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Community Fellows Blog Posts

Natalia Rey: Applying Business Skills Outside of Class

Natalia reflects on the impact her LSB education has had on her time at the Office of Economic Development.

We see that several CEOs or leading business figures build companies with no background in business, and begin asking ourselves what a business degree offers. I chose to pursue a business degree because I wanted to learn the strategic perspectives necessary to thrive in a business environment, or market something valuable. And so, the bigger picture of my education will go beyond learning about stock valuation in FNCE 121 or exploring the product life cycle in MKTG 182. The most treasured business skills that transfer to outside-of-class settings are those that shape your approach to problem solving.

My fellowship with the San Jose Office of Economic Development (OED) has exposed me to a new perspective on the business skills involved in nonprofits, government sectors, and community work. As a Marketing-Communications  intern, I’ve been able to maximize cross-functional collaboration in which I engage with the Business Development team and the Communications team. I have found this to be the most effective way to advance in projects and communicate goals and concerns moving forward. For instance, time management, strategic networking, and a design thinking approach are a few of the many business skills I’ve used in the office that have made cross-functional collaboration so smooth.

The OED is committed to serving the small business community by offering countless accessible resources advising on topics like brand marketing, COVID-19 rent relief programs, and legal compliance aid. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is translating business owners’ stories to the San Jose community. Throughout different marketing campaigns, I’ve had the privilege of strengthening my communication skills by conducting one-on-one interviews with local business owners.  The best stories I’ve been able to relay occur when sufficient trust is gained between them and me.  My fellowship has made me realize the importance of big-picture thinking as a business skill to be used in the workforce. It can be easy, as an intern, to get lost in small projects and lose focus of the end goal. However, working in the nonprofit and policy sector, I am constantly aware of  the massive impact my work contributes to. The employees’ drive and commitment to social justice at the OED is contagious, and has made my experience all the more valuable.

LSB Fellows,2022-2023