Genesys Works knows that there is no “one size fits all” formula for success. There isn’t one path, one skill, or one school that sets you on your way. Breaking through barriers to achieve economic success and financial security looks a little different for each person.
This month, we are excited to spotlight Genesys Works alumnus and current University of Minnesota – Twin Cities senior Peter Thao. As a Genesys Works young professional, Peter worked at Be the Match and is currently studying information technology infrastructure. He will graduate in the spring of 2020 and has already accepted an offer for a full-time position at US Bank as an information security specialist.
Here’s his formula for success:
Build a Passion at a Young Age. Then Make Something From It.
When you can combine personal passions with professional goals, it means that you’ll be that much more interested and engaged with your work — and all the preparation, study, and skill-building will be both professionally and personally rewarding.
For Peter, his passion for information technology started at a young age: “I became interested in IT when I was in 7th grade. At that time, I learned about computers because of my love for gaming. I did not have a home computer so my mom would have to take me to the library every day. It became very inconvenient so I decided that I should build my own gaming PC. That was when I came up with the idea of training/leveling my classmates RuneScape accounts in exchange for money. I managed to save up about $800 and built my very first gaming computer. The process altogether took about 4-5 months. After building my first PC, I was fascinated and amazed by my accomplishment and that is where my journey started.”
Have the Foresight and Guidance to Put the Work in Early.
Peter is almost four years removed from high school but when he looks back on what he’s most proud of, it’s that he will graduate from college with no student loan debt. Although the current state of postsecondary education doesn’t make this feat easy, here’s what Peter had to say: “I am most proud of the fact that I was able to win enough scholarships to cover all of my tuition for college. I poured an extraordinary amount of time and effort writing essays and completed more than 30 scholarship applications during my senior year of high school. I am proud of this because as a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I knew that the cost of college would be my biggest barrier. Going through college with little to no financial stress led to more hours spent studying, developing skills, networking, and several other opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to experience.”
Lean in to Opportunities and Continue to Leverage Relationships.
From the beginning of his internship at Be the Match, Peter saw the big picture possibilities ahead of him. So, he used that time to explore career interests and build meaningful relationships that he knew would pay off eventually. “The internship experience I got through Genesys Works was life changing because that experience was what helped me determine that cybersecurity was the right field for me. Having that one year of experience under my belt also helped me stand out among thousands of other applicants, which led to multiple subsequent internship and job opportunities. These experiences altogether helped me develop an attractive skillset that led to my full-time employment offer with US Bank. Relationship-building is fundamental because it will allow you to build trust and a network of people you can rely upon. It may also lead to opportunities you would have never known about such as internships and leadership opportunities.”
Keep Goal Setting and Start Paying It Forward When You Can.
Peter is more than six months from starting at US Bank as a full time employee but he’s already created goals for a few years down the line: “I envision myself becoming a manager and hosting Genesys Works interns.”
Peter signs off with some advice for students going through the program now who need that extra motivation: “Network and build strong relationships with people through your internships and classes because they are going to be your best resource for career guidance and job opportunities.”
Now, who wants to be a part of someone else’s formula for success?