Grateful to find a career path that she loves, Erica Perez will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in management science and a certificate in business analytics.
But that path took many turns as Perez explored careers in accounting, music and logistics before finding the right fit in business analytics.
“I’ve always been attracted to the field of business,” said Perez, a member of the Honors College. “I enjoyed the quantitative side, but I was looking for something that also spoke to my creative nature.”
A native of Menard, Perez was a Terry Scholar, a scholarship program which recognizes high-achieving students. Active while at UTSA, Perez marched with the Spirit of San Antonio marching band, was a member of the Business Scholars Program for first-generation business students, volunteered as an ESL tutor and conversation partner and participated in an international immersion to Japan.
She also participated in several internships including KIPP Public Schools, Trans-Expedite and Coastal Life Technologies.
“Each of my internship positions provided me with valuable and transferable work experience,” said Perez, who also completed a research project in the Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry Showcase. “They taught me how to apply the methods I had learned in my classes.”
Determined to find a job upon graduation, she began applying for jobs at the beginning of her senior year. Utilizing skills she learned from the college’s Career Action Program, she researched companies and positions that she was interested in pursuing.
During the UTSA Career Fair in February, her research was rewarded with interviews at EY and USAA.
“I explained to the recruiters the benefit of a candidate with a management science degree,” she said. “We have the technical skills of a STEM student, but we also have a business mindset.”
Competing with numerous students from large universities, Perez participated in a technical interview at USAA that required her to write code and answer questions related to the intelligence analytics position.
“Talking with my peers, I was surprised at how advanced my skillset was even against the master’s students,” she said. “I’ve had really good teachers at UTSA, and the result was that I knew what I was talking about.”
Recognizing that talent, she will begin a position as a business intelligence analyst with USAA next month.
She credits the entire Management Science department including faculty members Joey Campbell, Jerome Keating, Mark Leung, Raydel Tullous and Daniel Sass with helping her reach her dream. “In the beginning the classes were hard, but the teachers went the extra mile to help us,” said Perez.
Looking back, Perez notes that she has found a perfect environment to thrive. And, she credits her UTSA experience with helping her succeed.
“That’s what I like about UTSA, everyone wants to help you be successful,” she said. “Get involved, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to try new things. You never know where they’ll lead you.”