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Dress to Impress
MPA Program is Back
Go From Rejected to Recruited
Upcoming Event!
Alumni Spotlight
A Frugal Start


Volume 4  |  Issue 1

March 2014



"In the office, people still do judge a book by its cover," says Sara Rogers, Trend Specialist for the Mall of America®. Luckily, there are steps you can take to enhance your appearance and increase your chances for getting a job, getting noticed and getting ahead. From wearing appropriate colors to doing a self-check before a meeting, Sara has a lot of smart tips for dressing successfully and looking your best in any office setting.


"Always look like you've got it going on," says Sara. "People like to be around people who look successful." But there are limits to how you should dress. Here are a few guidelines from Sara to make sure your appearance is working for you and not against you.

Dress to fit in.
If you have an interview, call Human Resources to find out the dress code. If it's a traditional company, opt for a navy or gray suit if you're a man and the same colored skirt or dress with a jacket if you're a woman. You can be a little more creative if you're interviewing in a less formal office environment, but don't dress down too much. You still want a sense of formality. You want to dress up out of respect.

Mind your hygiene.
Make sure your clothes are clean and smell fresh, and that your shoes are polished. Don't let your hair get messy or greasy. Look in the mirror before meeting someone and pop a breath mint if you haven't brushed your teeth for a while. Good hygiene is important. You don't want to be turned down for a job because of something preventable like a “distracting” odor.

Don't overdo it.
Large earrings, bold shoes or a loud tie can detract from your personality and professionalism. So can too much make-up or fragrance. Keep it simple. It's better to come in a little under the radar.

Travel light.
Don't walk into an interview carrying a lot of bags or other things. You don't want to be fumbling while someone is trying to shake your hand. Use a single, messenger-style bag to hold everything. The trend is away from a hardcore briefcase except in the most formal interviews.

Stand tall.
Good posture is key to conveying a sense of confidence. If you're meeting with someone, be sure to have good eye contact and a firm handshake. Smile a lot, and lean in slightly — it lets the person you're talking with know that you're interested in what they're saying.

Dressing successfully is about being aware of yourself and your surroundings. It's about playing up your assets and conveying confidence. It's about fitting in, but also standing out. "Always dress for the job you want," urges Sara. "Give everyone one more reason to want you on their team."



West's popular Master of Public Administration (MPA)* program is back! The program teaches students to exercise responsible and ethical leadership in a public service or non-profit setting. The entire program curriculum has been reviewed and updated, and is now available for enrollment in our new online course format with our Start SmartSM offer of your first two required courses for just $200 each.


West's MPA program gives students the tools they need to successfully lead:

  • Government agencies (local, state, federal, tribal)
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Research groups
  • Advocacy groups

A range of classes; a solid foundation.
As in the past, the MPA degree requires a total of 39 credits — 24 core requirement credits and 15 major requirement credits. The core requirements include Global Communication for Professionals, Information Resource Management, Corporate Power, Politics & Negotiations, and Ethical Leadership & Corporate Responsibility.

Major courses range from Public Finance to Human Behavior & Resource Administration. To learn more about the requirements and learning outcomes of the MPA program, click here.

Start Smart and save!
There's no time like the present to get started on your MPA degree. Classes begin monthly, so you can get started right away. With the new online format, you can participate in West’s Start Smart offer and take your first two required 3-credit courses for just $200 each. Sign up now!

MPA Program


Last fall, West graduate Patrick Garrity applied for a job at a large private university in Phoenix, AZ. A few days later, he received a letter stating that his application had been declined. Then, in a matter of months, Patrick not only got an interview for that very same job, but also was hired. What made the difference? According to Patrick, "It was the career coaching I received through West."


Patrick liked his job as a Travel Counselor at a global business and the world’s largest credit issuer, but he'd always wanted to work in Human Resources (HR). So he went to West, got his BS in Business with a minor in HR, and graduated with dreams of entering the HR field. But turning that dream into reality eluded him at first.

