Class of 2018 Success Stories: BGSU networking event freshmen year leads to full-time job with Honda
By Colleen Rerucha '06
Just weeks into her college career at Bowling Green State University, a nervous then-freshman Ameera Venkataraman attended a networking event hosted by the College of Business, uncertain of what to expect and even more unsure of how to network.
But it was there, at the Supply Chain Management Institute dinner, where a chance meeting with an employer would shape the course of Venkataraman’s professional experience at BGSU.
She met a recruiter from Honda of America at the networking dinner and struck up a casual conversation. She didn’t think much of it until the same event a year later.
“He remembered me my sophomore year. We had a conversation and he said let’s take this to an interview the next day at the job fair,” Venkataraman said.
That next-day interview at the Career Expo led to the first of two internships at Honda for the supply chain management student, and an eventual full-time position with the company waiting for her after graduation.
“I surprised myself. I remember looking back, I was scared a lot to go to the student organization meetings, to raise my hand and participate,” she said. “I’m really glad I did because it led me to opportunities that I didn’t foresee happening.”
Although the meeting may have felt like pure luck to the then-freshman, College of Business Dean Ray Braun said it was anything but.
“We are committed to creating opportunity for our students. Through our Business Career Accelerator, the College of Business works with more than 1,000 companies, hosting networking events and connecting our students with potential employers on a daily basis,” Braun said.
“Ameera recognized that and took full advantage as a freshman. We are incredibly proud of her success.”
"When I came on campus, it just took my heart."
Venkataraman made participation the cornerstone of her college experience. She joined several College of Business professional student organizations, including the Supply Chain Management Association, Women in Business Leadership, has served as a College of Business Student Ambassador and was a founding member of DACODI, the Dean’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion.
“I remember being terrified at times,” Venkataraman said. “But I felt safe to step out of my comfort zone and take those chances. Any College of Business student can find their home place through the College of Business student organizations.”
The graduating senior credits the feeling like she was “at home” in the College of Business with giving her the confidence to explore new opportunities.
In a sense, Venkataraman grew up with Bowling Green State University, her parents are Falcon Flames who met at Moseley Hall. Venkataraman, a graduate from Bay Village High School in Bay Village, Ohio, was on a campus tour when she fell in love with the University on her own.
“When I came on campus, it just took my heart,” she said. “I knew to look at the school in general because of the good programs and really good reputation of the school.”
Her father’s career in operations management prompted her interest in supply chain management.
“It’s the backstage of a company. It’s something you don’t always see, but it’s everything that has to happen to get a product to consumers,” Venkataraman said. “The faculty that teach are amazing. All of them are supportive and dedicated to teaching us real life problems and case studies.”
The College of Business supply chain management program ranks and among North America’s top 25 supply chain programs and second among Ohio’s universities.
“I feel like I am prepared,” Venkataraman said. “That’s confirmed through my internships. I felt confident handling the tasks. And if I didn’t know, I was confident asking questions. I felt very comfortable. I think that speaks to the college itself and how it is preparing students.”
In January, Venkataraman will relocate to the Columbus area, where she will be working as a buyer for Honda negotiating contracts for future commodities, meeting with suppliers and mitigating crisis management.
Venkataraman describes the next step in her professional journey to be a nerve-wracking one, with a new job, new city and new people ahead. It is a feeling she has experienced before, much like those nerves before that serendipitous networking dinner.
“I would never have pictured myself being where I’m at now,” Venkataraman said. “I didn’t realize that would probably be the company I’d be working for full-time. It all comes back full circle.”