MSU Alumni Mentors Can Help Guide You to Success

November 24, 2020

You’ve done the work. You’ve studied and completed class requirements. You’ve gained experience from jobs you’ve held while in school or through an internship. Graduation is looming; your future is ready for you. Are you ready?

You’re looking at job openings and wondering – do I have what it takes? How do I stand out from other applicants? How can I show what makes me different? How do I tell my story? 

Alumni Available Through MSU Connect

Wouldn’t it be helpful to talk with an alum who was once in your shoes and who now has knowledge and experience to help you navigate your career decisions? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to have someone who could help you to understand how to position your experience and skills to help you achieve success even before you apply for a job, an internship or to a graduate school? Who can help navigate this new set of challenges to ensure you are not undermining your own success by thinking you don’t have enough experience or knowledge, or ensure you are not overselling yourself?

That’s where MSU Connect can help. This career mentoring and networking platform provides the opportunity for you to connect with Michigan State University alumni who have volunteered to help Spartans achieve their desired goals. Through alumni connections, you can discover possible career paths for your major, learn about companies and industries and get help preparing your resume and applications for jobs or continuing education. 

A Student’s Experience

Eustace Akagha, a senior packaging major at MSU, learned invaluable information and gained a greater understanding of the hiring process from an MSU alumnus who became his mentor during his job search. “I really hadn’t had a lot of luck using traditional ways,” Akagha said, so he joined MSU Connect to seek help from engineering and packaging alumni.

He soon heard from Al Bosma, a 1988 MSU graduate of the School of Packaging in the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, who is president and CEO of RTS Packaging LLC. Bosma joined MSU Connect hoping to help students. He received an invitation to connect from Akagha and their mentoring relationship began.

“I have a heart for helping younger people who are looking for opportunities,” Bosma said. “When they reach out for help, I try to guide them.” Bosma is an advocate for MSU Connect, which he calls “a worthwhile venture and a good way to help MSU students.”

Akagha said the help he has received is vital, such as advice Bosma shared on how to better present himself to employers. The pair reviewed and tweaked Akagha’s resume, but more importantly, Bosma helped change Akagha’s mindset to better understand the scope of opportunities that are possible with a broader vision.

“I needed the reassurance,” Akagha said, adding he has not yet landed a job, but he has learned a lot and received helpful information that boosted his confidence and improved his understanding of how hiring managers look at potential employees. He also got a call back from a company – something that hadn’t happened in the three months of applying for jobs before working with Bosma.

For Akagha, the feeling that he isn’t alone in his journey to land his first job after graduation is one of the most important aspects of the relationship he has built with his mentor from MSU Connect.

An Alumnus’ Experience

Bosma understands how difficult it can be for students to differentiate themselves from the competition and the pressures they feel to get a first job; after all, he was once in their shoes. Some of the wisdom he shares with students is to study companies and find those that best match your interests, passion and values. He also suggests casting a wide net and not limiting yourself.

“You need to sell yourself,” he explains, “and be able to articulate your personal value proposition to an employer.”

As he worked with  Akagha, he helped him broaden his vision to understand how his experiences can translate into desired qualifications for employers, and his ideal job. “He actually had more experience than he thought he had,” Bosma said.

“The packaging field is a very focused applied science, so when you enter the field from graduation (from MSU), you are an expert,” Bosma shared. Because the program is laid out with requirements for internships, students gain practical experience important to employers. “It’s a broad field; everything needs packaging,” he added.

Join MSU Connect

To join MSU Connect, visit msuconnect.msu.edu Thousands of alumni have joined the platform in recent months and you can search for a desired mentor based on areas of expertise, location, company and much more. And to support your ability to connect and schedule meetings with your mentor, MSU Connect includes integrated messaging and video conference options. Learn more at msuconnect.msu.edu.

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