Alumni Career Spotlight: Luis Sanchez

Luis Sanchez is a Quality Specialist for the Quality Business Management Luisdepartment of the 737 Program at The Boeing Company.  He currently manages the process and standardization of the Quality Business Plan Review functional & scorecard metrics; he also supports Lean+ Capturing the Value of Quality for 737, Quality Rate Readiness, Embry-Riddle Campus Intern Recruiting Team, and various productivity improvement projects 737 Quality.  Prior to coming on board with Boeing full-time, Luis joined The Boeing Company as an intern supporting the 737 Program under Brian Hoefig, Sr. Quality Manager for Field before transitioning to full-time at the end of his internship.

Luis earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, specializing in finance, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2011.  While in school, he worked as a Graduate Research Assistant, student tutor and research associate.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University.

What does your position at The Boeing Company entail?

I manage projects related to Quality Improvement for the 737 Airplane Program.

How were you selected to become a recruiter for The Boeing Company?

Mark Lyden, lead recruiter for The Boeing Company, gave me the tools and opportunities to join Boeing, so one of my main priorities was to join the ERAU recruiting team and bring more students to Boeing, as a way to thank Mark Lyden and ERAU for the dream come true event that happened in my life.

As a Boeing Recruiter, what are some of the biggest mistakes you have seen ERAU students make when seeking work at The Boeing Company?

One of the mistakes is that students only apply for opportunities during company visits or career events. Managers post jobs and internships based on their availability of free time to do so, so you should continuously seek out and apply for openings.

What advice do you have for students and alumni seeking work at The Boeing Company?

BE PATIENT AND APPLY, APPLY, APPLY!!!!!!!! Our system is very slow, so please be patient. Also, you need to be applying to 50 jobs or more; just because you get turned down from one job does not mean that you will automatically be disqualified for the other 49.


Alumni Career Spotlight: Jonathan Weisberg

Jonathan Weisberg received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) Jon from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in August 2011, and he completed his Bachelor of Science in Tourism and Hospitality Management at Arizona State University in 2007.  Jon is currently a Research and Technology Supplier Management Procurement Agent with The Boeing Company.  Before coming on board with Boeing, he completed internships with JetBlue and the Walt Disney Company, both in finance-oriented positions.  Jon also worked for Mesa Airlines, prior to coming to Embry-Riddle, in crew scheduling.

How did you land a job with The Boeing Company?

Obtaining a full time position at Boeing was not an easy task as Boeing receives hundreds or even thousands of applicants for one position.  For my position alone, there were 1,100 applicants for just 3 openings.  I learned this the hard way as I started applying for positions back in the fall of my last year at Embry-Riddle.  I was fortunate to meet lead Boeing recruiter Mark Lyden who went through the 7 steps to applying for jobs as well as encouraged me to apply to multiple jobs, as in 20+ jobs.  I assumed with having an MBA, 2 years of airline experience, and top notch internships with JetBlue and Disney that I would be a shoe-in for a job with Boeing.  However, this was not the case right away.  Besides applying for full time jobs at Boeing, I also applied to finance and revenue management jobs with major airlines.  By the spring of 2011, I had a few interviews with the airlines, and after applying to over 20 jobs at Boeing, I secured an interview as a Procurement Agent.  I ended up getting the job and started working as a Procurement Agent within Boeing Research and Technology in September of 2011.

What does your current position entail?

As a Procurement Agent within Boeing Research and Technology, I enjoy the daily challenges of solving logistic issues as well as interacting with suppliers and engineers.  In Supplier Management, we are the liaisons working between the Supplier and engineer to make sure the parts I order run on time and all the orders are correct.  I have a broad range of experience having purchased numerous commodities and services, leases, and loans and having negotiated contract terms and conditions.  My favorite parts of this job are: negotiating price to find a best value solution for Boeing as well as our suppliers and traveling to meet with our suppliers face to face.  Being able to work for a leader in the aerospace industry has been a great experience thus far, and I look forward to what lies ahead with Boeing.

While working on your MBA, you completed internships with JetBlue Airways and The Walt Disney Company. How did those experiences benefit you?

