Ericsson Helps Students Prepare for Job Interviews

UT Dallas freshman Felipe Gaspar felt nervous before his first mock interview with Ericsson recruiter Trent Owens.

Thirty minutes later, he left the interview, exuding more confidence.

“It’s a first-time experience, so you’ve just got to get used to it,” Gaspar said. “Once you’re in there, you start thinking, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.’”

Gaspar was among 24 Academic Bridge students who recently participated in mock interviews and resume reviews conducted by Ericsson, an international provider of communications technology and services, and a longtime supporter of  UT Dallas.

This year, the company contributed $20,000 to the Academic Bridge program to cover tuition, fees, books, tutoring and housing. Last fall, Ericsson also hosted Academic Bridge students at its Plano office, where they received tips about interviews and resume development. They also heard from former Academic Bridge students who now work for the company.

“I think in the business world today, the emphasis on communication has become so important in being able to not just have the technical skills, but to have the business skills.”

 Trent Owens,
university relations program manager,

The Academic Bridge Program (ABP) seeks to attract, support, and retain students who graduate from Dallas-area urban high schools with high class rankings, but without having completed the full university-track curriculum.

Ericsson recruiters who led the interviews included Owens, Sara Farinacci, Michael Herman and Leslie Singleton. “Ask us anything you want to ask so when you really are in an interview or in front of your future employer, then you know what’s appropriate to ask and what’s not,” Farinacci told the students. “You are very confident in your presentation skills of yourself and, more so, you’re very confident in you as an individual and the skills that you’re bringing to the table.”

Owens said he spoke to students about viewing the interview as a conversation between both parties and an opportunity for students to refine their communication skills.

“I think in the business world today, the emphasis on communication has become so important in being able to not just have the technical skills, but to have the business skills,” he said.  “To be able to talk to customers and do presentations and be a team player and understand what that means, and being able to communicate with others.”

Owens said he was impressed with the turnout especially among the freshmen.

“That’s good to see them take that initiative, wanting to know early in their college career what they need to do to be successful beyond college,” Owens said. “They’re just now getting their feet wet in college, but to be already taking the initiative to say ‘Hey, I want to be successful in the business world and what will I have to do.’”

Gaspar said he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to do the mock interview.

“I don’t want to regret anything, so I’m taking advantage of all the resources I have here,” he said. “This program (Academic Bridge) is going to help me a lot, so I’m grateful for that.”

Ericsson has been a steady supporter of UT Dallas since 1987, when its gift to create the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering helped launch the Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science

“Ericsson’s endowed chairs and professorships, fellowships and scholarships help us attract and retain top faculty and students,” said Michael DeFrank, UT Dallas Assistant Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations. “Distinguished lectures by Ericsson’s technical and management leaders, Executive Link briefings for our MBA students, support of our centers and institutes, service on our school advisory councils, and the recent Academic Bridge Program are just some of the ways Ericsson’s engagement with UT Dallas supports our academic programs and initiatives.” 

Academic Bridge student Sarah Larson (left) confers with Ericsson's Leslie Singleton, who volunteered as an advisor.

Students Yenely Tovar and Felipe Gaspar participated in the training.

Ericsson recruiter Sara Farinacci coached student Evi Ho.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].