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Career Assistance 44 Years After Graduation

Bryant and Stratton College alumni Debbie Whalen smiling for her photo

In the summer of 1978, many of Debbie Whalen’s high school buddies were leaving Buffalo to explore new things. She wanted to go with them. Instead, her parents offered to sign her up and pay for a one-year executive secretarial program at Bryant & Stratton College’s Eastern Hills campus. It ultimately became a turning point in her life. 

“I did not want to go to school, honestly,” Debbie said. “I had always had a job and worked, and I wanted to go with my friends to Florida and just keep making money. But it turned out to be a foundational year that resulted in a fantastic career for decades.” 

At the end of her program year, in late 1979, DuPont came to the campus with the aim of recruiting Bryant & Stratton students. “They said they wanted the cream of the crop, and they came to Bryant & Stratton to interview and test students in this program. I was so well prepared. I could type 80 words per minute and 120 in shorthand — which was a big deal in those days,” she said. “DuPont hired three of us after reviewing our test results.” Upon graduation, Debbie and two other students in the class began working at DuPont, where she spent the next 30 years. “The skills I learned at Bryant & Stratton allowed me to rise quickly through the ranks and receive multiple promotions,” she added.

Generational Ties

That same year, Debbie’s grandfather, Frank Buzydlowski, who had graduated with a business degree from Bryant & Stratton decades earlier, was invited to attend a special luncheon hosted by the College. “He went into the business program after the war,” she said. “It was incredible to be graduating from the program at the same time my grandfather was being celebrated at that luncheon for his accomplishments. Everything had come full circle.” Frank worked at Studebaker-Worthington as an efficiency expert who performed time studies for the company until he retired. 

Finally Getting to Florida

When Debbie retired from DuPont, she moved to Florida. After seven years in the Sunshine State, she moved back to Buffalo. When the pandemic hit, she looked for and found remote work with GEICO, a job she still holds today. 

While she enjoys her job at GEICO, she wanted to find a part-time job that would better accommodate her lifestyle. She was working afternoon shifts from 2:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. and wanted to change jobs. “I didn’t really know where to start,” she said. “I decided to call my alma mater for advice.”

Always a Personal Touch

Debbie’s call to career services ended up being a delightful surprise. “I made a call to the main number and spoke with a wonderful woman who was so helpful and said she would have someone get back to me. My call was returned very quickly. It was a great follow-up.” 

Debbie worked with the career services team to update her resume and explore her job options. “I thought it was a shot in the dark, but they made it so easy for me. It’s the personal touch. It reminds me of when I went to school there; there was always a personal touch. We had this teacher — our shorthand teacher — who invited the whole class to her house for breakfast one day. She made chocolate chip pancakes for us all. I’ve never forgotten that. Bryant & Stratton is and always was a very caring environment. People there want you to succeed.”

Debbie’s resume has already been updated, and she is ready to explore new options. “I have not started looking yet,” she said, “but I’m ready! They’ve prepared me well again.” She and her grandfather were her only family members to graduate from Bryant & Stratton, she said. “It was the right move. I don’t think I would have ended up in a Fortune 500 company if I had gone to Florida out of high school. It was a great choice for me.”

Support Doesn’t End at Graduation

Our support for students doesn’t end at graduation. Ongoing help is provided to alumni, no matter when they need it. Alumni can come back for help with career strategies and advice, as well as affordable continuing education. Whether job-seeking assistance is needed right now or 10 years from now, we provide our graduates with the same access to personalized career support from knowledgeable professionals that our active students receive. For free!

Our alumni are part of a network that is more than 10,000 graduates strong and have access to a variety of resources, including:

• Resume review and support

• Interview prep

• Job search strategies

• Career coaching

Join the Bryant & Stratton College Alumni LinkedIn community to network and connect with students and alumni in the US and across the globe. All of our students and alumni receive:

Personalized career plans – Our knowledgeable career services team helps you navigate your individual career path after graduation. 

Internship opportunities – Internship opportunities for campus-based students provide real-world experience and networking opportunities to jump-start their careers. Our career services team can help you find an internship opportunity that may even turn into a full-time career opportunity. Plus, the experience you gain from your internship will prove invaluable in the interview process. Our students complete a capstone course designed to provide them with excellent opportunities to practice and display what they have learned in the classroom.

Resume development – We have experts to teach you how to write a resume or review your resume for the structure, formatting, and language that appeal to employers.

Interview prep – Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Take part in interview prep to polish your answers and avoid common missteps. You may even have the opportunity to participate in mock interviews in which local employers provide real feedback that gives you the competitive advantage you may need to get hired.

Strategic job search advisement – Finding a job is more than submitting an online application. Our career services associates can help you learn how to navigate the complexities of today’s marketplace. We work hard at building relationships with local employers to ensure they can provide you with career opportunities that can lead to quicker entry into the workplace upon graduation.

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