Times have changed.
Patrick explains, "I had worked in travel for 16 years, and reentering the job market in a new field after all that time was overwhelming. The technology was different. I hadn't kept up. I wasn't on LinkedIn®. It was all new to me."

After several unsuccessful attempts to land a job in HR, Patrick contacted the West Alumni office to see if he could take advantage of West's complimentary one-on-one career coaching.

Help was fast.
"They put me in contact with Julie Chahboune, a professional career coach. I thought I would have to wait to work with her, but she offered to get started right away and said she could meet with me any time — even Saturdays or Sundays. I was really impressed with how flexible she was."

Julie reviewed Patrick's resume and basic cover letter. She helped him pull out words that she thought were getting flagged by automated systems that companies often use to quickly weed out people who are not qualified. Patrick was coached to talk less about his travel experience and focus more on transferrable skills, like customer service.

After a couple of calls, Julie and Patrick emailed back and forth. Then he resubmitted his application for the employer and position to which he wanted to transition. He got the interview. The day before his interview, Laura Lee, West's Career/Alumni Services Manager, met with Patrick. She gave him tips on everything from how to prepare (do your homework!) to how to dress (better to overdress than underdress). Patrick got the job. "Working with Julie and Laura was a real confidence builder. They got me focused, got me ready and helped me get hired. It was a great experience."

Put West's career coaching services to work for you. To get started, log on to the West Alumni Connection website and go to the Fast Track Career Tools page.



On Friday, May 16 (the night before West’s Commencement ceremony!), we'll be hosting a "meet and greet" to give our new graduates the opportunity to connect with one another, West alumni, and faculty. Unlike other alumni events throughout the year, there will be no speaker — it's purely a time for you to celebrate with and meet our new graduates. Remember to bring your business cards for networking. We'll also be celebrating the one-year anniversary of our new Tempe campus. Complimentary refreshments will be served. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today.

DATE: Friday, May 16, 2014
TIME: 5:30-7:30 p.m. (MST)
PLACE: West Tempe Campus
1601 West Fountainhead Parkway, Tempe, AZ
RSVP: laura.lee@west.edu


Business Project Senior Analyst
Phoenix, AZ

When Ana Charles enrolled at West to earn her BS in Management, she knew that getting her degree was an important step in reaching her career goals. What she didn't realize was that her West experience would lead her down a different career path and result in more fulfilling opportunities.


Why did you decide to get your degree, and why West?
I wanted to go back to school, so I could confidently seek employment and not be concerned about my lack of a degree being a barrier to forward advancement. I chose West because it accepted my previous college credits and was manageable with my work and family schedule. The fact that I was able to take College Level Examination Program (CLEP)® tests (see sidebar) and receive credit for several courses was a plus!

How did West impact your career?
About half way through my BS degree, I realized that I really wanted to do project management. Up to that point, I had been managing people but I wanted to manage projects instead. It didn't happen right away. Until recently, I was a Service Center Supervisor at Cigna®, where I was managing up to 25 people. However, having my degree opened up the doors for me to explore other opportunities within Cigna, and I just got hired as a Business Project Senior Analyst.

What would you tell a friend who was thinking about getting a degree?
I would say go for it, go back to school. It's so possible with the flexible schedules of schools like West, and it will give you such an advantage to have your degree. Also, the networking opportunities while going to school are huge. And then there is the support you get from your professors and peers who can really help make your professional and educational goals happen. I had five amazing professors who I still keep in touch with and who continue to be my mentors.

What are your plans for the future?

I initially thought I would stop with my bachelor degree, but now I am considering a master and working toward my certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. I will always want to be learning because I am always evolving, and intellectual development is an important part of that process.

