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Smeal Alumni Provide Advice to New Grads

December 18, 2013

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 ’93 Operations Management, vice president of corporate development at SAP AG, offers 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.

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

Justin D. McClure ’00 Management, president of Daflure Heating, Cooling, and Solar, adds 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.”

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

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.”

"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."

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 coworkers tick, and then see if you can help them be even better.”

“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.’”

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

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