Lukas Michaels ’18 CLAS and Steve Guerrini ’07 VSB

Lukas and Steve

1. What’s the latest?

Lukas completed a 2017 summer internship at Apple in Cupertino, Calif., and recently accepted his dream position in Information Security at Apple following his graduation in May 2018.

2. How did it happen?

Lukas: I was able to secure my dream job after college mainly because of two things.

First, I found the perseverance to continue the internship search after more than 100 applications resulted in turn downs. I must have exhausted all the links on Villanova’s career website, Handshake, and I applied directly to over four dozen other companies. In the end, I counted and found that I applied to over 100 companies that all told me no. The feeling of desperation was unsurmountable, but I kept going.  

Second, I reached out to the strong network Villanova’s Mentor Program has established, specifically Michele Gianforcaro ’89 VSB Assistant Director of Professional Development. I told her, “Michele, I have worked so hard my entire college career. I’ve applied to over 100 internships and I haven’t had any luck. Is there someone you can introduce me to help me out?”

She quickly introduced me to NYC alumni mentor Steve Guerrini, who had recently offered to help every Villanova student mentee and alumni mentor who attended the Manhattan Meet Up event. Steve took time to email me, at times answering my incessant questions, and guide me through the elusive and extensive skill of networking. He coached me on how to reach out to Villanova alumni to learn more about what they do and how I could fit into their company. After telling Steve what I wanted to do and where I wanted to work, he immediately connected me with Mike Greco ’12 VSB at Apple who ended up hiring me for both my Apple internship and ultimately my full-time position.

3. What did you think when Lukas contacted you?

Steve: There are a number of things that stand out about Lukas’ story. I think his persistence is the first thing that struck me – more than 100 internship applications! That is a level of determination that we should all aspire to.

Then, there is the fact that none of his efforts immediately led to ‘success,’ in this case an internship. Rather, Lukas’ moment came when he thought differently, when he stepped out of his comfort zone and asked Michele how he could connect with the Villanova alumni network.

4. What have you learned from this experience?

Lukas: In the end, being able to walk into headquarters and meet four other Villanovans working at Apple was an indescribable feeling. My manager Mike told me that another Villanovan helped him get his foot in the door, so he carried that torch and passed it on to me. I will continue giving back to the Villanova community through the VSB Mentor Program. I believe our community will expand even further on the West Coast and throughout the country.  

5. What advice would you give to students? What advice would you give to alumni?

Lukas: The most important thing I have learned while here at Villanova is that finding a job is not about tacking things onto your resume and throwing it blindly at your dream company. Finding a career that means something to you can be achieved by doing your best and, more importantly, by building relationships outside of campus and even outside of your comfort zone. Initially I believed building these connections outside campus with professionals would be daunting, however, the Mentor Program made it easy to make relationships with Villanovans who are eager to help.

Steve: Sometimes, no matter how sparkling a resume or the person behind it, recruiters and hiring managers get lost in the sea of applications that companies receive every day. That doesn’t mean that a person is not a good fit, or even a great fit, it just means that companies don’t have unlimited time and resources to identify potential. Villanova alumni can create life-changing opportunities for students by hiring Villanovans, and by connecting students to opportunities at other firms.

I had never met Lukas in person until October 2017, ten months after connecting him with Mike. My advice to alums is to assume students have positive intentions and do what you can to help them achieve their goals. That might be through a phone call or two, coffee, passing a resume along to your company or reaching out to someone in your network based on the student’s interest.

Sometimes students’ determination can only get them so far. We, as Villanova alumni, can get them the rest of the way.