NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Imagine graduating from college without pounding the pavement for a job immediately after receiving a diploma. Stephen F. Austin State University marketing senior Grant Lebkowsky of Flower Mound found himself in that position thanks to the career resources and corporate partnerships in SFA’s Rusche College of Business.
Lebkowsky started his new job at Houston’s Mustang Cat headquarters two weeks after graduating with his Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing this May. Mustang Cat is a privately held Cat dealership that has offered construction and power systems equipment for 70 years.
“Before attending SFA, I had heard of Caterpillar products but not the specific Cat dealer in the Houston area,” Lebkowsky said. “This job opportunity wouldn’t have been on my radar if it wasn’t for the College of Business’s partnership with Mustang Cat. The partnership made the process so much less nerve-wracking, and it allowed me to interview in a familiar environment.”
Lebkowsky learned about Mustang Cat because of the college’s Mustang Cat Day, when representatives from the company visit with SFA business students to discuss their interests and the company’s needs to see if they align. Turns out, Lebkowsky and Mustang Cat were a match.
“They have a developmental management and sales training program that offers opportunities to learn how to properly support prominent customers and improve operations,” Lebkowsy said. “I’ll work with Cat to overcome supply chain logistic issues, manage customer accounts and payment, and partner with strategic teams to meet critical success factors. I am very excited to learn how to handle the new challenges this job will present.”
The college’s corporate partnerships also give students access to a variety of companies through the annual College to Career conference and the Career Success Passport Program. These are managed by Gina Small, academic advisor, career success specialist and lifesaver to many students in the College of Business.
“When I work with students to help them move from the theoretical ‘future career’ to concrete strategies and opportunities, that light comes on, and they make that connection — their excitement is so tangible,” Small said. “They can see a path forward and understand it’s something at which they are capable of succeeding. They bridge that gap between student and ‘real adult’ and gain that confidence to move forward.”
In addition to job search assistance, the Career Success Passport Program offers scholarships for students who participate in personal and professional branding, experiential learning, leadership development, and cocurricular events and activities throughout their college years.
Small said most students are apprehensive during their job searches, but using the college’s career resources creates “a large measure of relief. Grant is a great example of a student who listened and reached out at the right time, and things came together for him.”
Small hosts presentations a week before events like Mustang Cat Day to prepare students and settle nerves.
“These give students information on what to expect and how to conduct themselves,” Lebkowsky said. “They were a huge help.”
During one of these sessions, Lebkowsky met Mustang Cat representatives and learned more about the company so that by the time Mustang Cat Day rolled around, he was ready.
“I interviewed with their team, and the whole experience was amazing,” he said. “It was awesome to not have to drive all the way to Houston for an interview or do a Zoom interview. It made the job search process way easier.”
Austin Propes, general service manager at Mustang Cat in Houston, credits the College of Business with facilitating “seamless interaction with students.”
“Through in-classroom conversation, college to career messaging and on-location interviews, we’ve found individuals like Grant Lebkowsky,” Propes said, adding that working with the college’s corporate partnership program has helped the company find the talent it needs.
Lebkowsky isn’t the only Lumberjack at his new job. SFA alumna Seraiah Scamardo, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics in 2018, is now the parts department manager at Mustang Cat in Houston and will be supervising Lebkowsky.
To learn more about the College of Business, visit sfasu.edu/cob.