From Pizza to Pie Charts: Brooklyn Park Business Management Grad Maximizes Value of His Education
By Will Erstad on 10/28/2013
Love can have a profound effect on a young man’s priorities – just ask Brooklyn Park Business Management graduate Jared Sebesta. At 18, his son was born, and from there the course of his life shifted substantially. With another person to support, Sebesta needed to get to work as soon as possible.
After earning a diploma in audio production, Sebesta also spent time working as a producer for musicians and setting up sound for live events. However, Sebesta found that he didn’t really enjoy the lifestyle of an audio producer.
“I realized that I didn’t like staying out until 2 a.m. at bars and other smaller venues,” said Sebesta. “I was hoping [audio production] would be a career but it ended up being more of a hobby.”
Pizza provides taste of business experience
Looking to make a change from audio production, Sebesta was fortunate enough to have an uncle who owned a couple of restaurants in a regional pizza chain. Sebesta’s uncle needed someone to help run a new location, so Sebesta took the offer. The experience running the restaurant gave Sebesta a taste of the business world and one area that stood out was marketing.
“I liked when I would run coupons or deals,” said Sebesta. “[The process of] figuring out what we [could] give away or at a discount and still drive sales and make money was really fascinating to me.”
After four successful years, an offer was made to buy the location Sebesta ran, which was accepted. Once again, Sebesta found himself at a crossroads in life. Sebesta knew that he could always return to running a restaurant, but with an opportunity to make a big change, he decided the time was right to head back to school. To further refine his business skills, Sebesta started to pursue his degree in business management, with a specialization in Internet marketing.
Making the most of his experience
A common regret among graduates is not taking advantage of extracurricular groups and activities. Fortunately, Sebesta does not fall into that category. From the beginning, Sebesta worked to get the most out of his experience at Rasmussen College by getting involved with groups like DECA, volunteering for fundraisers and attending seminars. Additionally, Sebesta spent two years as a work-study student and focused on finding internships to add experience to his resume.
“Even though I had experience running the pizza place, I realized there weren’t a lot of people who could vouch for me and what I was capable of,” said Sebesta. “So my focus was on getting internships in order to get a better feel for the corporate world.”
By the time Sebesta graduated, he had over a year’s worth of internship experience – including three months with the Better Business Bureau and eight months as an intern for Rasmussen College’s marketing team. Sebesta says the experience was invaluable.
“That’s when I realized how little I actually knew,” said Sebesta. “There was a definite learning curve but the experience was really helpful in learning how things work in a corporate office.”
Another valuable asset in Sebesta’s academic and professional career was the relationship he built with his instructor, Soma Jurgensen. Sebesta worked closely with Jurgensen in his time as a work-study student and says Jurgensen was a big help in his career.
“It was nice to be familiar with someone that I could ask for help with anything from finding internships and job hunting to how to handle different situations that come up,” said Sebesta. “She was a constant motivator for me and always pushed me to get better. Even if [I] got an ‘A’ on an assignment she would still have suggestions for how to improve.”
Stepping up his game
The effort required to keep up with all of the extracurricular activities and responsibilities in Sebesta’s life was substantial, but Sebesta says his experience as a father made the adjustment easier.
“I had already given up going out and things like that on the weekend when my son was born, so I was more disciplined in that regard,” said Sebesta. “It didn’t matter what day of the week it was, my focus was getting all of my work done first.”
Sebesta’s drive to get his degree and start a career comes not only from his son, but from his fiancée as well.
“My fiancée is a big overachiever,” said Sebesta. “When I met her she was a princess for the St. Paul Heritage Days Festival and now she is going to school to be a pediatrician. I thought to myself that if I love this girl and I want to marry her, I need to step my game up and improve myself to stay up to par with her.”
Networking provides an edge
After graduating, Sebesta had just one last substantial hurdle to clear, finding a job. The energy and effort Sebesta put into his school work and extracurricular activities was shifted to a steady regiment of networking and applying for jobs.
“I had a routine where I would wake up in the morning, write somebody an email, send out a thank you card and call someone every day,” said Sebesta. “I’d set up informational interviews with people I’ve never met just to talk about their jobs and tell them what I’m looking for.”
The effort paid off. Sebesta met his current boss through a contact from an internship and turned an informal interview into his current position at Avallo Creative & Web Development. Sebesta says he is very pleased with the new position.
“I love this job,” said Sebesta. “I’ve never liked a job as much as I like it here.”
Share your story
If you have a success story from your tenure at Rasmussen College and would like to share it, please email us.