Dean Anderson Connects with Alumni at Ryder
September 04, 2015
While Sheldon Burke was earning his MBA and master’s certificate from the School of Business in the early ‘90s, he also was cleaning bathrooms part-time at Burger King and working nights at Sears. “It’s what it took at that time not to fail,” says Burke, who emigrated from Jamaica in 1983. “My biggest fear was going back to Jamaica as a failure after coming to the land of opportunity.”
Through hard work and his University of Miami degree, Burke found that opportunity and today is the enterprise network architect for Ryder. On a recent September afternoon, he was one of 40 alumni– along with Sebastian the Ibis – to gather in a conference room at their workplace, Ryder’s world headquarters in Miami, for an update from School of Business Dean Gene Anderson. Such meetings are popping up all over town, as the School of Business increasing its connections with the business community and its many University of Miami alumni.
The Ryder alumni learned how the School is doing with recruitment and placement (better than ever), how its offerings have evolved (more programs for more students), and how they can become more involved (as speakers, mentors and mentees, for starters).
“We need your help,” Anderson told the crowd. “One of our biggest goals is to get more engaged with the business community, and our alumni are the heart of that. We can’t do these new programs and experiential learning activities without our alumni.”
When the meeting invitation landed in Burke’s inbox, the busy alumnus – whose job has taken him to Shanghai, Singapore, Mexico and Canada this year alone – made it a point to go. Inspired, he’s now considering taking on a role as a mentor.
“I didn’t know these programs existed!” Burke says. “It’s thought-provoking because it makes us think about what can we do to give back to the University of Miami.”
Ryder’s senior manager of marketing, Matt Pape, whose wife and three daughters also are ‘Canes, is eager to help too: “What can young people learn about business to business marketing that they don’t read about in a textbook? They can learn from the experience of people like me!”
It was a festive afternoon, with Sebastian leading the crowd in the fight song before posing for a group picture. Several employees realized their ‘Canes connection for the first time after working together for years, then bonded over green and orange cupcakes.
Ryder CEO Robert Sanchez, who earned his ‘Canes stripes with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, says the company no doubt benefits from its partnership with the University. Last year, students helped come up with innovative ways to coordinate training for the company’s 5,000 technicians as part of a University capstone course.
“We got great value, and we got to know students who might work here one day,” Sanchez says. “We’ve got a great group of alumni from every functional area. A lot of kids at the School today are the future leaders in the country, and we’d like to make sure we get our fair share of those!”
Other alumni interested in arranging a School of Business visit to their companies should email email@example.com.