Podcast Transcript – William Seale
Today’s podcast features an interview with UNT alumni William Seale. 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.
Hello, my name is William Seale. I graduated at UNT with an MBA in Strategic Management in 2005. I am currently an accounting manager with TransformCo. as well as an adjunct instructor for Dallas College.
When you started at UNT, what were your plans for after graduation? Have these plans changed, if at all?
Well, when I started at UNT, I really was looking into banking because at the time I was working in the commercial banking side and I wanted to look at possibly doing some management. But my undergrad at Lamar University was in accounting. So I really, after about a year at at the bank and finishing with my MBA, I thought it was a good idea to go ahead and try to pursue accounting. And that’s when I met up with at the time, Sears Holdings Corporation, now TransformCo.
Actually at a UNT Career Fair for about 14 years ago. So I’ve been with TransformCo for now about 13 years and I think it was a good idea for me to do that.
What advice do you have for current students as they decide their next steps after graduation?
My advice to current students is look at your department, look around. I know I found I was blessed and fortunate enough to find a Ronald E. McNair Fellowship program just by asking people around in the business department. It was for first generation college students I have gotten a lot of opportunities for scholarships and grants that way. And the good thing about it is not only are you helping your current state, but a lot of times some of these benefactors, the folks that the benefactors that actually do the scholarships, they could possibly be an employer down the road.
So it’s kind of a mutual benefit of your current and your future. So I would say, look, look, look in your front door around your front door, first go to your department. Whether it be for me was the business department or whether you just look around the campus, talk to some people, get to know people go out there and network, because while doing it, not only can you help yourself now, but you can possibly help yourself in the future.
How did your program at UNT help you feel prepared for this role?
My time at UNT was really good for me, dealing with multiple levels within the organization. So being in a classroom, just finishing my undergrad, you kind of had some trepidation there. You know, you don’t know what who’s going to be in the class with you is going to be all just students.
Is it going to be all professional folks? And I was fortunate to have a mix. So for me, it was being in groups and teams with this person who was a CFO of a local company, or this person has just finished their undergrad straight out of school or like me, maybe have a year or two of experience and being able to navigate that and communicate effectively with everyone, paid dividends to my current state that I’m in right now. How did you find your current role?
I found my current role actually at a UNT Career Fair. I still remember her name. She’s no longer with us, but her name was Miss Jenny Kerr. And actually another gentleman that worked at Sears were the representatives for Sears at the career fair. The career fair was had a multitude of different companies. And it was it was very a free flow. They have a lot of people just helping you to navigate through everything. And I just stumbled across Sears Holdings there and had a good conversation.
And from there I went in to a group interview and got the job went through I was started as an analyst with doing that for about a year and went into the executive development program. We also outsource. So I had the opportunity to travel to India at least five times now. So just being able to have those experiences and. You just feel like you’re ready for whatever is kind of thrown at you. And it started there at a career center, at a career fair.
So I tell people that, hey, you may not think these things work, but they do. So, you know, so that’s that’s pretty much where I’m at.
And as far as adjunct instruction as well, I’ve been doing that almost for nine years now. I felt that was important for me if I was going to get an MBA that I wanted to use it to the best of my abilities. So one thing to do is in a way to give back and also get more experience was to break into teaching. So I said for me, my MBA, the career center, they’ve all kind of come together to create a unique set of circumstances for me to be able to go forward in my career.
What was the toughest question you’ve been asked during an interview? As far as toughest, wasn’t really a questions per se. I believe for me like this, this will echo back to my experience in my MBA. But Sears had a group, a group interview process, whereas they had directors, they even had accountants in there because they wanted to get a feel of how you interact at different levels. And were you able to be able to talk to a director in one breath and then be able to talk to an accountant in the other? So for me, that was that was a great experience in real time, real life, where it really mattered, not in the classroom setting.
So I think that was one of my toughest as far as interview situations, not as far as questions, because it you just never knew what type of question that you would get and how it would be framed. How has the career center helped you?
The Career Center helped me getting in touch with my current career, and also allow me to see what other opportunities were out there in the DFW area companies that I did not realize because I wasn’t originally from here. I didn’t even realize it had a corporate presence here in the DFW area. You know, you may think that you may have a couple of outlets or whatnot in the area, but full fledged corporate entities that I just had no idea huge companies were here.
So you just giving that that opportunity to to help you understand what operates, what opportunities you have sometimes going into these things, you’re busy trying to graduate. You’re busy trying to find a job. And especially if you’re not from the area, you don’t really know where to start. Sometimes you can go online. But having someone there to help you along the way proved very beneficial to me.
Tell us about yourself. Well, as far as me, I really I learned about UNT while I was at Lamar, I got my undergrad from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. I was in as I mentioned a little while earlier, I was in the Ronald E. McNair Fellowship program. And during that time, it helped you craft your dissertation or help you get into graduate school, get you exposed to where you may have not had any exposure to getting into graduate school.
So what they did was we actually traveled up here to Denton for a symposium there where there was other Ronald E. McNair fellows presenting their research. And that was and that was an awesome opportunity for me, because I’ve never been in that in that environment, in that situation. So did that actually got the Ronald E. McNair Fellowship at UNT And while I was at UNT, I went to the career fair and bumped into my current employer, which is Sears Holdings, now called TransformCo.
Also, when I finish my masters, I wanted to be able to utilize that masters to the fullest. And I felt that one of the ways to do that and one of the ways to get back is to actually break into academia or teaching. So I was fortunate enough nine years ago to start at Mountview Community College, which is now Dallas College, doing business classes at night. And I’ve been doing that for nine years now and I love it.
It’s a cool opportunity because my directors and my management have been super supportive to allow me to do this and do manage here as well. So. So as far as for me, UNT has allowed me some opportunities as some doors to go through and to continue to go through. And I am fortunate for it.