A #MySpartanSuccess Interview with Jillian Colleluore!

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By Silvana Molinas

For this week’s #MySpartanSuccess story, I interview recent St. Thomas Aquinas College alum Jillian Colleluore about her first job after college, moving to the other side of the country, how her past internships have helped her career so far, and just enjoying the ride while you can.

Where do you work now?

I work for Allegis Global Solutions. We are a workforce management solutions company, so we offer various services like managed service providers, recruitment process outsourcing, data analytics, etc. Right now, I work under our managed service providers aspect of it. My client is actually Starbucks. On my team, we manage the process of hiring on the contingent worker. We have both staff augmentation and services procurement. Staff augmentation is the contingent workforce that I just told you about. Services procurement is kind of our project-based work where, say, if they are updating their app, we would help them get an app-developer and we would work with the hiring manager and the vendors to get the resources they need whether on or off-site and help negotiate how expensive it’s going to be and facilitate that process.

When did you graduate and what was your major?

I graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Management.

How did you hear about this current job?

My story is kind of interesting, because I was interviewing for another organization and it was down to two people. They had just called me saying they were going to go with the other candidate, when I received a message on LinkedIn from one of the recruiters here. He saw my LinkedIn profile and wanted me to look at an opportunity at Allegis and I thought I would at least take a look at it, and it ended up working out.

So, what was the interview process like for this job?

After he had messaged me, we set up a phone interview with just him and I, where he explained the roles he had open. After that, we set up a phone screening with my current manager. Following that, we had an in-person interview. My manager works up in Seattle at the Starbucks headquarters, so he had to fly down from Arizona. From there, they hired me, so the process wasn’t too bad.

You just mentioned that you’re located in Arizona now. What was moving to Arizona like? You’re from Rockland County, right?

Yes, I’m from Stony Point, NY. I commuted all four years to STAC and when I was about to graduate, I was ready to move somewhere else. My boyfriend is stationed here in Arizona – he’s in the Air Force – so it just felt like the right time to move. More companies in Arizona were calling me back versus in New York, so it was kind of looking like I should move anyway. I ended up moving and I absolutely love it.

Where in Arizona are you?

I’m right outside of Phoenix.

How do you like living there?

Oh, I absolutely love it! I’m sitting outside looking at a palm tree in 80-degree weather, so I can’t complain.

Did you find the job before your graduation?

No. Before graduation, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move yet, so I was looking in both New York and Arizona. I kept applying. It was frustrating to apply to ten jobs and only hear back from one, but it ended up working out. I received my offer in July and started the job in August.

Did you have any internships before this job and how useful was that internship in getting this position or preparing you for actually working?

I had an internship right down the street from STAC, at Instrumentation Laboratory. I worked as an HR Intern during the summer before my senior year. After I graduated, they called me asking if I could cover for the HR Coordinator before I moved away. I was happy to help out. I gained valuable experience in this role as I was in a corporate environment where I actually did everything myself. I learned about business processes and how things worked in the classroom, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to have that hands-on experience, and I’m a hands-on learner. So even now, my manager tells me how to do something and I say, “Wait, can you show me how?”, because that’s how I learn best.

I know you also worked in the HR department at STAC, right?

Yes, I did! I worked there as well and I still keep in contact with everybody there.

And was that a helpful experience?

It was helpful. I feel like every hands-on experience I had and every opportunity was completely helpful because I saw things from different perspectives. Working in HR in academia is different from the world I work in now, but it’s still helpful to see the little differences between workplaces and what it’s like to work somewhere else.

Did Career Development or STAC help you in anyway achieve the goals you wanted to achieve?

Absolutely! Career Development actually got me my internship. I showed Maureen Mulhern [the Director of Career Development at STAC] my resume and I told Maureen that I was trying to find an internship. She thought of me when Instrumentation reached out to her because my manager at Instrumentation Laboratory was a STAC alum herself, so she would always reach out to STAC to try and get interns. Since I had just talked to Maureen, she knew I was interested in human resources, and Maureen immediately told me to apply for the position.

That’s awesome!

Yeah, so she was kind of the one who got me the job.

That’s great! So, what’s your favorite part of your job right now?

Right now, we’re working on a supplier capability matrix, which senior executive leadership is involved with and as someone in an entry-level position, being able to work on a project that executive leadership is seeing is awesome.It’s kind of my favorite part right now because I’m learning a lot more about the business in different ways than I did before.

So do you often get a chance to work with executive leadership?

