Category Archives: success

Nichols Has Your Back-Graduation to International Trade Deals in Six Months

There is no doubt that Nichols College goes above and beyond to help out its students find their future career after graduation. In fact, 91 percent of the Nichols class of 2012 was employed only six months after graduating. Nichols was fortunate enough to have one of our 2012 graduates, Danny Tamayo, take some time to speak with a room full of about sixty curious Nichols students, as well as Professor Goncalves, about life after Nichols.

Danny graduated last year with a degree in international business, a popular major among the Nichols College population. Now, not even a year later, he has landed a job as a junior analyst for an international trading company that trades agricultural commodities. Tamayo discussed how his job includes everything from analyzing every single aspect of the supply chain to try to cut down costs, to researching the new market and different countries. Tamayo said, “A good example would be right now, I was working to open the Columbian market for the first time for my company and we recently just made our first sale and now we’re into our second sale with the same client.” It sounds as if Tamayo is off to a great start at his new job.

It definitely helped that Tamayo did an internship his junior year for the Massachusetts Export Center where he practiced the very same skill sets he is using at his current job. As he went into more detail, Professor Goncalves asked Tamayo what exactly Nichols College has done for him especially in the international business program. Tamayo responded with, “Nichols is the type of school that has your back, that’s the way I would put it. They have your back on whatever you want to do and they help you do that. They provide you with the confidence.” Tamayo definitely made it clear, that without having attended Nichols, he probably wouldn’t be where he is today.

The job that Tamayo applied for required five years or more in the field, but he applied anyway. Tamayo said that, “if it wasn’t for Nichols providing me with that confidence of how to write a perfect resume, or how to approach my supervisor or my boss in an interview, if it wasn’t for Nichols doing that, then I don’t know if I would have the job right now.” Tamayo deeply believes with the fact that Nichols properly prepped him for the interviewing process, especially when the President of his company told him that she has been in the industry for twenty years and she had never seen a resume so organized and straight to the point. Anyone who has taken a PDS class can surely believe that.

It’s hard to believe that Tamayo’s first big project in the industry was selling light red kidney beans to Columbia considering Tamayo is actually Columbian and speaks Spanish fluently. It began with the recent free trade agreement for the United States and Columbia. Tamayo shared that, “It was basically just months of researching and learning the free trade agreement in and out and learning how to sell these beans.” Tamayo’s company sells different varieties of beans so in order to figure out how to get Columbia to buy, he had to research what sells, and what exactly people are eating.

Eventually Tamayo found out that light red kidney beans are extremely popular on the coast of Columbia. A light went off in his head when he realized that his company has a port right in the area where those beans are consumed, which means they could be sold right from the port. Once Tamayo had this figured it out, “it took months of researching and calling actual people and speaking to them in Spanish, one of them actually liked the idea of doing business with us.”

Over time, Tamayo got to know the client and built a relationship with them until they finally asked what Tamayo had to sell. The answer of course was light red kidney beans, which is exactly what the client wanted, imported to Tamayo’s main port. Tamayo made his first sale of 136 metric tons of kidney beans and with a smile on his face he said, “There’s no greater feeling than knowing you just sold this amount of beans that are going to get consumed by different types of people in this country.” With the first sale closed, Tamayo is on to his second sale with the same client, which is as equally as important because it means that he built a relationship.

With all his new success, Tamayo is thanking the international business program here at Nichols as well as sharing his advice. So what exactly is Tamayo’s advice for the Nichols students? “Just shine. If there’s one thing that the international business program showed me, and helped me understand, its that, the world is full of opportunities” It seems as if with the help of Nichols, Tamayo has discovered just how true that statement is.

A Sigh of Relief: Nichols Seniors Get Hired at AAF

Big congratulations to go out to the four Nichols seniors, Katie Birdsall, Tom Haggerty, Nicole Champney, and Danny Greiner, who got hired as staff accountants at Alexander Aronson Finning Company, a business of certified public accountants, this past semester. While all four ultimately got the same position at the same company, three out of the four took a different path to get there. Tom, Nicole, and Danny found out about openings at AAF with the help of Nichols and Road to Success.