Having the opportunity to intern at two world class companies such as JetBlue Airways and the Walt Disney Company were incredible experiences that have helped me in my current role.  Even though both internships were in finance, I learned a lot about customer service as well as building my Microsoft Excel and presentation skills.  While at Walt Disney World, I was working in Financial Operations for the Water Parks and Miniature Golf Courses.  All finance interns were required to work on an individual project and present it to all the other interns as well as finance executives including the CFO of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.  My project was on weather-related studies and how weather during certain times of the year affects our operating income.  My project helped our operations team determine at what temperature the water parks should be closed to save Disney hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Do you have any advice for business students seeking a career in the aerospace industry?

My biggest advice for students who are sophomores or higher is to get as much work and leadership experience as possible.  The best way to get work experience is to complete summer internships in fields in which you are interested.  Even though you will learn basic theories and learn the aviation industry in school, you will not really understand it fully until you work there.  Plus a summer internship gives you insight into a company and is a 3 month interview that helps you secure a job with that company once completed.  My other recommendation is to network with leaders within the aerospace industry and find mentors.  Most business leaders within the aerospace industry love mentoring bright young minds, especially because they will be hiring these students, and someday these students will be running the company.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Kruthika Srinivasan

Kruthika Srinivasan, DB 2011

Kruthika Srinivasan, DB 2011

Kruthika Srinivasan is a 2011 graduate of Embry-Riddle’s MBA program. Born and raised in India, Kruthika left her home country at age 17 to work on a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics from the University of Nottingham. Soon after receiving her degree, Kruthika realized she wanted to immerse herself in the aviation industry and decided that a degree from Embry-Riddle would be the best way to move forward with her goals. She moved to the United States and began attending Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. As an MBA student, Kruthika landed an internship at Southwest Airlines. Soon after completing her internship, she interviewed for her current position. Kruthika is a Senior Analyst in the Network Planning Department, where she has been working for the last year.

Tell us about your position at Southwest Airlines and what you enjoy about working for them.

As a Senior Analyst in the Network planning department, I am part of the team that is responsible for routing and scheduling the approximately 520 aircraft in our network. We are constantly living in the future while we optimize the balance between the commercial requests of the schedule and the operational feasibilities. The fact that we are a point-to-point network just makes our lives as planners a lot more interesting as we solve this massive puzzle made up of at least 3000 flights a day. It is a very fulfilling job where I get to see my schedule working in the real world while making good profits for the company. I personally love working for Southwest Airlines. We, as a company, have a very different approach towards work which needs to be experienced firsthand. The culture at Southwest is outstanding, there is an excellent work-life balance, my co-workers are very friendly and the people here in general have a very positive outlook towards life. 

Many international students want to gain some work experience while in the U.S., either during their studies or after graduation.  What advice would you share with these students?

My advice to international students trying to get some work experience in the U.S.:  

  • Start early and plan ahead. This is most important.
  • Do a good amount of research about the companies that you are interested in.
  • Work closely with Career services and take advantage of the experienced counselors there.
  • Show the employer that they have a lot to gain by hiring you – not just in terms of knowledge and skill set, but also because you could bring a global perspective to their business practices and add to the diversity of the company.

You represented Southwest Airlines at the recent ERAU Industry/Career Expo.  Being on the recruiting side of the table, share a few things that stand out to you when you are talking with someone about working at Southwest.

Most students that I spoke to at ERAU seemed to have done their homework about Southwest Airlines and I definitely appreciated that. I would advise any student approaching Southwest to be confident, cheerful and have a good time. This is a company that gives importance to not only your work ethics and knowledge, but also to your all-round character.

We know that many times the education received at college is a solid foundation for the work world, but it does not completely prepare you for the career position you will have.  What skill have you found that has helped you adapt to your new position quickly?

Yes, I agree that just having a formal education does not prepare anyone for work in the real world in its entirety. However, I do believe that it is very important to have a good foundation in school as it is the basis for your thought process.  Education may not prepare you for every possible scenario, but it helps train your mind to identify the right to approach any problem.  Personally, I have found that keeping yourself up to date with the latest developments in the industry and associating how knowledge learned in the classroom could be applied to a real world problem will prepare you to hit the ground running. Also, team projects are an excellent way to learn and build on your emotional intelligence, leadership skills, time management techniques and most importantly, ability to be a team player.

Is there any other advice you would share about preparing to be successful in the work force?

