Podcast Transcript – Fabian Centeno

Today’s podcast features an interview with now UNT alumni Fabian Centeno. We asked him a few questions related to his program and to talk a little bit about his postgraduation career path. We hope you’ll stay tuned. 

Well, my name is Fabian Centeno.  I am a current organizational behavior human resources management student. I plan on graduating in May 2020, and I am soon to be a BNSF Management Trainee in their H.R. department. 

When you started at UNT, what were your plans for after graduation? Have these plans changed, if at all? 

When I transferred to UNT from my two main goals were to develop myself as a leader and the second one would be to find a job that was aligned with my major. As I grew a passion for H.R., I was able to enhance my leadership skills and attributes through the ROTC and as a SHERM officer. As the vice president, I’m able to connect with people and pretty much mentor them. And now I’ll also do the same with the lower class in the ROTC program here at UNT. 

And then I was able to land a summer internship. That was pretty much a blessing I considered because it was it’s hard to get into companies such as BNSF and they gave me the opportunity to show them that I’m an asset to them and that I can help them out and bring something to the table. What advice do you have for current students as they decide their next steps after graduation? One of the biggest advices that I got whenever I came here to you and to you was networking, and I think a lot of students don’t really realize how big that is, because it gets to a point where it’s not really about all the grades you get, the grades you get, but about the handshake, speaking them into existence. 

That’s pretty much how I landed my job at BNSF. And I think selling yourself as an asset to the companies is something that they look for. 

How did your program at UNT help you feel prepared for this role? UNT essentially provided those resources that are needed to develop myself as a leader, which is something that I was striving for whenever I transferred to UNT, Dr. Aguilar, Dr. Hancock were one of those big mentors that they helped me develop myself not only as a SHERM member, but as a SHERM officer. And they pushed me, too, to my full potential as a vice president in the organization, I’m able to reach out to students. 

I’m also engaged with the other part. I’m actually in charge of the mentorship program of the organization, which is one of the biggest assets they have for students. 

How did you find your current role? So I found my current role through Linkedin, but I was actually through someone else that mentioned the role I actually applied through LinkedinSo it was it was that connection, that networking that brought me to that. I was looking for an internship. I had literally had like three months to land one. And it was it was I know it was God, but I was also the person that Inetwork with. 

He was really a a person that put me in that position to look for the position and not only look for it, but it helped me apply to it. 

What was the toughest question you’ve been asked during an interview? So I had the toughest interview question that I had throughout the hiring process was, so what can you bring to the company that other candidates care? And knowing the pool of candidates that I was competing against was I knew there was plenty of people that had experience and I knew that I was in that I was in that experience. I did I did have some background in management, but it was something that I felt that was going to put me up against or above those candidates. 

And I think the the the key points through that question, as I answered it, was just picturing myself and selling myself as an asset. That was that was the biggest thing I put myself in. I gave examples of me overcoming problems and how I was able to solve them, essentially, which is what our companies look for in a in someone that doesn’t have experience, but someone that that has potential. And that’s that’s how I was able to come up with with an answer for that question. 

How overcame the difficulty of it? 

How has the career center helped you? The career center helped me was essentially through to key ways. One of them was doing mock interviews at the Chestnut Hall, and I was able to develop myself and put myself in front of webcams and in front of interviewers, which gave me the comfort and the confidence to face an interview. Another way was by providing me with resources like business cards, which were essential for my networking throughout the years here at UNT. 

Tell us about yourself. What brought me to you and to you as a a student that really didn’t know what to study? From my background, I came from Puerto Rico. I moved here when I was in seventh grade and I was looking for something that was my niche, something where I saw myself and I could help out people. And I remember going back to my Cinemark years where I was able to move up the ladder and become an assistant manager. 

I remember this particular scenario where I came in and they investigated and they did employee relations investigations and the way they acted and how they took upon the situation and developed it and essentially solved the case, really brought about an attention and a drive for me to pursue that after, because throughout that time at Cinemark, I was looking to transfer universities. And I knew that you to offer this H.R. management degree, which was something that you didn’t really offer. 

And, well, they did offer it, but it wasn’t the I wasn’t going to have the same resources as here at UNT. And I remember just looking back at that situation and I was like, I think I finally found what what really drives me. And whenever I transferred to UNT, I joined the ROTC. I was provided a scholarship, a three year scholarship, fully paid. And that’s a big blessing that I wasn’t counting on. 

But it was provided to me. And once I got the opportunity to meet the professors here at UNT and joined the organization SHERM, I truly found and I and I knew that I was at the right place. and I know that I’m going on forward in my life. I know that I’ll prepare for the challenges and adversities that life springs.