My company is very unique. We’re very people-oriented. I sit in a hub location, so all our executive leadership tries to come down, maybe once a quarter if they have the opportunity to. What’s great here is that you can walk up to the CEO and introduce yourself. Everybody is so friendly; they stop what they’re doing to talk to you, they remember your name, and I feel like there aren’t many companies where you can walk up to senior leadership and get to know them.

What was the biggest adjustment for you going from college into the working world?

I think the biggest adjustment is probably working 8-5, nonstop. I’m learning to adjust to doing things all day long without a break and learning more about doing my job. I’m in a very interesting industry that not a lot of people are in, so it was kind of difficult to try and learn all the different terminology and vendor management systems. I asked so many questions and I still constantly ask questions.

Are you still learning everyday?

Oh definitely. I’m still learning everyday, along with my managers. For everybody, there’s always something new to learn everyday. You think you know it, and then somebody comes to you with a new question and you realize there’s still more to learn.

When you were in college, obviously there are things you know now that you didn’t know then. What are some things you wish you had known in college that you know now?

I feel like STAC really does prepare you for life after college. Because of my internship experience, I’ve learned to manage my time wisely and stick to deadlines, but I think what I should’ve learned is how to just take one thing at a time. It’s all going to working out eventually, you just have to do one thing at a time. It’s like when you’re in college, stressed about multiple midterms and papers, you have to just focus on one thing. That’s never going to change.

So, are you happy with the path you’ve taken so far?

Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. I know that sounds super cliche, but because I got super involved in college, I was able to connect with Maureen Mulhern, get my internship, and have all the other experiences I’ve had. I was part of the IACBE team at STAC and that also helped me a lot. It helped me get out of my shell and learn how to work under pressure. I was part of PRIME too, and in PRIME you can be under stressful situations and you have to talk to big groups. I think college really helped me get out of my shell, learn to public speak, and to be comfortable taking initiative when I needed to.

So to close this little interview, I want to know if you could give any students some advice about life after college, what would it be?

Just enjoy it while you’re still there. It goes by super quick and I know everybody says that, but it’s true. Before you know it you will find a job. It might not happen tomorrow, but trust me, eventually, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

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My Spartan Success with Michael Paris!

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When did you graduate and what was your major?

I graduated STAC in the Spring of 2015 and I majored in Criminal Justice.

How did you hear about your current job?

After the Police Academy (Rockland County Police Academy), I interviewed at many police departments in Orange and Rockland Counties. I heard about this job opening through Chief Barbera who is also a professor at STAC.

Can you explain the Interview Process?

Going on interviews for police departments can be stressful. My best advice would be to stay calm and put on your best suit. It’s important to look and act professional at all times. You should have a copy of your resume attached with a copy of an application for the position you are seeking. Answer all questions honestly and be yourself. The initial interview is just the beginning of many interviews for that particular department so its also very important to stay consistent when answering questions.

Can you tell me a little about the position?

I currently work for the Rockland County Sheriffs Office Mounted Unit. We are a special unit within the Sheriffs Office. The unit was founded in 1962. We are one of very few Mounted Units left in NY State as well as in the U.Ş.

Can you share some of your current responsibilities?

As a Mounted Police Officer we do a lot of community policing. That can entail many events including different youth academies around the county as well as schools and camps. Our main function is crowd control, you can see us at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pearl River as well as at many events in the county that draw a large crowd. The mounted unit also patrols county parks and the bar scene on the weekends in Haverstraw, Pearl River, Nyack, etc.

Did you have an internship before this position and how useful was the internship?

I had an internship with the Rockland County Sheriff‘s Office my senior year when I was a student at STAC. The internship really opened my mind about what this department has to offer and confirmed my decision on why I wanted to become a police officer.

Did Career Development/STAC help you in anyway?

Prior to going on interviews for this department, the Career Development office at STAC helped me polish my resume to look professional and neat.

What is your favorite aspect of the position and can you give an example of what has been your favorite experience so far?

The Rockland County Sheriffs Unit is an elite unit among many. Not only do we have to be capable of riding horses but we also have to perform our job as police officers. My first major event as a Mounted Police Officer was United Latino Day in Haverstraw NY. This event draws large crowds, lots of loud music and food. Our main goal is to keep the crowds under control as well as having a role in community policing.

What advice do you have for other STAC students looking for a job or internship?

If an internship with any department is available through STAC, take full advantage of it. It will help advance your career once you graduate and it will be a great experience. When it comes to applying for the position of police officer my best advice is to be patient.

