Alumni share career tips, life lessons

Andrea Molina
Staff Writer 

April’s “Life After La Verne: Alumni Roundtable” featured Doug Bradley, owner of Everest Legal Marketing, and Vidya Narayanaswamy, pharmaceutical scientist, who shared their experiences and tips on building connections and establishing themselves professionally. 

More than 30 people attended the April 28  Zoom event, which was organized by the First Generation and Peer Mentoring Office’s Cassandra Godinez, who is coordinator of the office’s STEM Pathway and Peer Mentorship.

Narayanaswamy, who did her undergraduate work in India,  and came to the United States on a student visa, earning her MBA at ULV.

“My background experience and education was in biochemistry,” Narayanaswam said. “When I graduated from La Verne, I felt confident in my skills in business.”  

“Starting my career  I didn’t have a clear focus of what I wanted to be,” said Narayanaswamy. “But as I went through my career, I figured the path I needed to take.” 

Narayanaswamy said there is a cultural difference between education in India and the United States. There is a lot more hands-on experience at universities in the U.S. while  India is more knowledge focused, she said.

Narayanaswamy said she loved her professors at La Verne and their commitment to help students succeed. 

Bradley, who graduated in 2005 with a double major in broadcasting and business said he took a four-year gap in his transition from high school to college. 

He decided to pursue a degree when he met his wife, he said. 

Bradley said he chose La Verne because it was close to home and he liked the environment. The small classes allowed him to connect with his professors, he said.

Both Bradley and Narayanaswamy were first-generation students.

“When I first started college, I wanted to study medicine,” Narayanaswamy said. “(But) in India I didn’t have the rank to pursue a career in medicine.” 

First-generation students don’t always have family guidance, she said, adding that she carved her own path and learned from her mistakes. 

Finding a mentor is key, she said.

Bradley said there were times he felt frustrated. He thought his student loans would run out, and he had doubts about his major choices. But he added that he learned as he went along. 

“My lesson was to lean into failures because they are not failures if you learn something from them,” said Bradley.  

Narayanaswamy advised her audience to take advantage of the connections made at ULV, and add them to your LinkedIn networks.

Bradley reiterated the importance of making connections, as relationships might lead to job opportunities. La Verne taught him that opportunities are everywhere, he said. 

Andrea Molina can be reached at andrea.molinamartinez@laverne.edu.

Andrea Molina
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