know some of them really well. I work with a lot of young people and have 3 sons in their 20’s who help keep me socially and culturally current. This allows me to connect with people of different age groups, and establish friendships and business relationships with some terrific people.
Did you have a favorite class/instructor?
I would have to say that my favorite class was Public Speaking. This class helped me to speak more confidently in front of others, both on my own and with multiple team members to present our joint project. This extra confidence was helpful as my job requires me to present to our sales force twice a year, and they can be a tough audience!
In terms of instructors, I really liked them all. Each one knew I was taking their class seriously, wanting to learn as much as I could and do my absolute best. I have to be honest though; there was one standout instructor, Sheila Edwards, who taught my very first class, as well as several others. Being a somewhat “older” student, I was extremely nervous about taking college classes, both in terms of whether I would do well, or whether I would fit in with mostly younger students. Sheila provided much guidance and encouragement, which helped me to acclimate to college classes, and I never looked back. Her teaching style, methodology, and concern for her students’ success were exemplary. Each successive class with her yielded such interest that at the end of each class, I was already looking forward to the next.
What do you currently do now/how did you get there?
I manage a team of three people who provide order management and customer service to specialty footwear retailers, gym affiliates, and end consumers seeking information about our product line. Some of my managerial responsibilities include: providing training, direction, and guidance to my staff, while maintaining strong relationships with internal departments, the sales force, etc.
My monster.com job search agent yielded this company/job. Other job search agents on career builder.com an indeed.com, helped identify other opportunities as well. These are a vital part of the job search process, in addition to networking. I interviewed with both the General Manager and President of the company. They felt that my managerial and footwear experience with Reebok made for a great fit for their growing footwear company. In addition, they were impressed with my taking the initiative to go back to school, taking evening classes at Bay State College.
How did Bay State College prepare you for your career?
After having been laid off for over a year, I finally made the decision to seek a college degree and began taking evening classes at Bay State. I found the job market to be extremely difficult without a college degree. Companies that I applied to would love my work experience and skill set, and I often made it to the final round of interviews. Unfortunately, the lack of a degree often became the deciding factor, and I had a couple of recruiters that were honest enough to tell me so.
I also think that my age may have played a role in some cases, though that could never be said. It was frustrating to think that had I attained a degree right after high school, that diploma would be 30 years old! How relevant is that today? My classes at Bay State helped me better understand business as it is today. A lot has gone on in the past 10 years, never mind 30 years, with advances in technology being a prime example. My classes have made me more socially, globally, and technologically adept, and I am certainly more relevant than ever!
What is a piece of advice you can give current students?
Be realistic about your education and how important a college degree is in today's working environment. Some students graduating high school may not be ready for college, either socially or academically. That is especially true if you are living/attending college away from home. If you are having a hard time with anything, ask for help! There are so many support systems and people willing to help both at college and at home. Don’t suffer in silence. A college education takes time and is costly, so you should be certain that you are serious about putting forth the time and effort. Try not to get too hung up on grades. If you work hard, and get help when it’s needed, you should be proud that you did your best!
Is there anything else you would like to tell us/add that we haven’t asked already?
I would like to add that I am very family oriented. I am proud of the job that my wife and I did raising our 3 sons, as they have grown into caring and responsible adults. Lastly, I love many types of music, with Metal being my favorite. I am proud of the fact that I did not fall into the “classic hits” mold, where you only listen to music from your youth. There is a ton of great music created all the time, and it would be a shame to miss out on any of it!
Thanks to Bill for taking the time to speak with us! Bill's May 2013 valedictorian speech is available on our YouTube channel.
To find out more about Inov8, check out www.inov-8.com.