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Hit the Ground Running: Advice for New Graduates From Jindal Alumni

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“Been there, done that,” might be the mantra of Jindal School alumni. In the same breath, JSOM alumni, now working around the globe, offer tips to students who are eager to burn the world up with their skills and ideas. These suggestions, culled from the JSOM Web feature Alumni Spotlight, offer broad life-changing attitudes, and smaller, make-it-work ideas. To see all the advice and ideas these alumni offer, visit the Alumni Spotlight page.

What advice do you have for current students hoping to succeed in the business world?


Heidi Rasmussen, BS'92

Heidi Rasmussen, BS’92 – COO and Co-Founder, freshbenies

Work hard and don’t do anything halfway — do everything to the best of your ability. If you start a job, finish it. If you told someone you’d do something, do it. If you do all that, and mistakes happen, you can put your head on the pillow at night knowing you gave it your all. Then, learn from your mistakes, give yourself a break and move on quickly!




Jonathan Seyoum, MBA'03

Jonathan Seyoum, MBA’03 – Partner, The Original Pancake House

Have fun! Joy is indeed an ingredient to success, not its outcome. Also be a good citizen and know your impact on the larger community. Try hard to understand people and how to use their strengths. Learn to cultivate good values and a productive culture. All these will determine how much your organizations will grow and ultimately, succeed.




Marla Wilkerson, MS'05

Marla Wilkerson, MS’05 – Partner, New York Life Insurance Company

Be flexible and learn to control the controllable. Things change. Get over it.






Farhad Rizvi, BS'11

Farhad Rizvi, BS’11 – Founder, Shamak; Associate Marketing Manager at Intuit

My advice to students is don’t be scared. As a student, you’re often afraid of falling behind your peers, so you don’t take risks that you really should have. It’s OK to cold-call someone and fall flat on your face, as long as you learn something from it. Just get on the field and make something happen. My best example of this is when I met Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms Shoes. Blake was signing autographs in Austin, and I was able to give him my business card. We talked briefly, and that was it. Fast-forward to the Dell Social Innovation Challenge event, and Blake came up to me and said he remembered me from the autograph signing. If I would not have had the courage to talk to him that day, I would never have connected with someone I consider a great business leader.


Mindy Tiu, BS'14

Mindy Tiu, BS'14 – Client Initiatives, Synchrony Financial

  1. Determine how you are unique and what makes you special. Stand out among your peers who have the same professional and educational background by finding your special skills.
  2. Communication skills in professional and social environments will get you very far in the business world. Knowing how to listen, present and network are the keys to continued success.
  3. Find a mentor and someone you want to emulate. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  4. Think ahead and think about the future. If you don’t continue to map out your goals, you will become complacent and your progress will plateau. Dream big and continue to aspire for better.


Dustin Gadberry, BSBA'07

Dustin Gadberry, BSBA’07 – Chief Executive Officer, Gadberry Construction Company, Inc.

I have five simple pieces of advice for students:

  1. Network.
  2. Get a mentor.
  3. Network.
  4. Get another mentor.
  5. Network.

Jeanne Spreier

Jeanne is a writer and editor who has worked in JSOM's External Affairs for more than seven years. She is also mother of three college-age kids who were born and raised in Dallas, and gets a lot of her Dallas know-how from them. On any given day, she would rather be outside somewhere. She earned her communications degree from the University of Kentucky. Read more articles

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