More than a decade into his career, Isai Salmeron ’19 is pursuing an operations and supply chain management concentration at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College to expand his opportunities in the supply chain field. After interning with alumnus-owned law enforcement products firm Safariland in 2018, Salmeron has landed an operations analyst internship with Goldman Sachs for summer 2019.
Isai Salmeron ’19 attended a Goldman Sachs panel discussion information session at Cal State Fullerton on March 23, 2018, his first semester as a transfer student. Seeking a career in supply chain management, the adult reentry junior initially felt internship and career opportunities with the financial giant would not intersect with his career path.
But months later, the company’s recruiters, who had Salmeron’s contact information from his attendance at the on-campus event, reached out to invite him to an all-expenses-paid internship recruitment event in New York City.
“The firm received more than 1,700 applications, and I was lucky to be one out of about 120 who made it to New York. I couldn’t believe it,” says Salmeron, who had his first internship interview at the event.
“I stayed in touch with one of my professors, updating him on my experience. He told me something I will never forget, and it changed the way I felt about my situation. He said, ‘You belong there.’ That pushed me to do my best in my interview, and a couple of weeks later, I was invited to the Goldman Sachs Salt Lake City offices for a final round of interviews,” he recalls.
On Nov. 16, Salmeron was extended an offer for a summer 2019 operations analyst internship, which provides an inside look at careers with the company specifically focused on operations-related tasks, such as process improvement activities, writing standard operating procedures and working with business partners.
“This opportunity intersects with my career goals by giving me an opportunity to show my abilities and development in a global organization,” says Salmeron. “It also intersects with my academic goals since I made a decision to return to school for my B.A. to open opportunities, and this is a door I want to walk through.”
Exploring the Supply Chain with Safariland
This summer’s Goldman Sachs internship will be the second such experience for Salmeron. In 2018, he interned at The Safariland Group, an Ontario, California-based law enforcement equipment manufacturer led by marketing alumnus Scott O’Brien ’77. Working with other Mihaylo College student interns, Salmeron helped the company, which is relocating to Florida, implement the management concepts pioneered by automaker Toyota.
“I gained valuable insights on the importance of working in a team (you can’t do it alone, you must work together to achieve the goal), the importance of communication (whether it’s good or bad, you must be clear, objective and concise), and the challenges and opportunities firms such as Safariland have in the market, including product development and workforce management,” he says. “We also had classroom sessions in which we learned about lean methods through activities and illustrations that highlighted the simplicity and effectiveness of the concepts used by former Toyota executives.”
Coming Back to School After a Decade of Professional Life: A Look at the Adult Reentry Experience
Salmeron launched his career at Parking Concepts Inc. as a part-time cashier, eventually rising to a location manager. While the young professional enjoyed his position, he sought new opportunities, which led him to earn his bachelor’s degree.
“As my responsibilities changed, I got training applicable to the new tasks assigned. Eventually, I was managing a team of 30 people, which presented many challenges and taught me many valuable lessons,” says Salmeron. “In addition to managing the team, I still needed them to do their part to achieve the project objective. The work itself presented challenges and opportunities. But after six years, it became routine, and I didn’t feel challenged. So, I decided to leave my full-time position and go back to school to get my B.A. I want to continuously be learning and taking on new challenges.”
More than a year into his student experience at Mihaylo College, Salmeron points to the resources and opportunities he has had access to when encouraging other non-traditional or adult reentry students to pursue an education at Cal State Fullerton’s business college.
“CSUF challenges me academically, helps me reach my goals and is a major resource for employers looking for talent in the region,” he says. “The high points have been taking advantage of the resources available to help me when I need them. The professors, supplemental study group sessions, tutoring services, the college and university career centers, and career advisors have all played a role in helping me succeed during my time here at CSUF.”