Class Captain 2018 – Alex Gibson

Polaris Alumni Board Alumni Stories

We asked our 2018 Class Captains for insight on their experiences with technology and what working has been like since graduating. Alex is doing the Commercial Project Management Development Program at Siemens. 

The tech skills I use in my job are mostly related to excel.  I recently took an excel training through my job to learn more shortcuts and other things about excel I didn’t know!  However, before starting my job I felt very comfortable and prepared when using excel since many of the classes we take at Eller are focused on excel and making sure we know all of its capabilities.  I have also used Tableau in my job, and I did a couple of online tutorials to learn about it.

My personal journey is definitely a little different since this program at Siemens has us moving every six months for two years, so it was a major adjustment from college.  When I started my job/first rotation in North Carolina, it was a pretty big adjustment to working life.  It is a little weird when you go to an office for 8 hours a day and realize that this is how life is now, as opposed to having a few classes a day and club meetings on top of that.  Being 3 hours ahead of most of my family and friends also made it a little harder to keep in touch in the beginning.  It takes some time to get used to the 9-5 life, but it is definitely nice to come home and not have to worry about homework or studying!  And it is so much fun to visit your friends that live in different places, that’s easily my favorite part of working life.

Siemens is such a big and diverse company, they work in everything from mobility (trains, light rails, etc.) to software so I learn a lot about many different industries in each rotation.  My biggest pieces of advice for graduating students entering the work force is to network and get to know your co-workers.  Each has such an interesting story and career, and you learn a lot from them.  It is so important to build relationships early in your career because you never know when an opportunity may come up just because of the people you meet.  Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to a co-worker or your boss to see what else you can do or to ask if you can work on a project that looks interesting to you.  You are there to learn, and your supervisors want to help you learn as much as you can!  Another piece of advice is to take advantage of traveling with your job, it is a great way to see new parts of the company and to network.

For those that are considering doing a rotational program that involves moving around, I would say take that opportunity!  While moving around can be stressful and intimidating, it has been such a cool learning experience and you quickly learn a lot about yourself and the company by working in different industries, offices and cities.  Do lots of traveling on the weekends, take advantage of your time without homework and see what makes each city unique.  There is no better time to travel and move around and see what you like than right now.  It’s a great way to figure out where you want to live, too.  Making friends post-college is not as hard as it seems: by using Meetup, Bumble BFF and getting to know your co-workers outside of work makes it easier to make friends than you think!