Ah, the real world. For some, it’s an exciting leap into their new lives. For others, it’s a terrifying roller coaster of uncertainty. Whatever it may be, it’s reality — and it’s not all bad! Earlier this month, Avionos was thrilled to welcome aboard our first ever college class. With our #A-Team growing by seven new employees all fresh out of school, we couldn’t be more thrilled to be their first leap into the real world. For all of you going back to school this fall, perhaps entering your senior year and beginning the job hunting process, our recent college grads are here to share some of their wisdom. Here’s what they have to say:
Q: Congrats on graduating and welcome to Avionos! Picking a major can be hard. Lots of kids try out many different degrees before they find one that fits. Can you tell us a bit about how you decided on your major?
“Business Analytics and Information Systems. After starting out in computer science and still having an interest in more business focused courses, I decided to switch and ended up with a great balance of two.” – Jack Cain, University of Iowa “Business Analytics and Marketing. I started out in Marketing, but always had a passion for statistics and managing data. Before my junior year, the Tippie College of Business at Iowa added a Business Analytics major. This seemed to fit my skills perfectly, so I added it as a double major to my Marketing degree.” – Ethan Becker, University of Iowa “Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing. I actually made the decision after watching the popular TV show Mad Men. I was always interested, but ad work and copywriting within the show affirmed my feelings, along with the help from some mentors/professors.” – Zack Barnett, Oakland University “Computer Science. My dad bought me a “C++ For Dummies” in 8th grade. Then, I built my first computer a few months later. Finally, my senior year of high school I took AP Computer Science in lieu of Calculus and the rest is history!” – Robert Snyder, Miami University “Software engineering. I spent three years in high school learning to code with a teacher and really enjoyed solving the puzzles he put in front of me.” – Kevin Searle, Milwaukee School of Engineering “B.B.A. in Business Analytics and Information Systems. Starting school, I avoided technology and studied Biomedical Engineering because my parents had a history with both medicine and engineering. After a year and a half, my motivation was gone and I left the engineering school to take classes in Art and Psychology. I realized that applying my technical skills to both Art and Psyche was my strength and once I learned to lean into my strengths, I was less afraid of challenging myself outside of them. As a junior, I changed my major to Business Analytics and Information Systems and flew through the rest of the major in 3 semesters and a summer, fascinated with most of my classes.” – Brandon Prather-Huff, University of Iowa “Marketing with a Sales emphasis and a Finance minor. I chose this route because I have always been interested in sales and Dayton has an awesome sales program. The Finance minor was an interest in finance and accounting my freshman year and I had the space in my schedule to get add it in.” – David Kelley, University of Dayton
Q: Once your major is decided, there are as many different career paths a recent college grad can go down. Why did you decide to pursue a career in technology with a technology company?
“My older brother started coding, and began to make a small game for a class. When the class ended, he left it unfinished, even though I begged him to complete it for me. He told me the only way it would get finished is if I did it myself. Four years later, I did. I’m pretty sure he knew I would be hooked once I started learning, and that I couldn’t back down from a challenge like that.” – Kevin Searle, Milwaukee School of Engineering “I can’t remember a day when I wasn’t trying to understand how gadgets and technology work. There’s no better feeling than tinkering with something or setting up a device and finally reaching that end goal. I’m always thinking of ways to improve on current tech.” – Robert Snyder, Miami University “I have always been passionate about anything tech related, and a job within an industry that must be on the cutting edge of tech is a great place to build a career.” – Jack Cain, University of Iowa “Knowing that marketing and consumerism are moving toward the digital playing field. I didn’t really decide on an industry. I just had a feeling this would be good for me to grow within my career and field of study.” Zack Barnett, Oakland University “My mom was an early Internet adopter, so I grew up around tech and always found ways to use it to improve my work and streamline my processes. It was recognizing that refining processes with technology was a field of its own that pointed me here.” – Brandon Prather-Huff, University of Iowa “I performed well in a past internship in the technology realm and found I really enjoyed selling the value that comes from using technology.” – David Kelley, University of Dayton “Technology is always changing and provides an opportunity to continuously learn. It keeps you on your toes and forces you to adapt to unfamiliar situations,” – Ethan Becker, University of Iowa
Q: What about Avionos caught your eye?
