Francisco Aranda graduated from WOU in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Business and a minor in Spanish. In 2015, Aranda graduated from WOU with a master’s degree in Management and Information Systems, and now works as a product analyst at Nike.
Why did you choose WOU?
In my sophomore year of high school, the school took a small group of us out to WOU for a college visit. I loved the atmosphere of the school, and I liked that many of the classes were small. I chose WOU because it also fulfilled my economical needs at that time.
What advice do you have for future or current Wolves about life after college?
My top three things:
- Enjoy and soak in the four amazing years of college at WOU. In college, you are able to discover more about yourself and what you are good at. It’s also the best time to expand your knowledge and skills.
- Do not procrastinate. We all know this can lead to bad performance in school, but this habit can also carry over in your career. When you graduate and start a career, you want to be able to perform at your highest level.
- Networking–it’s important to build your own network circle while in college. Networking in college can play a crucial role in your professional success after graduation. Some tips to do this would be join clubs, participate in school activities, volunteer, and build relationships with your professors.
Do you have any meaningful anecdotes about professors or experiences you had at WOU?
I worked for the Student Enrichment Program at Western Oregon University at the front of the office. Working at the Student Enrichment Program opened my eyes to the different types of support services there are for low income or first generation students, such as additional academic counseling, connections to resources, or maintaining a clear track to graduation, to name a few. It was a meaningful experience for me, because my hometown was four hours away and being part of SEP allowed me to incorporate myself and help others while also feeling like I was part of a family at SEP.
How has your WOU degree shaped your career path?
My undergrad degree in Business Administration allowed me to gain the education I needed, learn the fundamentals of the business, and helped me become a more confident person by allowing me to discover my interests and what I actually enjoyed doing. Utilizing my Business degree [while] working in the banking industry, I discovered I loved the business aspect of my job, but I was drawn to learn more about the tech side, which is what inspired me to go back and do my master’s. My master’s degree allowed me to gain fundamentals and foundations in the technical side of business and opened my eyes into the tech world, which brings me to where I currently am today, working at Nike.
How did you end up at Nike?
I graduated in 2011 with an undergrad degree, and I expected to get a job right after graduation. We were in the middle of the recession, and I ended up securing a job in the banking industry. In my job, we started getting into projects that involved tech, which is when I decided to go back to WOU to get a master’s degree in MIS.
Months after graduating with my MIS degree, I found a job that was relevant to my degree working as a Business Systems Analyst in the tech world. This helped me build the foundation and experience as I learned new skills and knowledge. In the three years I was there, I also networked a ton and met some Nike professionals. After learning the amazing perks and benefits at Nike, I applied for a tech role at Nike and was hired. Coming to Nike was one of the best decisions I have ever made; they always encourage you to work at your highest potential and challenge you so you’re always learning something new.
What are your passions outside of your career?
My biggest passion is baseball and softball. During the summer, I play for many softball teams, and I really enjoy it.
What do you wish you knew before you graduated?
Don’t be afraid to fail. I can say I failed many times in life, and I will continue to fail. Failing in life has made me stronger. The important thing is to get up and keep going even if you have to take other paths in life to achieve your goals.
How have you stayed connected to WOU, post-graduation?
I try to be connected with other WOU alumni. I’m hoping to be more connected with WOU in the future.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself in a management role. I have the drive to be a leader and would love to work in a leadership capacity in my next career move.