Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.
Name: Jacob Froelich
Majors: Organizational Management BBA & Theater BA
Grad Date: May 2015
Organization, title, and a brief synopsis of what you do
As of July 5, 2016, I work for City Girl Coffee Co. (a division of Alakef Coffee Roasters.) I am our Brand Development Coordinator based in the Twin Cities. Brand Development at City Girl means a lot of different things depending on the day, but generally it involves building our brand and presence in the Twin Cities through various different methods. This summer I was tasked with creating and running a Demo program, to make it easier for customers to sample our coffee before buying. I took on the responsibility of recruiting, hiring, and training brand ambassadors on our story and how to interact with customers in a grocery store setting. It was super fun! That is still my main responsibility heading into the busy holiday season, however side projects for me included conducting market research on new markets for City Girl as well as getting trained in on our sales techniques and process. More to come in the future I’m sure!
What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
While it’s hard to pick any one single experience that let me to my current position, the most direct connection with my current job would have been my internship experience I completed I completed during my Junior year at UMD. My business major and marketing minor made me a perfect fit for a Social Media Marketing internship and my time spent networking with the folks in the Career and Internship Services office was well spent when I was approached about interviewing for the position by Mary Gallet who worked in the Career and Internship Services office at the time. Mary arranged my interview and the rest is history. I interned for the company I work for now, specifically my internship was created and I reported to my current boss. While the company didn’t immediately have an opening for me when I graduated, I was approached about joining the team full-time this past spring and jumped on board without hardly any hesitation. The experiences that led me to the internship in the first place were varied. I would say it helped that I had previously visited Career and Internship Services quite a bit, had my resume up to date, and was actively seeking out an opportunity like the one I found. I believe my Marketing minor helped to demonstrate knowledge in the area the company was looking to bring someone in and I believe my Theater major helped with being personable and communicative during my interview. At the end of the day though, it wasn’t just me, job hunting really is a community effort. I’m glad I had people willing to help me. I would recommend to anyone looking for their next opportunity in a job, or otherwise, that a great first place to start, would be reaching out to your network and seeing what’s already sitting there just waiting for you.
What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
Don’t be afraid of failure. It seems that many people get caught up (and quite worried) about having everything right the first time around. I’ve found it’s much more productive to direct your energy into a choice you make and go with, rather than wasting time worrying and not making a decision. As David J. Schwartz, author of the Magic of Thinking Big once said “Action cures fear.” Take a step in the direction you want to go, even if you’re scared or nervous, take the first step scared or nervous.
As many people will readily recognize it’s not always what you know, but who you know. Smarts and experience are ultimately very important, but it’s always a good idea to take action to expand your personal and professional network whenever possible. Joining clubs and organizations and going to those sponsored lectures and lunches is actually super beneficial! You never know who you will meet and where, keep a resume on hand, or at least be willing to talk about your skills and interests at any time with a potential employer. I’d recommend taking the Myers-Briggs and StrengthsQuest career assessments, if you haven’t already, to be more in touch with your skills and interests.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
Hmmm. It’s probably something I was told 50 times while in college but it seems some things you just have to go out and learn the hard way. That being, make sure to find something you actually care about. I started out of college at a technology company that by all means had the makings of a perfect career starter for young people. Great culture, good(ish) pay, and a fun team of people to work with. It checked a lot of boxes on my list and so without really investigating my other options, I jumped at the opportunity. 6 months in, and while I enjoyed going to work with my friends every day, it wasn’t enough to quench my thirst for something more meaningful to me. I feel lucky to have come into the opportunity I have at City Girl now, but definitely take your time job hunting. It will take time!!!! Start early, and make sure the places your interview at, reflect your true passions, or at least provide a path to them.
What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
Know thyself. While in college, try as many different things as you can! Find out what you love, find out what you don’t and look for those things in your future career. And if after college you feel just as lost as when you entered, know that it’s okay. Start somewhere, just go for it, life is not a race and don’t compare yourself to those around you. Compare yourself only to your previous self and take pride in your accomplishments. Love yourself, because that energy is contagious. Read the book You are a Badass by Jen Sincero if you don’t know how. And ask for help when you need it. It’s not a race and you’re not alone.
Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
It’s good to say yes, and it’s good to say no. If you come to an opportunity at least be open minded enough to investigate it. Jobs and careers can come from the least likely of places. And if you have an idea for a business or lifestyle, TRY IT while still in college. It’s the easiest time to try and fail and try and fail and try and fail and try again.
Interested in City Girl Coffee? Check out their employment page.
Photo sources: Jacob & Unsplash|Drew Coffman