As a recent alumna of Minnesota School of Business, (MSB) Kristina Bauck recently found herself in the unique position of returning to the St. Cloud campus as an employer at a career fair.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling,” Bauck admits. “People walking by are those I was in class with just a few months ago. Now I am collecting their resumes. [But] it’s an advantage to know their schooling background,” she adds.
State Farm Insurance in Waite Park hired Bauck as its office manager prior to her graduation from MSB with an associate degree in business administration. A welcome relief for Bauck, who was competing in a challenging job market.
“As a first job, it’s not what I’d planned for,” she concedes. “I never even thought of the industry,” she says. “But Career Services emailed me the job, and as I learned about the industry, I came to understand the importance of it—insurance is about relationships.”
To qualify for the position, Bauck became licensed in insurance sales for home, auto, life and health. But her new duties are far-reaching beyond sales.
“I handle billing and payments, incoming customer service calls, administrative jobs in the office,” she explains. “I love it! It’s a fast-paced, huge, growing industry.”
Bauck has learned that many of her current job skills go beyond the classroom. She shares some good advice for college students who will soon join the marketplace.
- The ability to smile and shake somebody’s hand goes a long way. “I’m the first person customers see. I can’t hesitate.”
- Be able to sell yourself, not necessarily your degree. “I’m hardworking, dedicated and organized. They expect you to know Microsoft Office,” she says, “so push the other skills. I didn’t have the experience, but I had skills to offer and I could articulate them. Be a little boastful and say what you’ve accomplished.”
- Don’t be afraid to apply for positions that you don’t think would fit your degree. “You would think sales for my degree,” explains Bauck, “but it is more administrative. If the job hadn’t been pointed out to me, I probably would have bypassed it. Being so specific can limit you.
- Have a goal. Be serious. Be career-minded.Be grateful. Be meaningful. Be sincere.