Ana Charles


On January 9, author and CPA Clare Levison gave a thought-provoking and inspiring talk about how it's cool to be smart about your money. She told of her own personal journey that led her to help others manage their money better. She also shared valuable tips and insights into money management, including: make it a priority to save...stop focusing on material possessions...don't spend money you don't have...focus on "real wealth" like spending time with friends and family. If you missed Clare's event, you can click here to view the recording.


Here's what Roger Rouse had to say about Clare's talk. Roger is a CPA and Vice President/Chief Financial Officer of MicroAge as well as West's Department Chair of Accounting.

"I truly enjoyed the Clare Levison event at West. Her comments were very important for everyone to hear. As a CPA, I often see individuals and couples who find themselves in a situation where they have lived beyond their means resulting in a negative financial condition. It is rewarding as a person with a degree, training and experience in accounting to help guide them to a better financial future.

"I think Clare's book, Frugal isn't Cheap, is a great resource in the process of changing and improving people's lives. There were many great messages including one of my favorites: To meet financial goals you have to sometimes say ‘I'd rather’ do one thing over another — like save for the future rather than get that new designer pair of shoes.

"I also enjoyed the opportunity to share some details about the Accounting* programs at West. We have a strong bachelor program that integrates the evolving international component of accounting standards. Our MBA in Accounting* for undergraduate accounting majors and our MS in Accounting* for students whose undergraduate degree is not in accounting allow for the 150 hours required to obtain a CPA license and earn a valuable master degree.

"My accounting experience and MBA have opened a world of opportunity in business, including strategic and rewarding executive positions. And even though this has also led to financial rewards, I still believe strongly in Clare's message that Frugal isn't Cheap, and sometimes you have to say ‘I'd rather’."



We are always looking for West grads to volunteer for our various alumni and university activities. It's a great way to give back, stay connected and meet new people.

Save the Date for JA Day!
Sign up now to join West at “JA Day” for Junior Achievement on Wednesday April 30. Volunteer training will be held soon. Take this opportunity to inspire and prepare young students for their future success. Click here for more information.

Another rewarding way to get involved is to be a mentor helping fellow alumni and current students chart a career path and reach their goals. To find out about all alumni networking and volunteer opportunities, email laura.lee@west.edu

Take the West Alumni Connection name to heart and connect with us! We want to hear what you've been up to since you received your degree. Do you have a new job? Have you won any awards? Are you doing work in your community? Share your news with us, and we may end up sharing it with others right here in this newsletter.

We also invite you to connect with us and share your thoughts about West alumni activities. Do you have an idea for an interesting seminar topic, group outing or fun networking event? Let us know! Connect with us now by sending an email to alumni@west.edu

The big day for our newest graduating students is Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center (South Building). If you're a new grad, good news! You've been automatically enrolled in the West Alumni Connection. Be sure to update your alumni profile when you get the chance.

Do you know someone who is working on or interested in earning an associate or bachelor degree? To help students earn college credit for knowledge they've already acquired, West participates in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Through CLEP, students can take exams on topics they've learned in prior course work, independent study, on-the-job training and internships, and obtain equivalent credit for a variety of West undergraduate courses. Interested students should use West's CLEP ID  #1316. For more information, go to the CollegeBoard website

Laura Lee
Alumni/Career Resources Manager
602-429-1110 or laura.lee@west.edu

Alumni Reenrollment
866-948-4636 or inquiries@west.edu




For more information about our programs, including important consumer disclosures, visit http://www.west.edu/online-degree-programs.

Western International University is a registered service mark of Apollo Education Group, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Western International University, 1601 W. Fountainhead Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85282

Copyright © 2013 Western International University, Inc.; all rights reserved.

Cigna is a registered trademark of CIGNA Intellectual Property, Inc.
CLEP is a registered trademark of College Entrance Examination Board.
LinkedIn is a registered trademark of LinkedIn Corp.
Mall of America is a registered trademark of MOAC Mall Holdings LLC.
MicroAge is a registered trademark of MicroAge Computer Stores, Inc.
Project Management Professional (PMP) is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute, Inc.