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NMSU College of Business alums help graduates enter corporate world

College graduates experience the thrill of completing their degree. Then they wonder, “Now what do I do?”


Man with glasses
College of Business alum Mike Rogers talks with New Mexico State University student about their plans after graduation. (NMSU photo) (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

New Mexico State University alum Linda Boyd and Blas Pina help students prepare for job interviews. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

While attending a graduation in the Pan American Center, Mike Rogers, Class of ’73, realized the graduates were going to need help finding their spot in the business world.

“I sat there watching all these families of first-generation college students come into the stadium,” Rogers said. “They were so charged up and excited. When their student crossed the stage it was electric. That’s when it struck me: How are these kids going to get jobs? Where are they going to go to work? I realized they were going to need help. I wondered how many I could help with my connections.”

Rogers is among a group of College of Business alums who have stepped up to help New Mexico State University graduates explore what that next stage looks like and how to secure the position. Each had received mentoring when they started their careers.

“An alumni had helped me get my first career job,” Rogers said. “I decided it was time for me to give back.”

Once he has met with the graduate and they have made a commitment to participate in the coaching process he has established, Rogers then begins to look for the Aggie Connection, NMSU alums who are in corporate positions who might help the graduate learn about career opportunities.

“What I do while coaching the student is to inspire them to think beyond their known world,” Rogers said. “And to have confidence that they can compete with any other student from any other university. I have to remind them that other NMSU graduates are working for national companies.”

Rogers helps make the initial connection between alum and graduate. Many of the students tell him that they are so intimidated with the title and position of the alum, that they don’t think any alum will talk to them.

“Nine out of 10 alums, once I’ve made the initial connection, will take the time to contact with the student,” Rogers said. “I’ve discovered that alums are eager to give back, you just have to ask.”

Once the door has been opened for the graduate, another critical stage occurs, the interview. This is the stage that Blas Pina, Class of ’85, steps in to help by holding Skype and in-person sessions with NMSU students on the art of interviewing, including developing their resume.

“Interviewing is something that needs a lot of practice prior to using it when seeking a job,” Pina said. “Every question in the interviewing process has a right and wrong answer; it is almost a trap-oriented conversation.”

Pina shares with the students how to answer the questions and avoid the negative result of the trap.

“The resume articulates the benefits of the work experiences the graduate has already had,” Pina said. “During the interview the graduate then articulates those benefits back to the interviewer.”

For both Rogers and Pina, it is very validating to give back and to be able to see the student grow.

“It’s a natural high to be able to assist people,” Pina said. “So many people have helped me in my career, especially teachers back when I was coming out of school. They all indicated that they would help me, but sometime down the road, hopefully, I would be able to help somebody else to continue to pass it on.”

Part of Rogers’ agreement with the graduates he helps is that they, too, help future graduates when they are getting their careers started.