Alicia Vargas

Alicia Vargas

Year of Graduation: December 2014

Major(s): Nutrition

Current Position: Sales Executive - C.H. Robinson

Please give a brief description of your current position:
My position involves identifying and generating new sales opportunities through analysis and discovery, participating in face-to-face meetings to present proposals, offering solutions, and close business deals, collaborating internally with my sales, account manager and procurement (carrier) team on pricing strategy and account implementation plans, working with my sales manager to ensure alignment with branch strategy in business plans and sales pipeline development and ultimately focusing on selling C.H. Robinson's core products, modes and services.

What path did you follow to get to this point?
I worked as a beverage cart server and bartender at a golf course for four summers and soon realized how good I was at using my outgoing personality to build relationships with customers. The desire to work hard (long hours, too), go above and beyond to meet the customers' needs and providing solid communication skills are extremely important skills in business. During my last semester at CSB, I worked as a Certified Personal Trainer and I was able to use similar skills to be successful. Possessing a hunger to be self-sufficient and ambitious in the work force and in life are really the reasons that led me to be where I am today enjoying my current post graduation employment and career!

What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Try to find a job or internship that is similar to what you want to get into post-graduation. Utilize CSB/SJU Career Services. Go to every Career Fair or event where CSB/SJU alums will be! Do your research on companies and people, come prepared, be confident, relax and have fun. Our alum connections are so solid and these people want to help you!

What skills are important in your field?
Strong communication skills, time management, excellent organizational skills, hunger for success, leadership, teamwork, being bilingual certainly helps, goal-oriented, strong public speaking skills and most importantly, a superior work ethic and willingness to learn each and every day!

What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Growing within the business and understanding the market. In sales, it's easy to get discouraged when you are told no. It's extremely satisfying though, having a "keep on going" attitude because when you put in the activity, work and are patient, good things will always come your way.

Most challenging?
Honestly, the 7:30-5:00 schedule with hour lunch break was very eye-opening right out of college. The most challenging part of work is just balancing my personal and professional life post-graduation (and for remainder of career, too). Also, starting a new job requires phenomenal listening skills and a willingness to learn various things each and every day. Having the patience and understanding that you don't know everything is important to remember but can be challenging at times. Just know that being physically and mentally there on the job is vital to being successful if you want to do good things for yourself and your company.

What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
Studying abroad in Spain helped me develop friendships with other CSB/SJU students. This opened my eyes to being flexible and open to trying new things in daily life. The incredibly smart and talented professors, staff and monastic community at CSB/SJU taught me how to respect all walks of life. Most importantly, utilizing campus resources to help me in reflecting on my choices throughout college, certainly helped my growth, both personally and professionally.

(Spring 2015)