June 18, 2024

An alum from a big company returned to her small school to talk to students about transitioning into post-graduate life. Kayla Villegas, ’16, works at Google as the Travel Hospitality Account Manager in Chicago, and came to Wittenberg to talk to students about the professional career field. In addition to giving a talk in Shouvlin and a Marketing class, Villegas hosted a lunch held in Hollenbeck 334, providing free pizza, chips and soda.

An introduction for Villegas was given by the department of business coordinator for engaged learning, Heath Queen, several students and faculty were there to hear her answer questions submitted beforehand. Villegas has an incredibly bubbly and friendly personality; she was happy to chat with attendees after the lunch and invite them to connect with her on LinkedIn.

Villegas grew up in Wooster, Ohio, where she had her first internship working for the city’s human resources department. “I got to learn all of the town drama,” Villegas joked. She also said the internship was helpful in allowing her to “dip her feet into understanding how a business works.”

The next summer, Villegas interned with the communication department at Wittenberg. This gave her the opportunity to work on and establish her resume using the plethora of resources Wittenberg has for perfecting a resume or cover letter which is “one of the most valuable things you have at Witt.”

Because a large portion of the questions were about life after college, Villegas gave several tips on hitting the ground running once you graduated.

“Don’t worry too much about the details; look at the opportunities,” she said on the importance of keeping an open mind and being flexible with job opportunities. It’s also important to “self-reflect on your priorities,” whether those priorities be location, values or job stability.

Finding what’s most important to you in a job will be valuable in ensuring that you enjoy your work. “Chances are a company won’t check off every single box, so you have to prioritize.”

Villegas also talked about her unique experience working for a huge corporation like Google.

“[Google] specifically wants people that think differently,” she said, likening the experience of employee-employer relationship to that of an athlete and a coach. “Coaches just want players that can be coached,” she said, highlighting the importance of an employee’s ability to learn from their teachers to be successful in a position at Google.

While really wanting to work at Smuckers or L’Oréal, Villegas was happy to accept a job working for Google. “It’s not jelly, but it’s fine,” she said, laughing. “I plan to stay [at Google] until I feel like I’m not learning anything from Google anymore, then I’d move on.”

“My favorite class [at Wittenberg] was Music, Dance and Film in India,” she said, remembering her professor, Daniel Kazez, fondly. Her least favorite class was the Intro to Finance class taught by professor Rachel Wilson, though she admitted that the ability to understand numbers and money proved very valuable to her in her career.

Villegas gave a talk in Shouvlin 201 later that day, called “Hey Google, what’s Life After College Like?” that covered most of the same topics talked about in the lunch, but with the addition of a visual presentation.

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