How I Chose My Career in Sales #MyCareerStoryMonday

One of Andrew’s favorite Dear World photos.

Name: Andrew Alario

Class Year: Senior, 2018

Major: Management with a Concentration in Leadership

Position: Sales Intern & Street Team Coordinator

Company: Boston Harbor Distillery and Dear World

My Background: Although it’s early in my career, I have had several jobs already—in high school I worked for a restaurant, a speech therapy office, a moving company and even a 5-star hotel. Then, while at Bentley I’ve worn many hats. After my freshman year of college, I became an orientation leader and I have continued with that for the past three years—I’ve even been a student-coordinator for the Orientation Leaders. As for internships, I’ve worked in the business development department at RTN Federal Credit Union, as a Street Team Coordinator at Dear World, and as a Sales Intern at Boston Harbor Distillery—which is my current position. Throughout those positions, as well as my incredible experience here at Bentley University, I have learned a LOT about myself. Through my various career experiences, my involvement with Orientation, my classes, and general college experiences I have honed my skill set, found my passions, capitalized on my strengths and worked on my weaknesses. There is nothing more rewarding and fulfilling to me than helping someone get to a place where their potential can be used in the best possible way. Thus, I would like to discuss those words of wisdom with you now.

Andrew representing Boston Harbor Distillery at an event.

Career Interest: But first, let’s chat about how I became involved in my various internships. I first became interested in Dear World due to their visit to campus in 2016 for the fall orientation program. I spoke with the co-founder and immediately fell in love with their vision and mission. I have been extremely interested and involved ever since through volunteering and working with them in any capacity I could. One day I was approached because they needed some extra hands to help develop a new part of the business. I knew this could not have been a better opportunity to get involved in a project that I was truly passionate about—so of course I said yes. I find my work at Dear World to incredibly rewarding due to the passion that is so instrumental to each project. Dear World is incredibly impactful, although at times it can be tough to measure that impact as my position had me hanging a variety of events across the county so I couldn’t attend them to help facilitate or even meet the students and hear their amazing stories.

Similarly, I became interested in the beverage industry because of my cousin who was working at LVMH (Louis Viton Moet Hennessey) working in the sales department. I really loved what the job entailed and how interactive it was with consumers and how fun and exciting the sales side was. The beverage industry has been something I always found intriguing and I love how the beverage industry works, it is one of the only industries where price is based on perception of people. The best drink on the market might be priced extremely cheap compared to its competitors. Additionally, I love the idea of start-ups. They are the most exciting, fun, passionate environment to be in for someone who loves to bring all of his energy and excitement. At any moment things could go south so you always have to be trying your hardest and showing people your passion and love. Thus, when an opportunity with Boston Harbor Distilleries arose, I immediately jumped on it! When working at the distillery, it is so rewarding to watch people drink the products and immediately fall in love with it. It’s so rewarding knowing a company who has been in existence for two years is growing because of you. Plus, since it’s a start-up I have the opportunity to affect how the company develops and expands. However, I think the most challenging part of the is when people say no. you are guaranteed to be told no—which can be hard; but it all goes away when you get one person to say yes.

My Advice: Okay, now let’s talk about the real reason you’re reading this. As a seasoned Bentley senior, I have four key pieces of advice that apply to not only my career but for anyone who wants to join the start-up area—or really anyone headed into the Real World.

Be a part of something you are passionate about. I love the beverage industry, I love working with people and I love building relationships and connections—thus my sales position is the perfect fit. I think if you want to build a successful career, it is key to do something you enjoy. For me going to work on a Friday night is something I shockingly enjoy doing. In the start-up world, you have to find something you truly believe is going to be successful and you have a passion for. You have to believe in the company and give the effort accordingly. Which ties into my next point perfectly.

Give it 110 percent. I think when you work at a start-up, it is so important to put in all your effort not only for yourself but to better the company as well. When working for both companies, the key driver that has brought these companies success was the hiring of the right employees, they hired employees who went above and beyond to get the job done. Since you are at a higher risk of losing your job, you need to work harder to make sure that doesn’t happen. By giving 110 percent every day you show up to work, you are controlling the only factor you can (hint: yourself), and you are putting yourself in a position to be extremely successful.