These three seniors ended up applying and found themselves in an interview with a total of fifteen Nichols students and a grand total of twenty six applicants. With the help of their “personalities and leadership skills”, as well as “time management skills and good grades”, all three made it to a second interview. Nichols provides a very strong accounting program, so while they all felt nervous; there was definitely a sense of confidence.

On edge, eventually, Tom, Nicole and Danny all received a package in the mail to inform them that they had got the job. All three of the seniors expressed a great feeling of relief, knowing that they have a job after graduation. It certainly makes for a less stressful last semester of college. Katie Birdsall was the only one who didn’t have the typical, formal interview process, for she had an internship this past summer that lasted the course of nine weeks. When a human resources employee from AAF came to the Nichols campus last year that was when Katie was first introduced to the company. Katie was interviewed for a staff accountant internship and got the job for the summer.

Throughout the internship Katie acknowledged that she understood everything they were teaching her. She moved at a faster than normal pace and really latched on to the software that they use. Katie was an extremely dedicated intern who was eager to learn and asked a lot of questions which undoubtedly attracted AAF to her work ethic ultimately leading to a job offer.
Katie was offered the position of staff accountant during her exit interview which is basically a recap of how she did during her time at the company. Katie was hired to start and June, and says, “I’m nervous about working full time and finding the time to study for CPA exams.” No doubt, going from a full time college student to a full time accountant will be no easy task and it will take some getting used to.

As a staff accountant, these four new employees will show up at a client’s location and spend the whole day auditing them. If more work needs to be done, they will return to their home office in Westborough to finish up. Only about 20% of their time is spent in the office which means lots of traveling around. One amazing aspect of their job is that AAF has offered to pay for them to go to school to get their masters as well as CPA’s.

When asked why AAF hires so many Nichols students, AAF employee and Nichols alumni, Kevin Quinn said, “I believe AAF hires many Nichols graduates because of the sheer determination that Nichols graduates have as well as being a well prepared individual to enter the workforce upon graduation.” There is no doubt that Nichols helps shape young professionals and Kevin agreed when he said, “I feel Nichols College prepares you in a way to be very successful upon graduation, if you are willing to embrace what the school has to offer. I see a lot of young professionals enter the workforce who are very timid and not sure what they are about to embark on however I feel as though AAF notices that Nichols students are well equipped to be a valued asset right away.”
These four seniors have made it a long way to become young professionals. One thing the seniors would recommend to freshman or incoming Nichols students is to get involved. They stressed that grades are very important as well as being in a club, sport or having a job outside of school. Being phenomenal students certainly worked out for these four new AAF employees.

Ingredients and Creativity at Chocolate Innovations

At Chocolate Innovations, Rob Russo has lived up the name having created many new and exciting flavors using ideas from customers and his own culinary creativity. One of his pride and joys was suggested by a Nichols student; a peanut butter cup sandwiched between two Oreo cookies then submersed in chocolate. From there it spun out of control and he started making new creations every week. Sin-a-bon Truffles, Macadamia Butter Cups, Expresso Truffles, and a devilish Lava Cup which is a peanut butter cup with a scorching finish of chili oil.

He has been developing gift ideas as to try to step into the  weddings, corporate gifts and holiday specials market. In these cases he found through experience and schooling that more options may not always be better. So for Valentines Day this year he offered two boxes; “I Love Valentine’s Day” and “I Hate Valentine’s Day” in addition to a limited production item. The boxes go beyond name and are more of an idea; “I Love Valentine’s Day” is the traditional idea of Cherry Truffles, Chocolate Strawberries and a Strawberry Rose. Whereas the “I Hate Valentine’s Day Box” is aimed at new age ideas of Chocolate Bacon, Oreo Cups and Cakeballs. The limited production item is also unique and different, this year it is a strawberry rose with a white chocolate base and pink, blue or purple accents added. The idea is to make a good selection of items universally liked so you can reach a broad target market.

As Rob continues to expand his business, try his products give him feedback and he will continue to use fine ingredients to create unique and delicious products.  He is quite active on Facebook, so follow Chocolate Innovations there.