What does it take to make it in the business world, and and how can my BPA experience fit in with that goal? These are some of the questions we asked Tim Garippa, a BPA alumnus and successful businessman. Mr. Garippa graduated from the University of Texas in 2004 and now works for Accucenture. He was kind enough to answer questions about BPA and business for The Wire.
What has been your involvement with BPA?
I started my involvement as a member at Waxahachie High School in Texas my Sophomore Year (1998). In 1999 I served as the Texas Area 3, Region 1 President; 2001 I served as the Secondary National Executive Vice-President; 2002 I was the University of Texas – Austin President and Founder; and 2004 I served as the Post-Secondary National Executive Vice President. During my time in BPA, I actively participated in Workplace Skills Assessment Program, placing at nationals each year I attended.
I continue to stay involved with BPA by donating to scholarship funds, organizing Accenture to volunteer during competitive events, and working with the national officers during NLC.
What BPA Divisions were you involved with?
I participated in both the Secondary and Post-Secondary Division in the past and am currently involved in the Alumni Division.
What was your college experience?
After High School I attended The University of Texas in Austin. While in school I received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts in Government. I graduated UT in December of 2004 and since have been in the corporate workforce.
Where do you work now, and what kind of career is it?
I currently work for Accenture. Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments.
That said, I do a lot of things at my job. Right now I work within our Management Consulting practice and specialize in Talent and Organization Performance. In short, I look at the people aspects of a business to find ways they can advance whether it be through training, organization design, change, or other innovative ways of improvement.
What do you like about your job?
By far, my favorite thing about my job is the people I have the opportunity to work with. Accenture is made up of a lot of Type A personalities. Individuals that drive success, innovate continually, and are the best minds in the business are the ones I'm proud to call my co-workers.
With the nature of consulting, things are always changing. I do not have to sit behind a desk and do the same menial task day after day. I find myself out in the business, working with people, making companies become high-performance machines. This continual change and not knowing what the next hurdle will be keep things interesting.
How did BPA help contribute to your successful career?
BPA has a lot to offer from business knowledge to leadership opportunities to networking events. I believe the key to my success is not by focusing on any one area, but knowing how to pull on each area to make me well rounded and more valuable. BPA allowed me to learn how to not only do competitive events, but also participate in leadership and social activities concurrently. Once you can master balancing multiple aspects of your career and know what area to focus on based on the situation, you've built the tool kit to help climb the corporate ladder.
What are some tips or suggestions for current BPA members looking toward their futures and careers?
For Associate Members: Learn how to learn and learn how to make friends. I know this may sound simplistic, but each person learns differently. If you recognize your learning style early, it will make high school, college, and your career much easier and will put you on the fast track for success. Learning how to make friends is the baseline for learning how to build a network. The basics of communication are learned at a young age while you’re building your friend base. Communication skills are essential at building a network in your future career and key to success in people facing jobs.
For Secondary Members: You're at a stage in your life where it's ok not to know exactly what you want to do. When I was in High School I was dead set on being an architect. Then, I knew I wanted to be an architectural engineer. When it got down to the last minute I decided that I'd go ahead and apply to business school. It's great if you already have an idea on what you want to, but if not, don't fret. Focus now on your grades and test scores, as that is what will get you in to a good school. Focus on the grades you need for college you want to go to and let your college experience help decide your career ambition.
For Post-Secondary Members: Gone are the days of needing a 4.0 to get the best job. Companies now are looking for the well-rounded applicant. This means someone who has good grades (generally about a 3.2, but you should shoot for 3.5 just in case), has leadership experience (don't just be a member, be a leader), and someone that can manage a work life at the same time as school and organizations. If you have all of these aspects and only have a 3.5, you're generally more valuable to a company then someone that has a 4.0 but does not qualify for any of the other areas. Take time to focus your internships and extra-curricular activities not only on your interests, but how it could relate to your future career. Finally, enjoy college! Your first experience is unique and cannot be replicated, so carpe diem.
For Alumni: Leverage your network. A network is a valuable asset in your professional career. You’d be surprised the connections and skills available through your friends and friends of friends. Don't underestimate the value of networking.
What are some surprising things about the "real" world that students don't realize?
Thanks to Tim for taking the time to answer our questions!