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Feb 26, 2014

ICPM Hires Recent CoB Marketing Grad Aly Wilkins

Marketing Grad Aly WilkinsMultiple seasoned professionals applied for a job opening last spring as a marketing/customer service representative for the Institute of Certified Professional Managers.  Of all the applicants, Aly Wilkins (Marketing, ’13) stood out to Executive Director Lynn Powell, CM, who offered Wilkins the position.

In May 2013, the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) posted a job opening for a marketing/customer service representative. The Institute was seeking an experienced administrative professional to service ICPM’s customers and support marketing initiatives.  Work samples, to include a business writing and marketing promotion, were to be submitted at the time of application.  Of all the applicants, Aly Wilkins, a marketing student who was graduating in May, stood out. She was offered the position and accepted it.

ICPM is a business center of the College of Business that develops and certifies the competency of managers and leaders in the global workplace. ICPM gives the College of Business international exposure and, in return, the Institute receives credibility from its affiliation with JMU as a nationally recognized academic institution. 

Wilkins stood out from the beginning and has continued to do so

Many applicants did not fulfill all the requirements for the job application. Wilkins, on the other hand, submitted an impressive portfolio of projects from her marketing classes.

“She had a high level of confidence, especially for an undergraduate going into her first professional position,” said Executive Director Lynn Powell. “She was very well spoken in terms of work she had done and things she could do for ICPM.”

Since being hired at ICPM, Wilkins has exceeded expectations. She recently completed her nine-month evaluation and has not only performed well, but also continues to learn more about marketing. In addition to enrollment in the 2014 Google Online Marketing Challenge, a global online marketing team competition that involves developing and executing an effective Google AdWords strategy for a real client, Wilkins also recently completed JMU Training and Development’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Series, ICPM’s Foundations of Management certificate, and the Advanced Social Media Certification from the eMarketing Association.

“JMU has a really strong mentality for professional development, which I like,” said Wilkins on her effort to continue learning.

Advantages of staying in the area after graduating

While many students graduate and leave the Harrisonburg area, Wilkins decided to stay in town for many reasons. Working at a smaller company has given her more opportunities than many of her friends who have moved to larger areas with bigger companies.

“For a young person it’s fun because you’re living the best of both worlds,” said Wilkins on staying in Harrisonburg. “A lot of your friends are still here but you’re also bringing home a paycheck.”

Wilkins has her own office and gets to work on everything marketing-related, whereas many of her classmates are not gaining that much experience in their jobs yet.

“Aly is our marketing representative. She takes care of everything from social media to print to e-mail campaigns,” said Powell. “She’s involved in everything, so she is our go-to girl. We let her run things because she has shown that she can handle it.”

Wilkins’ eagerness to work and learn fits in well at ICPM, as it offers employees a good learning environment. She has seen projects through from start to finish and asks for assistance when she doesn’t have an answer to a particular problem. She is also challenged to continually think of new ideas to gain customers and keep promotional materials new and exciting.

Preparation from the College of Business

Wilkins attributes many of the qualities that make her a great employee to her education from the College of Business. In her courses she learned how to work effectively with other personalities, as well as learning skills needed to get a job, such as writing résumés and cover letters and practicing interviews.

“They really prepared us well for getting a job,” said Wilkins. “I feel lucky because not all schools have that.”

One professor in particular who taught Wilkins and other students how to land a job is Professor Hertzenberg. Wilkins was also strongly influenced by Dr. Tokman, who was her study abroad instructor and wrote a recommendation for her to get the job at ICPM, and Dr. Clarke, who taught an Internet marketing course that sparked Wilkins’s interest in that field.

Wilkins advises current business students looking for employment to find a company with which their personalities fit well. She also suggests applying for as many jobs as possible because there are so many other people applying for the same positions.

Satisfaction with the decision to work for ICPM

Wilkins truly values working for an educational organization because of the emphasis on learning and training. Employees are valued at JMU; she is happy with her decision to take a job at ICPM.

Powell appreciates Wilkins’s hard work and is impressed with the students coming out of the College of Business.

“I would definitely seek out a graduate from CoB over another candidate,” said Powell. “My experience has been that CoB graduates have solid work skills, good work ethics, and they are well grounded. Powell said confidently that she would hire Wilkins again in a heartbeat, and Wilkins agreed that she would definitely choose a job with JMU again if she had the chance.

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