Be persistent. When working in sales or searching for a job you need to be persistent. You need to show people through the right type of persistency that you want to join the team and you want to make a large impact. In order for me to work a Dear World I needed to volunteer my time for over a year, but I wanted to do this because I was passionate about this company, I wanted to do whatever it took to help and make an impact. For Boston Harbor Distillery, it took me months to make something happen. The CEO, Rhonda told me she hired me because I kept emailing her and I kept showing her I really wanted to be a member of their team. If you are able to show your persistence, you will go wherever you want your career to go in any industry.

Build a strong network and utilize it. This lesson was the hardest for me to learn. All my junior year I was looking for internships and applied to over 70. But I never leveraged my networks for those and nothing ever worked out. But, the second I decided to ask my friends for some help, three weeks later I had a job. Know who is in your network and ask for help. People want to help undergraduate students get jobs; however, I think we struggle to take advantage of it because most millennial’s are told they always are needing help, they feel like they want to try to do something on their own. But in this case, a human can attest for you 100 times better than a single piece of paper (aka your resume or cover letter), so ask for the help, because you will see results and get the desired outcome you wish for.

Course Recommendations: In my opinion, EVERY Bentley student should take three courses that will better anyone’s career, especially if you are going into sales or into a business where you are working to make an impact on people.

Interpersonal Relations (MG240) This class has been so impactful on my life. This class teaches you how to actively listen, how to manage conflict, how to have difficult conversations, and how to gauge emotional intelligence. All of these skills are crucial for any business. Learning these through reading and presenting are beneficial and help people learn. To me, this class stands out because you have to actually practice having these difficult conversations and you have to discuss what they were like with your classmates. To me there is not better practice then being put into the situation.

Effective Speaking (COM210) Practicing in real life to me is the most efficient way to strengthen these types of skills. In this class, you have to give over 6 widely various speeches to the class is so effective. If you ever intend on managing people or getting in front of a group of people to talk, which in the start-up world you will do all the time, this class will set you up for success by giving you real practice.

Negotiation (MG 360) In this class, you learn how to negotiate and different strategies to use by running through “skits”. In this class I have negotiated how to sell cars, how to merge a business with two other businesses, how to handle a manufacturing problem, and many more. This class also teaches you how to build relationships and network, because every time you talk to someone, you are building your relationship, and you need to take advantage of that.

For specifically sales majors, I highly recommend talking Sales Management (PRS 343). As someone who wants to go into sales, it is so great hearing from people in companies what it is like to be the sales manager so I can learn how to get there. But really, I can be more sympathetic when they are asking me of something, by taking this class I am learning the ins and outs of both sales and managing a sales team, and also learning how to be an effective sales manager.

Bentley Mentors: Lastly, I’d like to thank my mentors here at Bentley—the Bentley faculty and staff is a unique component of our school and I am so grateful for all the friends and network connections I have made. There are many people at Bentley who have helped me get where I am today including former students Halle Prentice and John O’Connell, and current staff members such as Bobbi-Lyn Kekic and Stephanie Cohen. But I think there is one person who has helped me grow in a way I never imagined. That person is Alex Hirs. I do not even know where to begin with Alex. He has shown me through my involvements how to be better at reflecting, analyzing situations, and handling times of hardship. He has helped guide me to allow myself to find what I truly value, what I truly care about, and most importantly, he has helped me become a better version of myself every week. Alex has been a wonderful role model and at every opportunity he has, he speaks highly of me to others. Almost every position I have had, I have had some capacity of help from Alex Hirs, whether he has realized it or not. I truly am blessed to have such an extraordinary mentor and could not be grateful for all the amazing things he has done for me.

By Caroline Gervais
Caroline Gervais Student Director, CareerEdge & Event Planning Team Caroline Gervais