Embracing Career Preparation at HPU

Alumna Career Perspective-Theresa Freund

Theresa Freund, MA in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development (GLSD) ’10, is a Talent Acquisition Specialist for Enterprise Holdings in Honolulu. Originally from Augsburg, Germany, she fell in love with traveling while studying abroad at the University of Sydney. After graduating with a degree in philosophy from the University of Augsburg, Freund wanted to further her education before starting a career. Freund said she chose the master’s in GLSD at Hawai’i Pacific University for its conceptual as well as practical approach to issues impacting the world and its human, social, economic and ecological systems.

In this Q&A with HPU Director of the Career Development Center, Michael Van Lear, Freund shares the career preparation experience she gained while at HPU.   

What are your job responsibilities?
As a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Enterprise Holdings, I am responsible for recruiting and hiring for various positions including our Management Trainee Program. In order to find great talent, I attend career fairs, college events and give classroom presentations. I recruit candidates, conduct interviews and complete pre-employment backgrounds. I also provide guidance to managers regarding effective interviewing and hiring practices and work together with them to evaluate staffing models, find solutions to staffing issues and facilitate the internal promotion process.

How did your HPU education prepare you for this career?
HPU opened so many doors for me not only through the skills and knowledge I learned, but also through the great people I met there and the network I was able to build. HPU encouraged and empowered me to develop leadership skills that I was able to apply as President of the Green Club and that helped me to be very successful in my career. In the GLSD program I learned to think systemically, learned how to analyze issues using systems thinking concepts, and to conceptualize, initiate, and lead change programs. I don’t think I would be where I am today in my career without developing these skills at HPU.

Did you utilize the Career Development Center to prepare you for your college-to-career transition? If yes, what assistance did you find most beneficial?
Yes, I visited HPU’s Career Development Center quite a bit while I was approaching graduation. Especially since I was an international student on an OPT (optional practical training) visa it was not easy to find a career and I couldn’t have done it without their help and encouragement. They helped me put together my resume and write a cover letter and provided me with recommendations of what companies I could apply for jobs.

I also took advantage of their interview preparation workshops and job information sessions. And before graduating I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment to find out more about what career opportunities could be a good fit for me. This assessment really opened my eyes to other career opportunities that I previously hadn’t even considered. 

What advice would you give to other students as they prepare for their college-to-career transition?
My advice would be to prepare for your job search early through networking. Building your network early on is essential when looking for a career. For example an internship is a great way to build your resume and expand your network. Utilizing job connections you already have goes a long way in terms of career potential. When taking on an internship, consider whether or not you will gain actual experience, new skills and if it ultimately will distinguish you from other job applicants.

My other advice would be to always continue learning. Even though you spent the last couple of years studying while pursuing your degree, it helps to accept that you still have a lot left to learn as you transition into a career and throughout your career. By taking advantage of trainings and seeking out learning opportunities on my own, I was able to move up quickly in my career.