On Saturday, December 19, the John Chambers College of Business and Economics welcomed 190 business graduates into our alumni family.
All graduates – 128 undergraduate students and 62 graduate students – attended a virtual ceremony where they heard inspiring words from West Virginia University’s President E. Gordon Gee, as well as former Intuit CEO and Chambers College friend, Brad Smith.
Like many others, Smith and his family are also reimagining West Virginia as the startup state, so that our state has the entrepreneurial talent graduating and building the world’s next big companies.
At Chambers College, our graduates are positioned to do just that.
“Every class, every sales competition, every activity during the last three and a half years has led me to this point, and I feel both prepared and excited to begin this next chapter in my life,” said Global Supply Chain Management graduate, Madison Gray.
When asked what she will miss the most about being a college student, Gray said being a part of it all – the campus, the people and the experiences.
“The Chambers College has allowed me to grow and has provided me with resources to be successful,” said Gray. The topic of supply chain is so intrinsic and the professors do a fantastic job of engaging the students and allowing us to develop into strong supply chain professionals.
Gray has accepted a full-time position with Gartner – the world's leading research and advisory company.
“Our graduates were guided by their resiliency and sense of curiosity when it was time to adjust the way they learned and formed connections due to the pandemic ,” said Javier Reyes, Milan Puskar Dean of the Chambers College. “I have no doubt that they will enter a changed world that is anything but ordinary guided by their curiosity and the entrepreneurial mindset that businesses will need to disrupt themselves on the other side of COVID-19.”
Even after nine months of balancing remote learning and virtual interviews, many of our business students are graduating with plans of immediately starting their next chapter.
Rachel Dorsey, a marketing major and fashion merchandising minor, believes that she is prepared to enter the working world, thanks to her energetic and passionate professors.
“Being a college student during the outbreak of COVID-19 definitely taught me to be more disciplined but, more importantly, it taught me to be more compassionate and understanding,” said Dorsey. “So many of my professors displayed both of these traits before and during the pandemic, and emphasized how important it is to be kind towards one another. That is something that will stick with me forever.”
Dorsey reminded us just how far a smile can travel and how college is more than a business deal.
“Numerous faculty members show up every day with smiles on their faces and an eagerness to ensure you can become the most well-rounded professional you can be,” she said.
Dorsey will head to Maryland after graduation to work for Amazon as an Area Manager.
While some students started their college career in business, others found their love for business later in life and made the switch.
“I really benefited by switching my major into the Chambers College,” said Master of Accountancy graduate, Katelyn Billeter. “I had a lot of opportunities to travel abroad, join organizations, and interview for jobs and internships. My accounting professors went above and beyond what they were required to do.”
Billeter has accepted a full-time job near Washington, D.C., as a Tax Associate for Baker Tilly.
“I am very excited to move, start my career and build my network,” said Billeter.
Billeter is one of many students who continued their education by earning their master’s degree.
After graduating in 2019 with a B.S. in Business Administration and now a master’s degree from the Master of Science in Industrial Relations and Human Resource program, Brent Osborne is one of 60+ graduate students who is looking forward to putting the knowledge and skills that he has gained to use in the real world.
“The path I took was by no means the path that I anticipated taking,” said Osborne. “I always thought I would find my way in the athletics world, but after learning more from the Management department at the Chambers College and then getting into the MSHRM program, I was able to find areas under the Human Resource umbrella that I enjoy and truly felt that I can be successful at.”
Osborne has accepted the offer as a Human Resource Business Partner with Bridgestone Americas, Inc., in South Carolina.
“At the end of the day, I look at my MSHRM cohort as a team that has the opportunity to make an impact and difference on people’s lives all throughout the country while representing West Virginia University.
“I think the biggest lesson I learned while finishing college during COVID-19 is understanding the need to be able to adapt and adjust. As 2020 has been something that none of us have control over, one thing that we can control is our attitudes and how we respond.”
Reyes reminds graduates that they not only have the resources needed to begin their careers, but they also have a new mindset that will lead them to success.
“You have acquired a lot of knowledge, experiences and skills in the Chambers College over the past few years, and now it’s time for you to go and use them to change the world for good,” said Reyes.” The world needs your energy and determined spirit now more than ever.”