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Career Services Spotlight Transcripts

Transcript: Walden Networking Led to International Consulting Opportunities

RECORDING OF: YouTube Video Career Spotlight: Alicia Brooks

TRANSCRIBED: December 4, 2015

FOR: Walden University


Dina:  Hello, I am Dina Bergren, associate director of Career Services at Walden University. I worked with Alicia Brooks through a series of advising appointments. Alicia maximized her networking efforts to land an international business consulting opportunity. She shares her story with us.

Alicia:  My full name is Alicia Brooks. Dina my Degree program was the doctorate in business administration concentrating in finance. >>

Dina:  And what is your current job title?

Alicia:  My current job title for my full-time permanent job is billing quality control. I also have another job title with another company that is -- I am a business consultant and helping the -- other companies develop their business strategies.

Dina:  Great. Thank you. And what was your original goal in pursuing your degree?

Alicia:  I had a colleague from master's program talk me into let's get our doctorate. So at that time I felt this is another step of qualifying me of becoming a certified financial consultant, and that was the original plan there. During my studies in the doctoral program, I decided to transition from a billing quality control consult -- coordinator, which is also like analyst work and focus on becoming a consultant because I really want to get more into finance, but I also want to be more into the business aspect of helping others develop their business, their financial, and leadership qualities within their business. All that started with networking and talking to others at Walden.

Dina:  That's great. Can you tell me a little bit more about the steps you took to build and strengthen your professional network with Walden students and others in the Walden community?

Alicia: In the master's program we continue to keep in contact. At the doctoral residences, we actually exchanged information and kept in contact. And then on my other -- second residency, some of the same people I met at first residency were there. We networked and shared information with each other all through the program.

Dina: . It sounds like you really took advantage of the networking opportunities at Walden. And you recently had a very interesting opportunity that you shared.

Alicia: Dina, for meeting students in St. Lucia for the business consulting opportunity, this was one of the ladies I actually met at my first residency in 2012, and we briefly met, we exchanged information and of course talking through the classroom, and then we met again at our second residency in Atlanta, and we constantly communicated, shared stories, "How's your progress in class?" And I started mentoring with her actual doctoral proposal, and her work. And from there she invited me over, and she has a consulting business and her partner, they all agreed when I got there, that they had already decided to try to recruit me to become a business consultant. So there -- I was there to help her with her proposal, but I did not realize I was also being interviewed by the partner for the business consultant. And I actually helped her that week with a lot of her business consultant, and we did a leadership training class for local hotel there and -- in St. Lucia and from there I was -- it was asked by the hotel's general manager if I would become her back up consultant when she's not available in the Islands because she travels. And I accepted the position to come back and be the standby business consultant. And at this time, I do a lot of work with them over the Internet, over the phone, and I am scheduled in -- next month to go back for actual face-to-face visit with another client.

Dina:  That is so exciting. Not only did you acquire an international opportunity, but you're able to do a lot of your work virtually, as well as face-to-face.

Alicia: Yes. 

Dina: And can you tell me a little bit, what kind of responsibilities will you be doing as part of this training role? In St. Lucia.

Alicia:  The training -- my role and the training role as business consultant in St. Lucia would be to come in and do seminars with management staff within different organizations to develop -- help with teaching them leadership practices. Help their leaders develop leadership skills. Working with their employees to -- and, you know, consulting with the employees, to find out what concerns employees have, and discuss that with management, on how we can -- and I would suggest and consult with them with better practices that is available that we could make this a better way of sustaining their talented employees, and my study was on employee motivation, so it tied in, so I'm also, from the leadership point, and as -- adding extra information to say, "And here's some feedback from my research to help with motivating your employees, also."

Dina:  That's wonderful.  You used your research and your doctoral study to impact this professional role. How did working with career services help you in your transition?

Alicia:  Dina, Career Services from Walden University, truly helped me, most specifically, Ms. Dina Bergren helped me because we had several sessions and I was not sure which direction to start in. Whether to start with the business consulting and I also wanted to start my own personal business and Ms. Bergren helped me with getting my LinkedIn profile properly set up to get noticed, had more clients actually noticing me on LinkedIn, to reach out and say, okay, I need assistance. What can I do? They're noticing me on LinkedIn through a nationally -- through St. Lucia and other parts of the Caribbean, and they're wanting to know if I'm available to come and work there or help out with their businesses, not knowing the focus of which direction to start, and also a lot of the webinars you suggest that helped me with getting the guidance to go in the right direction

Dina:  And do you remember some of the webinar topics that you found most helpful?

Alicia: The most helpful one was networking within Walden. Also there was one with -- it was about starting in the consulting, doing consulting and becoming not only a business consultant, but being a consultant in the educational field and getting started as -- in the education field. Because I also want to branch and become, a professor on the doctoral level, so that will be the next career goal, now that I have started my business. At the residency, my second residency I was approached by several other students who told me about facebook groups that the Ph.D. -- there's a Ph.D. group of doctoral students, some of them are just -- there's three. One is just Walden students, and that is a Walden DBA Facebook group. You have to be invited by member -- a member or the person that started the group to join. The other -- there's a Facebook group for Ph.D. students from all different universities, it's just a network. And that networking also helped with getting through the whole doctoral process, understanding that distress -- the revisions, the whole process, having someone else to talk to that understood what you're going through, and to help you, encourage you, and we share a lot of our stories from different universities, Walden community, with each other.

Dina:  And, finally, the last question I have for you is, what career advice would you have for Walden students who are looking to network, to get connected, maybe become consultants in their field, or reach out to enhance their career opportunities?

Alicia:  To use your classroom as a way of reaching out to other class members and start building a network there. In the classroom, to say, let's communicate outside of class and share information. When you attend residencies, make sure that you just get the information and continue to go back and follow-up with communicating and networking with all those people that you meet and share information with. Train someone or helping someone within your class or you met, and then you can build -- because they're going to refer you to others, at that point, and that's how, this all started, referrals and networking that other says, okay, I want to network with you all, too.


[This text is being provided in a rough-draft format to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings]