BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — One WVU Tech student is eagerly looking ahead towards his future after graduation.
Graduating WVU Tech senior Luis James, a business management major from Colombia, South America had issues looking for internships and job opportunities because he did not have the experience. He started brainstorming and as a result, opportunities came his way, and now has a job offer after he graduates.
James had other hurdles to overcome as well. Along with lack of experience, being an international student did not help with his cause either because no one would hire him to work or intern.
“I was talking with companies and I had a call with a bank. They said because I was international and didn’t have any other work experience, they didn’t want to hire me,” he said.
James then asked them directly, “How do I get experience if you won’t hire me?”
This is where he got the idea to work at summer camps or do community service. The jobs would not pay, but he would get experience. He eventually found a position at a summer camp in Pennsylvania where he taught tennis and soccer.
“I applied for a summer camp job. It was easy to get a summer camp job as an athlete,” he said. “Whenever I had the job interview with Ballie, the president of the company always sends his son to a summer camp, so I had a connection with that. We talked during the interview about the camps and their experience.”
Although this internship was not related to his degree, James was able to get the networking and skills that he needed.
“You might think the summer camp wasn’t related to my major, but it is related to your major. You have to be organized, really patient, and smart in how you plan the day for the kids because it’s not easy to do,” he said with a laugh. “I met a lot of people from Texas, California, New York City, all across the country. The networking is amazing,” he said.
The next summer, James interned with another company in Buffalo. They also offered him to stay with the company, while sponsoring his visa and help him with housing. Although he loved working for them, his passion was out for a different business venture. He had a job in sales waiting for him in Miami after graduation.
“They’re a great company and the people are amazing but the weather in Miami will be much nicer,” he said smiling. “I got the job only because of the sales experience I had with Ballie,” he explained.
James offered advice for all Tech students looking for internships and work experiences. The way he found his internship and job opportunities was through a program called Handshake, which is accessible to all students in the WVU system.
“It can be hard to get an offer from only applying through Handshake, so apply through Handshake but also apply through the company’s main web page,” he said.
James also mentioned “to take advantage of the career services resources available to students,” whether it be a college counselor to help with your resume, or to weigh your options for different careers and opportunities that may head your way.
For now, James enjoys his job in sales and hopes to take his new knowledge of experience he gains in the states, and bring it back to his hometown in Columbia, eventually having his own business one day.