A Liberal-Arts Take on Business

Portrait of Jorge Espinoza
Photo by Phuong Tran, CLAgency student

“There are two things that I'm really passionate about: people and business.” Communication studies senior Jorge Espinoza took advantage of the College of Liberal Arts’ internship course ID (interdepartmental study) 3201 to pilot his journey to a career in business. Espinoza will continue to apply his fascination with people and relationships to a business setting, the environment where he can best utilize his skills and thrive creatively.

Bringing Passions to Life

Originally from Minnesota, Espinoza spent a year and a half studying and playing soccer at San Diego Christian College. He returned home to the Twin Cities to focus on his education and take advantage of the communication studies program at the University of Minnesota, and he is excited and grateful to have found a home in CLA.

“Being here is amazing because there are so many opportunities to explore different careers and develop skill sets,” Espinoza says.

The internship course gave Espinoza a guiding light as he started realizing what he wanted from his major, his career path, and ultimately, his life. The course is built to integrate students’ skills, academic interests, and experiences with practical career exploration strategies. 

“I was already thinking about the things we were talking about in the class,” he explains. “This course helped me discover what I wanted to do, but that was also already a question I was dealing with in my life. It perfectly synced together, and the class was a place where I could put ideas into practice.”

Out in the Field

To make his career goals a reality, ID 3201 helped Espinoza develop skills in strategic resume writing, networking, and interviewing and encouraged him to attend career fairs and network with industry professionals. 

“I took the stuff that I learned from the course, and I was able to apply it with General Mills, a company I’m really passionate about, and it was amazing,” says Espinoza. “I thought, ‘I'm just going to be myself. I’m confident in what I know, the skills that I have, and the skills that I’ve acquired. I'm just going to let them know who I am.’” At the career fair, Espinoza connected with a representative from General Mills. He reached out to them and was later invited to interview. Sure enough, that interview led to a job.

After he graduates, Espinoza will be a business management associate at General Mills. He will handle some of General Mills’ foodservice and convenience accounts and will be right where he wants to be: practicing business while working and communicating with others daily. 

Espinoza is grateful for the career competencies CLA has offered him and believes they contributed to his success in building relationships, interviewing, and networking.

“In my interactions with General Mills, the process was all organic. Nothing was scores. Nothing was forced. CLA offers a creative way to solve problems and think about things differently, and it gave me a lot of confidence.”

Espinoza admits he had some initial insecurity about pursuing a career in business without the stamp of a business school on his resume, but he is confident in the skills, experience, and reputation that his CLA education brought him. In ID 3201, he was encouraged to think critically about how each course he was taking applied to CLA’s core career competencies and how those competencies could apply to his future plans. 

“Having the name University of Minnesota behind everything really opened doors for me,” says Espinoza. “'I am grateful to go to a nationally ranked university. Not a lot of people have that experience. The U is getting me to where I want to go.”

This story was written by an undergraduate student in CLAgency. Meet the team.

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