SCSU Today

Lessons learned

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Corey Tollefson, '00

Corey Tollefson, '00

The St. Cloud State campus is frequently graced by visits from alumni who return to share their experiences with current students. Two recent examples of presentations that attracted a great deal of interest follow:

Brian Belski ’88, chief of U.S. sector strategy for Merrill Lynch in New York, had an intriguing title for the presentation he made in late November: “The View from the Street: Is it time to buy? Hold? Or run?” He visited campus to speak to students of Associate Professor of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Bill Hudson, but also talked to St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce members who joined him on campus. Belski, whose take on the nation’s financial crisis was described by listeners as both witty and optimistic, earned his bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in human relations.

Corey Tollefson, Prior Lake, Minn., who earned his marketing degree in 2000, told students during his campus presentation that if they have the drive and are willing to work hard, they can find the career of their dreams.

Tollefson lost his first job in 2001 as a result of the high-tech market meltdown; he was unsatisfied with his second job; and was working in sales for a Minneapolis software company when it was acquired by another software company, Oracle. That worked out well: last summer Tollefson was named vice president for Oracle Retail with responsibility for the western half of the United States and Canada. The appointment made him the youngest vicepresident in the company’s history.

Tollefson concluded his inspirational presentation with “lessons learned” that could be of help to students preparing for the job market. Competencies critical to career success, said the vice president, who now has Ivy League MBAs reporting to him, are: #1 writing skills and #2 presentation skills.

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