By Diego Romero ’10
Today, three years after graduating Eller, I serve as the Director of Client Services at McFadden/Gavender Advertising where I manage clients valued more than $2 billion. On an average day you can find me on a plane heading to a meeting, negotiating contracts, selling new business or leading a creative brainstorming session. So, how did I get to where I am today? Student Leadership. Here is a look back on my on my student involvement and why it is important for you to get involved today.
You’re not alone. The University of Arizona can be intimidating. You are probably transitioning from a group of familiar students in high school to thousands of strangers in a hot desert setting. Student organizations will help you meet new friends and to identify what areas of study interest you most. I started college as an undeclared student and chose marketing as my major after meeting mentors in the Arizona Blue Chip Program. Staying involved made me feel connected to the school and eased my fears of one day tackling 400 level courses.
Find the leader in you. Anyone that knows me knows that I can talk. Sometimes I may talk too much. However, it wasn’t until I developed relationships in Eller College Student Council (ECSC) that I learned my style of communication had a special value. The Eller Undergraduate Program is heavily focused on group work. Club involvement can teach you how to speak up and take on leadership in a group setting. Remember, success is achieved when a variety of personalities work together.
Break out of your shell and network. Some of the first skills you will learn in Eller are how shake hands, make proper introductions and how to follow-up with new networks. Exercise these skills in student organizations by meeting professors and undergraduate faculty members you don’t already know – they might just be your next letter of recommendation or an entrée into your first job. In fact, I met the President of my company one year before graduating in an ECSC career workshop. My follow-up letter will rest eternally in the top drawer of her desk. Clubs train you how to interact with new people from around the world and those you might not immediately identify with. It’s important to keep an open mind when networking because picking your team is a luxury in the “real world.”
There is still time to Bear Down. Time management is vital for professional success. Students often avoid clubs because they worry it will be a drain on their time. My involvement in clubs taught me how to study efficiently, how to give back to the community, and how to have fun while doing so. I’ll never forget appearing on the front page of the Arizona Daily Wildcat cheering on the Wildcats alongside people I met in Eller clubs.
Learn to achieve. Student clubs and organizations expose you to challenges that build your confidence and resume! Clubs kept me on track with my career goals and gave me a competitive edge because I had tangible experience to discuss.
Where to start? Make sure to attend the Eller Leadership Fest at least once and to schedule regular meetings with the professional development center – these resources will help you make the most out of your Eller education!