Graduate Student Success Story: Jacob Gregus ‘22 MBA

Jacob Gregus ’22 MBA is the 2022 Career Development Experience Award winner (master’s degree level).

Jacob reflected on the way he prepared himself for his career and shared insightful advice on career development that helped him land a full-time position at Verizon as a Manager of Integrated Marketing.

Essential Skills for Career Success

The skills Jacob ranks as the most essential to his success are critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, leadership, self-awareness, global perspective, and professionalism. He believes that his academic program at UConn has helped him develop communication and leadership skills that he will be able to utilize in his role. 

“Being present really helps.”

Jacob also emphasizes the importance of soft skills and professionalism. “Always dress for success and work with the rule of thumb that it’s always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. Being present really helps as well,” he suggests.

Internship Leading to a Full-time Job

Jacob took a ten-week internship with Verizon Business Group as an MBA Marketing Intern during the summer of 2021. He first sought this opportunity out of his interest in marketing and to bridge a gap between his prior work experience which was unrelated to marketing, and the field of IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications).

This experience enabled him to enhance his skills, especially in marketing project management, which helped with his success in securing his full-time position in the company. He also took the chance to further develop his leadership skills, “I had to step out of my comfort zone often to connect with others and prove that I was capable of leading groups of individuals on different teams to achieve shared goals”.

To make the best use of his internship opportunity, he said, “I had to onboard quickly and learn as much as I could in ten weeks to establish credibility among the many different stakeholders I influenced.”

Reflecting on his internship, he suggests “treat every day of your internships and experiences like an interview for the position you want.”

What Else Contributed to Career Success

In addition to his internship, Jacob participated in several case competitions, with his team winning the School of Business Case Challenge and placing third in the UCLA Moorad Gameday Case Competition. He also obtained the Advanced Business Certificate in Project Management while working towards his graduate degree.

His program and career staff also played a role in his success, Jacob believes. He learned about different software in class and expanded his knowledge of effective leadership and management approaches. He also received help with navigating internship offers and opportunities from Theo Menounos, current Assistant Director, Center for Career Development, School of Engineering (former Associate Director, Career Management Full-time MBA Program).

Advice on Preparation and Job Searching

“You don’t need a perfect cover letter or resume to apply for a role. Make sure you develop a good working template for applications, then make incremental changes along the way to meet the needs of each individual opportunity,” Gregus suggests.

He encourages graduate students to “take advantage of every opportunity and don’t be too picky because you never know what doors might open for you.”

By Damiao Zoe Xu
Damiao Zoe Xu Graduate Assistant, Graduate Student and Postdoc Career Programs and Services (She/Her/Hers)