Wal-Mart executives share career advice

Morghan Lemmenes, Features Editor

The College of Business at Winona State University partnered with Wal-Mart to host “Wal-Mart Day: Spark Change” in the Business Engagement Center last Thursday, Sept. 14.

Every year, the College of Business showcases businesses from the Winona community.

This event is the first time the College of Business has partnered with a retailer, as they have only worked with manufacturers in the past, including C.H. Robinson, Watkins and Federated Insurance.

The College of Business decided to partner with Wal-Mart this year since they are the world’s largest retailer and they have the most places for students to work.

Assistant professor of business administration Jana Craft was in charge of the event and helped come up with the theme “Spark Change.”

“I worked with the store manager [of Wal-Mart] here in Winona, Zach Orr, and we met and came with the idea together,” Craft said.

Craft said one thing Wal-Mart does not really market is how much they do for their community and try to spark charge. They also have their employees try to spark change in their communities.

“We came up with that [theme] to signify how students can spark change in their career after they graduate from Winona State,” Craft said.

Craft said her family developed a personal connection with Wal-Mart after her husband switched career paths at age 45.

“They have treated our family so well that I knew that bringing this to my students would be

a good idea,” Craft said. “That’s really the personal reason behind Wal-Mart day, because they gave my husband a chance at a second career when he was laid off. I am brought to tears every time I think about how well they have treated him and my family in consideration with manager training.”

The event was set up as an open house where students could come and go as they please. There were six tables around the Business Engagement Center, staffed by Wal-Mart executives from southeast Minnesota and the Twin Cities area.

The first table focused on formatting a resumé correctly and what to do during an interview.

“One thing students need to realize is the impact of job keeping. If you have a resumé that shows you bouncing from job to job, it makes us stop and question it,” Orr said.

The second table discussed career paths, specifically the kind of career paths that are found at Wal-Mart. The third table was the Wal-Mart Academy table where they talked about the manager training program, which Craft’s husband participated in.

The fourth table focused on community involvement and explained what Wal-Mart does for the community, including hurricane relief in Houston, Texas.

Transportation and logistics was the fifth table, followed by “A Day in the Life of a Wal-Mart Manager.”

One executive at the event was Gunner Rush, who started working at Wal-Mart when he was a 16-year-old high school student. Rush moved his way up in the company and is now the market manager.

“A lot of employees teach you what you need to know, but you need to know how to work with people and be self-motivated. This helps you focus on what you want,” Rush said.