That’s where MSU Connect can help. This career mentoring and networking platform provides the opportunity for Michigan State University alumni to volunteer to help Spartan students achieve their desired goals. Through alumni connections, students can discover possible career paths for their major, learn about companies and industries and get help preparing their resume and applications for jobs or continuing education. MSU Connect is more than a networking tool, it creates a powerful bond between Spartan alumni and students.
A student’s experienceEustace 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 and 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.
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 built with his mentor from MSU Connect.
An alumnus’ experienceBosma 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 one’s interests, passion and values. He also suggests casting a wide net and not limiting oneself.
“You need to sell yourself and be able to articulate your personal value proposition to an employer,” said Bosma.
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.