Janet Garcia knows how to make the most of opportunities that are presented to her. Garcia took control of her destiny by enrolling in the UTSA College of Business. A native of Weslaco, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, Garcia will graduate this spring with a BBA in marketing. Ironically, she didn’t envision going to college until she was inspired to apply her senior year by her high school counselors.
“I had toured UTSA’s campus twice through the Gear Up program, but no one in my family had ever been to college before,” she said. “I’m the only daughter, and my parents didn’t want me to leave. I only applied to UTSA because I knew that was where I wanted to be.”
Garcia struggled her first semester. Adjusting to being away from her family in a new city, attending classes full time and working had taken its toll. Luckily she joined the college’s Business Scholars Program, an academic and professional development program for first-generation college students. Through mentoring from her BSP advisor and college staff members she turned things around.
“I took advantage of all of the services offered by the College of Business and the college’s Center for Student Professional Development,” said Garcia, who was named one of the 100 Best Business Students in the College of Business. “I attended supplemental instruction sessions, and I began to get involved with student organizations.”
Embracing this new leadership mentality, Garcia helped rebuild the student American Marketing Association chapter serving as a volunteer officer and then a vice president her senior year. And, this summer she will participate in the college’s international immersion to Spain.
One of the most important opportunities that Garcia seized was participating in the Center for Student Professional Development’s Career Action Program (CAP). CAP is a 15-hour professional development program for business students. Students receive overviews on résumé writing, interviewing, networking and business etiquette.
“I got so much out of CAP,” she said. “Meeting with business professionals, practicing interviewing and networking–the experience was invaluable. I completed the program twice and would have done it a third time if I could. It got the ball rolling and helped me be successful in finding a job.”
Beginning this summer, Garcia will begin the next chapter of her life as a coordinator in the Credit Card Department at Kohl’s, where she interned last summer. She will lead a team of 12-15 individuals in the San Antonio operations center.
“I enjoyed working at Kohl’s last summer,” said Garcia. “The culture of the company was a good fit. They take such good care of their customers and their employees. I’m excited knowing that I’m beginning a career, not just a job.”
Reflecting back on her UTSA experience she would give both UTSA and the College of Business the highest customer rating—a 10. “UTSA shaped me into who I am today,” she said. If you put the effort in, you will get a lot out of your UTSA experience. The opportunities are there for everyone. They just need to open themselves to the possibilities.”
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