Focus on the task at hand and aim to be a perfectionist. After attaining a certain level, when you are working with some of the best minds in the industry, hard work, the right attitude and good work ethic are the only things that will help you stand out in the crowd.  At the same time, don’t forget to have fun.

Industry Spotlight: Industrial Automation and Material Handling

Blake Bearden, DB 2006

Blake Beardon, WW 2006

Blake Bearden is a 2006 graduate of Embry-Riddle’s Master of Business Administration in Aviation degree and a former USAF officer. While in the Air Force, he worked as an Acquisitions Officer and was involved in the development of new radar technologies as well as the development of weapon systems to be employed in space force application. Upon finishing up his service in the Air Force, he sought out a career which would not only pique his interest in emerging technologies, but also allow him to employ what he learned from his MBA classes at ERAU in the business world. Blake was given the opportunity to manage operations on the West Coast for Bastian Solutions, a leading system integrator of material handling systems.

Why did you pursue a career in the material handling industry?

Actually I knew very little about the material handling industry prior to beginning work with Bastian. My undergraduate degree in Human Factors Engineering gave me a good working understanding in optimization of the workplace for employees. The material handling career field built upon that foundation and has allowed for me to help other companies continue remaining competitive in their respective industries through use of automation technologies. I truly enjoy seeing our systems helping our customers and making them more productive and efficient in their respective markets. Knowing that we make a difference for so many companies is a very rewarding experience.

How does material handling and facility automation allow companies to be more competitive?

With today’s rapidly evolving global economy, increased competition, and expanding markets, business owners can no longer simply raise prices to improve profitability if they also desire an increased market share. Companies that desire complete success, no matter which industrial sector they may reside, are searching for ways to improve productivity, increase quality, and grow overall profitability by minimizing the cost of producing, storing, or moving their product. These goals create a burning desire for business owners to find every competitive edge possible, many times resulting in automation of their facility. With a career in facility automation, you will assist companies in more productive movement of their product through the application of Conveyor Systems and Robotics. Proper implementation of automation not only reduces labor costs, it also minimizes inefficiencies typically involved where operations are more manually intensive. It also allows companies to provide better service to their customers, shipping orders faster while minimizing order error rates.

What do you like most about your job?

I am very fortunate to work with a great group of people. The friendships and camaraderie that I share with my employees and fellow managers are what I cherish most of all. Aside from that, a career in this industry affords engineers the chance to work in just about every industry in the market. One day I may be helping an aerospace client implement an automated storage and retrieval system used in a highly specialized manufacturing environment while tomorrow I might be helping a clothing retailer or customer involved in food and beverage production with expanding their system. No two days are ever the same!

What advice can you give for students interested in a career in material handling?

Seek an internship with a material handling system integrator and get your feet wet in the industry to see if it’s a good potential fit for you. We hire a lot of industrial and mechanical engineers to design and sell our system, though we have a need for controls engineers, software engineers/programmers, logistics consultants and project managers. If you have a strong desire to make a difference, this is a great industry to become a part of!

More about Bastian:
Bastian Solutions is an independent system integrator dedicated to helping our customers increase their productivity through proven automation, information systems, and sound operating procedures. Bastian has historically been an innovator in the field of material handling and controls, with recent advances including mobile robotics, PC Based Controls, 3-D Human Machine Interfaces and Browser-Based Viewing. Bastian provides innovative solutions for automation including conveyor systems, automated storage systems, robotics, automated guided vehicles and also provides warehouse software solutions such as Warehouse Management Software (WMS) and Warehouse Controls Software (WCS). Learn more about Bastian and available positions for which we are currently hiring.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Ryan Antisdel

Ryan Antisdel, DB 2011

Ryan Antisdel, DB 2011

Ryan Antisdel is a 2011 graduate of the Master of Business Administration program at the Daytona Beach campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Ryan was interested in aviation, but his interest in using his degree within another industry called to him more.

Through hard work, perseverance and focus on his goal, he has been able to cross into the automotive industry and successfully utilize his ERAU MBA degree to pursue his career passion.

As an alumnus of the MBA program at ERAU Daytona Beach, tell us how you ended up in the automotive industry and what you like the most about your current position/company.

