Smeal College of Business alumni provide advice to new graduates

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- More than 250 students will leave the Penn State Smeal College of Business at the end of this month with diplomas in hand. Members of our alumni network offered some valuable advice to those students as they embark on their next steps.

As a new employee, the first week in a new job is important. Russell Hartz, a 1993 graduate in operations management and vice president of corporate development at SAP AG, offered a few ways for grads to make a great first impression on their new colleagues.

“Be friendly and smile, dress the part, and if you have an opportunity to volunteer for a particular project or task, jump on it,” Hartz said.

Justin D. McClure, a 2000 graduate in management and president of Daflure Heating, Cooling and Solar, added that follow-through is incredibly important in establishing mutual respect among new colleagues.

“Most people over-promise and under-deliver,” he said. “You want to set yourself apart. Do what you say you will do.”

“Look to bring the best out of the people around you regardless of your seniority, and let your actions be the heart of your ‘brand.’”

-- Justin D. McClure, president, Daflure Heating, Cooling and Solar

Hartz also had some advice for a few months down the road, three to six months into a new job: “Research parts of the company that you aren’t familiar with. The better you know your company’s products or services and how other parts of your company operate, the more effective you’ll be at your own job. Understanding the big picture is very important.”

Networking should also be an important part of new graduates’ career life, alumni say — especially networking within one’s own company.

“Look to bring the best out of the people around you regardless of your seniority, and let your actions be the heart of your ‘brand,’” McClure said. “Ask questions that allow you to really know what makes your co-workers tick, and then see if you can help them be even better.”

With an alumni network of more than 76,000, Smeal alumni are a valuable resource for students and new alumni. If you are a Smeal College of Business graduate and would like to provide advice or mentorship to current students, fill out a Volunteer Interest form.

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Last Updated January 07, 2014