Career Advice from the Senior Executive Producer & VP of Talent Development at CNBC

Written by Maureen Mulhern, Director of the Office of Career Development

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Mary Duffy, a STAC alumna and the Senior Executive Producer/VP of Talent Development at CNBC, was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to speak with STAC students today about her career path.  She offered some great advice as these seniors and juniors approach graduation.  It was very apparent that Mary possesses the traits she discussed today, and this is why she is where she is today!

(A quick “thank you” to Dr. Durney for inviting me to sit in on his class.)

Below are some of the highlights of the advice Mary shared.

  • What is your “Secret Sauce”? 

Each of us has a “secret sauce” that makes us special.  It might be something we did, a skill we have, or a past or present experience.  These make us who we are and provide us with something special that we can offer a future employer.  The key is to understand what your secret sauce is and learn how to convey that to a potential employer.  Knowing your secret sauce will help you identify your brand and market yourself.

  • Be Hungry and Have GRIT!

Seek out opportunities that will help you reach your goal, and keep going until you get something.  Work hard in any role you get, and establish your professional reputation.  That could open doors.

  • Have a Strong Work Ethic.

Be polite, have good manners, and be gracious.  Be reliable.

  • Stay Scrappy! 

Don’t feel entitled.  Work hard in the role you have.  Be the person who takes on the jobs that no one wants to do.  It will make you stand out.

Some general tips:

  • If someone is kind enough to refer you for an opportunity, don’t let them down.  Be sure to do the best job you can.  It’s their reputation on the line.  Be sure to thank that person.

 

  • #1 skill you need is writing!  You must be a good reader to be a good writer…so read every day.

 

  • Follow everyone you can on Twitter.  It’s a great way to learn and get new ideas from a variety of people.

 

  • If you make a mistake, take ownership of it.  Don’t blame others!

 

  • Always send a thank you note after an interview…by the end of the day of the interview!  Include your resume with your thank you.  Don’t make the receiver work to get that information.

My Spartan Success with Jessica Mizzi!

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When did you graduate and what was your major?

I graduated in 2017 with a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Journalism.

How did you hear about your current job?

I learned about opportunities at Penguin Random House during Winter break of my senior year at STAC. I was on the hunt for an internship and, at the time, was very interested in the publishing industry. While looking on their website, I stumbled upon an editorial internship opening for the spring and immediately applied. When the HR representative contacted me, she felt that I would be a great candidate for a different internship at Penguin Random House in Content Marketing. Excited about any opportunity at the company, I decided to move forward with it. I was hired out of that internship and have been at the company ever since.

Can you explain the Interview Process?

I was called by an HR representative for a phone interview. She asked me questions about my resume and cover letter, as well as my desire to work at Penguin Random House. I was then notified via phone call that they’d love me to come in and interview with the manager of the Content Marketing team. I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know much about Content Marketing … and I forgot to bring a copy of my resume, which made things even worse (always bring a copy of your resume). I was sure that I was going to blow it but as soon as I stepped into my manager’s office, she made me feel comfortable and at ease. From what I remember, she asked me questions about my education, my experience, and the company and my interest in it. She explained my duties as an intern and the goal of their team at PRH. That same day, I was offered the internship!

Can you tell me a little about the position?

Though I was an intern, I was never tasked with getting coffee or answering the phone (though there’s nothing wrong with that, either). For me, personally, this was a huge deal. I was given work that allowed me to play an active role on the Content Marketing team.

Can you share some of your current responsibilities and roles?

I am currently an editor on readitforward.com which is a book recommendation website. We are obsessed with authors, stories, and the readers who love them. Our goal is to provide people with their next great read. I write articles for the website, work with freelancer writers and illustrators, edit their work, come up with content ideas based on analytics and insights, and manage all social media accounts for Read It Forward (Book Bento–an account I manage–was featured in Oprah Magazine, which was super exciting).

Did you have an internship before this position and how useful was the internship?

I had an internship at Cornell Cooperative Extension prior to my internship at Penguin Random House. I worked to plan events and design pamphlets/posters about the environment and the importance of conservation. It was a small place but everyone there was great to work with and I learned a lot about things I hadn’t known much about before. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing but it helped me develop key communication and time management skills.

Did Career Development/STAC help you in anyway?

The professors I had at STAC definitely helped me to realize my potential and my dreams. I started out as a Biology major at STAC and switched to Creative Writing my sophomore year. I was nervous about this decision but had high hopes that it would, in the long run, be more of a fit for me. The professors that I had following this shift in my life solidified my love for reading and writing and made me feel totally comfortable with my decision. I was able to explore my creativity and learn things that I carry with
me and use today. I established close relationships with all of my professors—I still keep in touch.