Working in the automotive industry has been a life long goal. My very first job began as an entrepreneur, and it involved starting my own car detailing business. As time progressed I held various positions with several motorcycle dealers, including BMW, Ducati, Honda and Triumph. During my time at ERAU, I worked as a graduate assistant with the EcoCAR program as an outreach coordinator, which was sponsored jointly by GM and the Department of Energy. The EcoCAR program gave me a great deal of insight into the difficulties of engineering a hybrid vehicle along with exposure to media highlights such as meeting Federal Congressman John Mica.

Immediately following my time with EcoCAR, I was selected to join BMW Manufacturing for a 6-month internship and worked for the Human Resources department while specializing in Technical Training. The highlight of this position was being surrounded by major manufacturing, German culture, and being able to drive camouflaged prototypes that other people dream of even seeing.

All of the positions mentioned above helped to open the doors for a job at American Honda Motors as a Sales Analyst. My favorite part about this position is having the ability to see exactly how vehicles are sold and marketed from the factory, regional, or field level. Another great part about this position is being able to meet unique Honda Dealer Principals; one for example has a family history in automotive racing. The general public goes into a dealership and has no perception of how much effort and coordination it takes, months in advance, to make it all work. Honda developed this position to help entry associates gain essential skills and knowledge before becoming a District Sales Manager. Obtaining a role that contains a diverse portfolio of training and encourages questions is exactly what I require to further develop a solid foundation in the automotive industry.

As your career positions have been in a typically non-traditional industry for Embry-Riddle alumni, how did your ERAU degree prepare you to be successful in this industry?

ERAU gave me a unique insight to the world of aviation and the complexities of that business. While a class may have focused specifically on Boeing vs. Airbus, I was always thinking in terms of automotive companies like GM vs. Toyota. Aviation and the automotive industry have similar fundamentals. They all require engineering, design, manufacturing, logistics, product planning and sales/marketing to name a few. ERAU prepared me to think of the corporation as a whole and conversely on an international level. Instead of load factor per flight per day, I am now thinking in terms of vehicle sales per dealer per day. While the labels may have changed, the task and objective remain the same: maximize sales to remain competitive.

During my studies some of the courses actually had case studies within the automotive industry which were beneficial, and if they didn’t, I would be the student who always would try to make the problem fit into the automotive industry. I still recall an instance where Lamborghini was working with Boeing on new composite structures, both for their upcoming products that were being developed. Even though an Italian supercar has very little in common with a several hundred passenger aircraft, there is still a connection; you just need to look closely.

A degree from ERAU prepared me in too many ways to list, even my 65 hours of flight training helps with understanding some vehicle dynamics. However, it is the combination of my degree and the applied experiences that have led to my success in this industry.

What advice do you have for a current MBA student, that would help them after graduation?

Start applying for internships, graduate assistantships and part-time jobs during your first semester. While I was fortunate to have an amazing 6-month internship at BMW Manufacturing, I waited too long and missed the opportunity to have a second one. The key is to take the initiative and apply right away. Secondly, if you have a passion for a certain field or company, look at all of your options. For example, I had to apply to BMW North America and BMW Manufacturing separately. You want as much experience as you can obtain before you start applying for a permanent position, so do not sit idle and expect to be handed a job. Another piece of advice would be to not rely on anyone but you. I had several reliable connections that fell through along with many of my colleagues, and that was of course very discouraging. Never give up and always keep looking ahead.

I Have A Business Degree – Where Do I Find My First Career Opportunity??

By Sandi Ohman

An education in business provides a broad knowledge base, which is helpful in transcending across many industries.  However, it can present a challenge – having so many opportunities that you don’t know where to start looking.

To start, here are some questions to consider:

  1. If you have had an internship during your education – did you like it? If so, check out the opportunities at that company or similar companies.
  2. If you didn’t fully enjoy the internship, what parts of the internship did you enjoy?  Try focusing your career search on those aspects.  For instance, you liked the social network & website duties – check into marketing opportunities.
  3. Not having had an internship doesn’t mean you can’t find a career-launching position – it just means you will need to know yourself or do some self-evaluation to figure out where to start.  What do you like to do?  Consider what you liked about other work experiences or the classes you took – what kind of careers include those elements?  This could involve more education specializing in those areas (certificates, graduate degree, another few classes), but that can be a small investment for the work you will do the rest of your life!

