“If it wasn’t for the network at UVM, I wouldn’t have been able to explore a new profession.”
Manny Tejeda graduated from the University of Vermont with plans of establishing a career in business. After three months of working in marketing – a job he found through UVM’s career center – Tejeda’s career plans changed. When the opportunity to recruit students for UVM in the New York City/New Jersey area presented itself, Tejeda jumped at the chance to work with college-bound students where he grew up. As a former intern in the admissions office at UVM, Tejeda did not expect he would work in admissions after graduating college. “You have to be open to new opportunities that might not be what you thought you wanted,” he says. Today, he works as the Associate Director of Admissions at UVM. Tejeda is able to combine his passion for helping students access higher education and his interest in business – an example that it is possible to have multiple interests and merge different career fields.
The relationships Tejeda built at UVM were key in his transition to college admissions. He describes networking as a mutual relationship, encouraging young professionals to ask themselves “how are you adding value to that person’s life?” when making a new connection. “Become intrigued in what people do, how they do it, and why,” he says. “This will help you understand how you can add value to that person’s life. You have a lot to offer.” Tejeda adds that striking deep conversations and avoiding “speed networking” helps young professionals develop the meaningful networks that will help them in the long run.
During his nine years in college admissions, Tejeda has learned many valuable lessons. He learned what he considers the most important lesson after a communication mistake he and his team made a few years ago. “We had to take ownership when things went wrong and be transparent,” he explains. After admitting the error and reevaluating the situation, the team was able to find a solution. “Nobody wants issues to happen, but you have to recognize when you’re setting yourself up for failure,” Tejeda says.
In addition to working as the Associate Director of Admissions at UVM and volunteering as a member of the National Advisory Board, Tejeda is a liaison for the UVM Success Cluster – a support network of CFES alumni attending the University of Vermont. Tejeda’s UVM ties run deep as his fiancé Enmy Soler, who was a CFES Scholar at Pelham Preparatory Academy in the Bronx, also worked at the UVM Women’s Center.