What is your favorite aspect of the position, can you give an example of what has been your favorite experience so far?

I love knowing that what I do has a direct impact on people. I see it every day. No, I’m not a doctor or an engineer, but I work in a place that helps others share their stories. And I think that’s magical. Books are so, so important. They always have been and always will be. I feel so honored to work at the largest English language publishing company where we value diverse voices from all walks of life. Reading changed my life and the lives of so many others. Since I started managing all the social media accounts for Read It Forward, I have seen exactly how what we do impacts others through their comments, likes, retweets, messages, etc. It’s beautiful and something I’m proud of.

What advice do you have for other STAC students looking for a job or internship?

Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. There’s great opportunity in unexpected places—places you wouldn’t even think of looking. Be open to change and unfamiliar experiences. Work hard to show what you’ve learned and what you’re capable of, and never turn down a chance to learn something new.

My Spartan Success with Gianna Pisano!

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When do you plan to graduate and what is your major?

I plan to graduate May 2019. My major is Communication Arts with a concentration in Broadcasting/Digital Content Production, and I have a double minor in Journalism and Social Media.

Can you tell me a little about the internship?

I am interning at WABC-TV Eyewitness News, for 7 On Your Side, which is the consumer segment.

How did you hear about this position?

I found out about this position by looking at different online postings of internships at the television networks in New York City.

Can you explain the interview process?

First, I applied online, and received an email about two weeks later that they wanted me to come in for an interview on Intern Night, which is when all of the interviews for the upcoming internships take place. I went in for two interviews with two different sections. The first section I interviewed for was a one-on-one interview, and the second, which is the one I ultimately chose to go with, was a group interview with three other people. They both lasted about fifteen to twenty minutes. About a week later, I received a call that I was offered both internships, but could only chose one. The next day I called back and gave my final decision.

Can you tell us about some of your current responsibilities / roles?

My main responsibility is to conduct background investigations and preliminary interviews based on story leads that viewers send in. I then pitch the stories to my producer based on information gathered, newsworthiness, and pertinence to our audience, and he decides whether or not the segment will cover the story. Additionally, I get to attend the daily morning news meetings, film B-roll to be included in the segment’s pieces, and go out and get MOS interviews that are included in reporters’ packages.

What is your favorite aspect of the position, can you give an example of what has been your favorite experience so far?

My favorite aspect of the position is all the different experiences I have gotten out of it. I want to work as a broadcast journalist, and all of my various responsibilities/roles will one day help me be successful in that career. I think my favorite experience so far has been having the chance to go out and help shoot one of our stories.

What do you plan to do after the internship?

This spring, I will be interning with CBS News.

What advice do you have for other STAC students looking for an internship?

My advice is to apply to as many internships as you can that you are interested in, and to make sure your resume is the best it can possibly be. If you get an interview, make sure that you research the company, and learn as much background knowledge as possible about it, and always send a follow up email the next day. Be honest, be yourself, and don’t be afraid of challenges, because you never know what could happen!

My Spartan Success with John Rocchio!

When do you plan to graduate and what is your major?

I will be graduating this December 2018 with a Computer Science major.

Can you tell me a little about the internship?

I did a software engineering internship at BMW North America in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. During this internship, I worked with the infotainment test team to design and implement tools to streamline workplace processes.

How did you hear about this position?

I heard about this position on Indeed and applied through there.

Can you explain the interview process?

First, I did a phone interview with HR about the basic details of the job. Then, I did another interview through Skype and talked more about the actual position and my qualifications. I also did a phone interview with my future supervisor giving specific details about the responsibilities and tools that they use in their department. Finally, I had an in-person interview with the same supervisor and the hiring manager. In this interview, they tested my qualifications and my programming knowledge through a verbal technical test.

Did Career Development/STAC help you in anyway?

Yes, the Career Ambassadors in the Office of Career Development read over and edited my resume.

Can you tell us about some of your responsibilities/roles?

My main responsibility was to design and implement a new web tool to use in place of Excel to make testing the infotainment systems of the new cars more efficient and streamlined for the testing team. The web tool was built using Angular JS, CSS, HTML, and OverStack. I also implemented new Excel macros using VBA.

What was your favorite aspect of the position?

My favorite aspect of the position was seeing and driving in test cars that are not on the market yet and being able to see what new features are being implemented in cars that are going to be released a few years from now.