Completing your degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) doesn’t mean you can only find work in the aviation/aerospace industry.  Your education should have prepared you to experience a shorter learning curve in this industry, but you can definitely cross over to other markets.  ERAU alumni have found their careers leading them into a variety of industries, including the following non-aviation related areas:

Commercial Banking, Consulting, Global Business Environments, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Military, Sports, Transportation, and Wall Street & Financial Markets

Once you have determined career areas you are interested in pursuing and research the companies in that industry, resume and interview specifics for that industry and start applying.  An internship after college is still an option for many recent graduates.  This is an excellent way to start in a new industry and let the employer evaluate performance before a full-time opportunity is offered.  We hear from employers from non-aviation/aerospace industries that didn’t know about ERAU previously but gave a graduate or student an opportunity and now want to recruit ERAU students/alumni because they are so impressed.  ERAU students and alumni can successfully cross into other industries!

Networking is so beneficial to the career search – before and after you have the job!  LinkedIn is an excellent resource for networking, along with professional organizations for that industry.  Check out the ERAU online Alumni directory eaglesNEST and ERAU alumni and Career Services LinkedIn groups to start the networking process.  There is also a list of aviation/aerospace professional organizations on the Career Services website.  There are just as many organizations for other industries as well.

Ultimately, your first career position might not start in the career/industry you were hoping for, but every experience offers learning opportunities (both personal and professional) and a chance to begin molding your experiences toward the career you are pursuing.  Often we tell students, “you get out of it what you put into it,” and this applies for the career search process and the experiences you obtain along the way.  If you are willing to learn new things, improve skills, grow personally and professionally, and continue pursuing your dreams, the likelihood of obtaining those dreams increase greatly!

Sandi Ohman is the Senior Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She has been with the university for over 9 years and has advised students in most all degree areas while in Career Services.  Sandi brings additional experience having worked in the finance industry for over 6 years in her previous career.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, and her Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. 

Alumni Career Spotlight: Joe Gibney

Joe Gibney, DB 1998

Joe Gibney joined Signature Flight Support more than 12 years ago and has held multiple roles within the company.He is presently in London as Vice President and Managing Director for the company’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa businesses. He earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1998, where he also served as a Presidential Fellow. 

What challenges face upcoming graduates as they transition from a college environment to the work place?

Given the current economic outlook, many companies are scaling back and not hiring.  In addition, there are lots of experienced people in the market right now.  New graduates are competing against people with significant work experience.  That makes it really important to have internships, co-ops, or past experience on your resume.  Most importantly, take the time to create relationships with people at your target companies.  This, along with good recommendations from people respected in industry, will help to open doors.  In general, but especially in this market, you need people “on the inside” pulling for you.

What recommendations do you have for candidates seeking to find international employment?

In general, unless you come with the right to work in a particular country, i.e. have an existing visa or work permit, gaining international employment can be very difficult.  Assuming this box is checked, language skills, unique knowledge or something else which differentiates a candidate will make all the difference.  The key is to ask yourself what you bring to the table that someone “in country” cannot bring.

What characteristics do you consider when interviewing someone?

I consider hiring the right people to be the single most important contribution I (and any business leader) can make to the success of the organization.  I take hiring, and thus interviewing, very seriously.  A candidate should know about the company in question and have done their research.  He or she should ask intelligent and probing questions, both to demonstrate some knowledge as well as to communicate intellectual curiosity and the desire to learn.  Basic communication, analytical and technical skills are a given – if a person can’t mark up a document in Word, perform basic analysis in Excel, or put together a coherent PowerPoint presentation, he or she is not equipped for any business role these days.  I also want to see evidence of passion, commitment, teamwork, a career plan, etc.  Lastly, a person needs to have good “fit” with the organization, share the organization’s values, etc.  I look for people who can excel in their present role, but also have the ability to grow with the business.

How has your Embry-Riddle experience helped you to advance to your current position?

Embry-Riddle was excellent preparation for my career in business aviation.  The MBA program gave me broad exposure to business, from accounting and finance, to marketing, analysis and strategy.  I can honestly report that I have used almost every course in practice.  In addition to the general business curriculum and aviation coursework, Embry-Riddle provided great exposure to the industry (reference my comment above about developing relationships with industry in order to get your “foot in the door” with a good company).  An Embry-Riddle degree is seen as a good pedigree and indicates not just educational attainment but also a passion for the business.  I certainly made the right choice going with Embry-Riddle for my graduate level education.

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