NACOGDOCHES, Texas — It wasn’t quite business as usual last week as Stephen F. Austin State University alumni and industry professionals served as panelists for the Rusche College of Business’ sixth annual College to Career Conference.

The conference serves as the annual capstone highlight for all business students and those participating in the Career Success Passport program, which helps students hone their professional skills while competing for scholarships.

With panelists representing dozens of companies, such as FedEx, Kohl’s, Walgreens, Austin Bank, Southwest Air, Dell, Elliott Electric Supply, Hajoca and Charles Pool Real Estate, business students swapped their normal class schedules for a day of workshops. This year’s industry spotlight was real estate, and representatives from CB&A Real Estate and Ed Pool of Charles Pool Real Estate participated in a session related to this field.

“The College to Career Conference plays an important role as students prepare for their professional careers,” said Trish Kellogg, director of external affairs in the College of Business. “Students learn from industry experts who discuss various business-related topics to help students develop professional understanding and skills.”

Workshops covered a variety of business-related topics, including making a powerful impression, acing interviews, the first 100 days on the job, business ethics and integrity, personal branding, money management, communication, and international business tips.

“The program’s goal is to take the transferrable knowledge the students have gained and help them launch into successful careers in the workplace,” Kellogg said.

Representatives from SFA’s Center for Career and Professional Development were on hand to offer students one-on-one résumé critiques and to discuss personal and professional branding. CCPD staff members also presented a professional attire display to show students what is appropriate to wear in the business world.

Alumni served as panelists in various workshops to share their business knowledge and career journey. Alumni included Mitch Fralick, a retired executive from Wood Group PSN; Lisa Anderson Goode of Southwest Air; Corey Johnson of Pilot/Flying J; Brittany McBrayer, an entrepreneur; Mike Parham of Pepco Sales and Marketing; Kirk Phillips of Wintrust Commercial Finance; Lou Ann Richardson of Wells Fargo; Morgan Teltschik of Percheron; and Erika Tolar of FedEx.

Selected students attended an employer reception in the Mattress Firm Commons in the McGee Business Building to talk with panelists in a more personal setting.

“The support of our alumni and community is amazing, and it is incredibly beneficial for our students,” said Dr. Tim Bisping, dean of the Rusche College of Business. “I would like to sincerely thank everyone who helped make this such a special day in the Rusche College of Business.”