What advice do you have for other STAC students looking for an internship?

My advice is to apply to as many internships as possible, even if it’s not exactly what you want. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t hear back from them. Also, learn outside the classroom as much as you can, even if it’s not with an internship or as part of a class.

 

My Spartan Success with Alyssa Chelak!

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Alyssa with Jim Cramer, the host of popular CNBC show “Mad Money.”

 

When do you plan to graduate and what is your major?

I’m graduating this upcoming May and I am a marketing major.

Can you tell me a little about the internship?

I am currently a Talent Development Intern at CNBC’s Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Although I am a marketing major, this internship has allowed me to be included in many diverse projects that expand my learning. It incorporates some event planning, as I help set up for special events and prepare speakers for conferences. I am also responsible for a heavy amount of research – this is where the “Talent Development” portion of my title comes into play. One of my most important tasks is to research reporters from other business news providers, such as Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and more. Once I find these reporters, I scan the internet for any videos of them on-air. We use this to see if they would be a good candidate for on-air reporting at CNBC.

How did you hear about this position?

Over the summer, I received an email from Dr. Mihal explaining the opportunity at CNBC. She told me that Mary Duffy, my supervisor, was seeking out STAC students for the position. Dr. Mihal sought me out, as other professors recommended me for the position.

Can you explain the interview process?

Once I got the email from Dr. Mihal, I immediately sent my resume out in hopes of a response. I was then put into contact with Mary Duffy, and she asked if I was available to interview with her a day or two later. When I got to the office, Mary greeted me and walked me through the building before we sat down to talk. When we started talking, I made sure to sound confident and conversational. We spoke about my past internship at United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, and what my tasks were there. We even got off topic for a while and spoke about the sports that we’ve played, which made me feel much more comfortable. She had me also interview quickly with two other women in the Talent Development department. After all was said and done, I thanked her for her time and asked when I would hear back from her. She assured me that I would hear back very soon, and sure enough, I did.

Did Career Development/STAC help you in anyway?

Yes, Career Development helped me through this process. I recall sending my resume to Maureen Mulhern so that she could check it and send it to Mary. I was also referred for the position by Mary Vota. She and I emailed back and forth, as I was explaining how nervous I was for the interview. She then sent me a document of tips for the interview process, and she assured me that I would do fine. I even spoke on the phone with Dr. Mihal before the interview, so I had a whole team of people rooting for me.

Can you tell us about some of your current responsibilities / roles?

I put some of my responsibilities into the second answer. In a nutshell, there is no “typical day” as an intern at CNBC. I love the pace there, I am never bored. I will go into the office with an idea of what my task is that day, but I am very often presented with something totally new that I need to be flexible for and adapt to. You need to be prepared for anything – no one day is the same at CNBC.

What is your favorite aspect of the position and can you give an example of what has been your favorite experience so far?

My favorite thing about my internship is getting to see my work actually be used. For instance, I did a lot of work at the beginning of my internship to prepare one of our speakers for an event, which was a leadership conference hosted by the organization “Women In Cable Telecommunications.” I researched and prepared information that our speaker was able to use at the event. My supervisor surprised me with a pass to the event, so I was able to go to the Marriott Marquis in NYC for the conference. I got to see our speaker use some of the information I provided her with. Seeing her use my information made me feel like I really did a good job with my work. It’s an amazing feeling to be utilized as an intern.

What do you plan to do after the internship?

The internship is available again in the spring, pending an invite back from my supervisor. I would love to return to CNBC and continue my work, however, my softball season takes place in the spring and I have not figured out yet if I will have the time to balance both. The ultimate goal for me is to work as hard as I can until my last day and hope that they keep me in mind if a spot opens up in the future.

What advice do you have for other STAC students looking for an internship?

There are so many steps students should be taking in order to secure an internship. To start, creating a LinkedIn account was one of the smartest things I did at STAC. I set it so that I would get alerts on my phone any time a new job or internship was posted in my given field. This is how I found my internship at United Way. Another piece of advice would be to take advantage of the size of STAC. I was recommended for the internship at CNBC because I maintain good relationships with my professors. I make sure to work hard in the classroom, and even find time to talk to my professors outside of class. Doing this allows them to have your name in their head when opportunities like this come about. One last piece of advice would be to attend events sponsored by the business school and the career development center. I went on the Bloomberg trip, I go to panels and discussions, and I make sure to read my emails so I know what’s going on around school. This lets me network, collect business cards, and get my name out there.