Posted on May 11, 2016 by Joanna Carver

Karla Cruz

Karla Cruz

Karla Cruz Leaving on a high note, Karla Cruz will graduate this week with high honors, a bachelor’s degree in management and with the distinction of being named the Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College of Business for 2016.

A graduate of Business Careers High School, Cruz chose to attend UTSA because of its reputation for having a strong business program.

“I made the best decision coming to UTSA,” said Cruz, who was born in El Salvador. “I am fortunate that the College of Business makes it possible for students from different backgrounds like myself to grow professionally and academically.”

While at UTSA Cruz was a member of the Honors College, the Business Scholars Program, the McNair Scholars Program and was named a Distinguished Business Student–placing her in the top 1.5 percent of all business undergraduates.

Following her passion for marketing, Cruz completed an undergraduate honors thesis project on “When Real Beauty Fails, Testing the Limits of the Dove Campaign,” with former marketing faculty member Kristina Durante .

She presented her findings which explored whether using real women in an advertising campaign would be as successful if the products marketed were used to enhance beauty at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Utilizing skills she learned in the college’s Career Action Program, Cruz landed a dream internship with Eli Lilly, a Fortune 500 global pharmaceutical company, while attending the Adelante National Leadership Institute. Working with their marketing oncology team, she found the work rewarding and was invited to join them this fall as a full-time marketing associate.

“I liked their values,” said Cruz. “I’ll spend my first year attending their marketing academy, then I’ll be assigned to one of their divisions.”

A first-generation college student, Cruz credits the college’s Center for Student Professional Development for preparing her to become a business professional. And, in the future, Cruz plans to continue her education, earn a Ph.D. and become a marketing professor.

“So many business students are getting placed in amazing jobs,” said Cruz, who will begin work in June. “I never would have imagined where I would be today, but I’m thankful for the opportunities.”

Wendy Frost—

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— Joanna Carver