“When I first ran into a recruiter, I was impressed by how actively they recognized what I cared about personally and let me know how it could play within Avionos. Once it got to the phone conversations and interviews, I was extremely impressed at how sympathetic and understanding they were of all of the complexities of getting a first job. This human element sealed the deal for me.” – Brandon Prather-Huff, University of Iowa “The fact that it is a boutique firm (ATM), which allowed me to get my hands dirty on multiple projects across numerous platforms and functionalities. It was also the fact that it was a firm in general and I wanted to go firm over corporate to start my career.” – Zack Barnett, Oakland University “The award winning culture, the consultative selling that you don’t find in many beginning sales roles, and working in Chicago were all a big goal of mine.” – David Kelley, University of Dayton “One of my main goals in searching for a job was to find somewhere in which I would be continuously learning. I liked the fact that it was a smaller company that placed a large emphasis on the professional development of its employees. Also, the tech consulting space is a great way to be exposed to various technologies and industries.” – Ethan Becker, University of Iowa “Consulting always sounded fun — to be able to try several different projects and be constantly learning and meeting new people. Avionos had a small company feel and culture that would also allow me to get my hands on a lot of new projects.” – Kevin Searle, Milwaukee School of Engineering “I always imagined myself behind the scenes on something not many people worry about the inner workings of. When I ultimately decided I would like to be more client facing and not writing code everyday, the Technical Analyst position here was a no brainer! Not to mention the entrepreneurial, self-starting attitude of all the great people.” – Robert Snyder, Miami University “Avionos is a young company with extreme growth in the past few years. I see this as being a great opportunity to become a part of it and I am extremely excited to start and foster a great career here.” – Jack Cain, University of Iowa
Q: What has been the best part, so far, of being on the Avionos #A-Team? What do you like about the company culture?
“Everyone is very open and welcoming. I have been here for a few weeks and I feel as if it has been a few months. Almost everyone introduced themselves to me and made sure I was comfortable and ready to get engaged in the company culture. Another thing I noticed was the expansive consulting experience of my coworkers. Surrounding yourself with those more knowledgeable than you offers a chance for mentorship and forces you to bring your A game every day. This is a position I seek to be in, as it inspires and tends to bring the best out of me.” – Ethan Becker, University of Iowa “The work hard play harder mentality mixed with the family feel is something I enjoy. It allows me to transition into the company relatively smoothly, knowing that everyone is ready, willing, and wanting to help me succeed. In the long run, when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.” – Zack Barnett, Oakland University “Avionos has a fantastic culture. Everyone makes an effort to get to know you, even the top dogs in the company. Having these interpersonal connections in as challenging an industry as consulting makes it feel like a true team effort.” – Brandon Prather-Huff, University of Iowa “Everyone seems to go out of their way to make you feel welcome and get to know you on a higher level than just a colleague.” – Jack Cain, University of Iowa “The best part has been spending my first few weeks learning about what I am selling and who I am selling to while being surrounded by a very supportive group who help each other succeed.” – David Kelley, University of Dayton “It’s been really easy to meet and get along with everyone. Anyone I’ve had to ask a question to has been more than ready to answer it, or direct me to the right place to get an answer.” – Kevin Searle, Milwaukee School of Engineering “Everyone here is very supportive and wants to see you grow to success. I love the “go-getter” attitude. The only thing standing in your way Avionos is yourself — you just have to wake up and want it!” – Robert Snyder, Miami University
Q: What advice would you give to incoming seniors in college about the job hunting process?
”You can never do too much. Go out and network as much as you can. Apply for any job that you find interest in because you never know what might come out of a conversation. I applied for a completely different position before transition mid-interview process to a different role that best fit my skill set and the company needs. The biggest piece of advice I have is to not be afraid to fail. 1000 no’s will lead to that 1 yes that you have been waiting for. Use the conversations as practice. Every interview, every person you talk to, and all of the information you intake are leading you to the job that you are ultimately looking for. You just don’t know it yet.” – Zack Barnett, Oakland University “You may think you know what you want a career in and don’t be afraid to go after that goal with everything you have. At the same time, don’t limit yourself. Be open to an opportunity that may have never crossed your mind before. Just because you studied one area doesn’t mean you can’t prove your ability to excel in others. Go into every interview excited to present value to your interviewer.” – Robert Snyder, Miami University “Keep your options open, but don’t hesitate to go after the position or company you desire. Use rejection as a learning experience for the next interview process and politely ask the recruiter why you weren’t selected for the position.” – Ethan Becker, University of Iowa “Apply early and use the resources and writers in your life to put together a resume you feel proud of. When it comes to picking a company, look to surround yourself with people with aspirational traits. When you’re there, the standard that you’ll strive towards will be one you look up to yourself.” – Brandon Prather-Huff, University of Iowa “Start early and look for smaller companies. It’s awesome to work everyday and know all of the people you see, instead of the few that you work with on a regular basis.” – Kevin Searle, Milwaukee School of Engineering “Have a lot of patience and be prepared to put a lot of work in on researching companies, refining resumes, and preparing for interviews. It will pay off if you do it well.” – David Kelley, University of Dayton “Keep your options open, don’t pigeonhole yourself in a specific market, and don’t jump on the first offer you receive if it’s not the right fit. Had I not taken my time during the process, I would have never considered consulting or found my dream job at Avionos.” – Jack Cain, University of Iowa