For Sarah Ochs, a 2013 School of Business and Economics graduate, social media is more than just a way to connect with friends or share photos of food—it is a valuable job-hunting resource.
After graduation, Ochs combined her social media savvy and networking skills and emerged with the most coveted of all things: a job. “I used LinkedIn as a tool to get my current job at Kohler, as well as my internships during college,” she said. “It is an enormously powerful and underutilized tool.”
At the Michigan Tech Career Fair, Ochs was undeterred when her top choice, Kohler, was not hiring business students. Instead, she handed her résumé to the company’s representatives and headed straight to LinkedIn. “I found the HR manager of the department I wanted to work for and got in touch to let her know I would be in her area. We set up an informational meeting and it snowballed from there."
Ochs’ proactive approach paid off, and she was hired as an associate retail market analyst with Kohler Co. in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She works with major home improvement retail outlets, including Lowe’s, Menards, and The Home Depot, to track and analyze Kohler’s in-store promotions. In her first year on the job, she has been thrilled with the opportunity to travel to individual stores to help with marketing events. “I enjoy working directly with the customer and seeing the results of my work on display in the store,” said Ochs.
Like many recent graduates, Ochs was no stranger to the real world when she left Michigan Tech. As a student, she spent two summers as an intern for Mercury Marine working on brand management projects. In an exceptional display of confidence, the company gave Ochs complete control over the branding of their Demo Prop program repositioning. She also spent a semester as a technical marketing intern for Caterpillar Inc.’s Marine and Petroleum Power Division, where she helped launch a new engine in the Asia Pacific region. There, she learned the arts of international communication and engineering communication. “My internships gave me a snapshot of what to expect in the real world. They taught me how to handle working on a single project for months at a time,” she said.
Ochs’ energy and enthusiasm for leadership were evident in her time at Michigan Tech, where she founded a chapter of DECA, an association of marketing students. During her tenure as the head of DECA, she helped seven of the group’s eight members qualify for international competition. She was active in the University’s chapter of the American Marketing Association, working with local businesses to create and execute marketing plans. Ochs also served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council and worked as a Career Services coach. “There are so many opportunities to get involved and develop your professional skills on campus,” she said. “It’s one of the things that drew me to Michigan Tech in the first place.”
With less than a year at Kohler under her belt, Ochs is looking to the future. She is researching options for an MBA program and considering her trajectory within Kohler. Ochs encourages Michigan Tech students to pursue their own careers with the same fearless approach that has served her so well, saying, “When you want to find a job or an internship, it is crucial to use your resources and make sure that you are connecting with the right people. Don’t be afraid to talk to companies and make contact through LinkedIn. With this process, I had four job offers before I graduated—and none of those companies were looking for business students when they came to the Michigan Tech Career Fair. I stand as proof that it pays off.”
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.