Miguel Aleman

Class of 2021

Integrated Undergraduate Graduate Program

B.S. in Labor and Employment Relations, M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations

IBM

Meet Miguel

Miguel Aleman came to Penn State without a clear plan for his future. Looking back, Aleman said he could have graduated earlier if he had been more prepared. “You should have a plan, but also know that it might not work out exactly how you’re expecting it to. You just have to stay focused on the end goal.”

Aleman started at the Smeal College of Business and heard about the School of LER from his academic advisor. He added, “I was nineteen and I didn’t know what I wanted to do other than something with a business focus. I considered economics but I also wanted to work with people. My advisor in Smeal connected me with LER advisor Katelyn Perry and she suggested I take LHR 100.”

He added that his experience in LHR 100 helped him realize a career in human resources would be the right path for him. “Everything was working out so well and I liked this program so much, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree – it was really a no-brainer.”

Aleman has a B.S. in Labor and Employment Relations and an M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations. He participated in the School’s IUG program and also holds a Smeal College Business Fundamentals Certificate from the University.

How He Got There

Going into his final year of graduate school, Aleman held an internship in the compensation section of IBM’s HR department. He was part of the organization’s HR Development Program. Aleman explained this is a three-year rotational program and at the end of the summer, participants are hired into full-time positions.

Aleman was offered a full-time role as a talent acquisition sourcer. “Basically, I focus on our professional hiring and recruiting. I work with schools and targeting diverse candidates. Fall is recruiting season, so things have been busy,” he said.

Although his day-to-day activities are varied, Aleman said everything centers around sourcing and implementing strategic ways of hiring diverse candidates for IBM. He also attends career fairs, mostly virtually for the moment, where he provides resources, talks to students, and hosts information sessions. 

Aleman has also been working to get IBM’s first career fair, IBM Tech Connect, ready to go for the fall semester. “Normally, you have career fairs at a specific school. This brings the schools to IBM to increase the return on investment for the company,” he added.

Aleman also reaches out to students about roles at IBM, then screens applications in the first step of the application process so hiring managers can look the best candidates who might fill the empty roles.

“In my role, I can provide opportunities for students like myself,” said Aleman. “I was an underrepresented minority. I know the challenges and difficulties that women, Blacks, Latinos, and other minorities face in school alone. Going into the workforce is hard and there are a lot of biases that don’t work in our favor. Knowing that I’m working towards helping other people like myself is my favorite part about my job.”

Looking Back

Aleman said during the end of his academic career, he had two internship offers from different companies. The school’s career counselor Kim Plummer was instrumental in helping him navigate the process.

“I needed help looking at how I could leverage myself and my experience to get the highest compensation and the role that would be most beneficial to my future goals,
 he said. “I talked to Kim multiple times about market compensation, other relevant roles, and how my skills compared.”

Erin Hezel, graduate education program assistant, and academic advisor Katelyn Perry were also important to Aleman’s time at Penn State.

Aleman said being part of Penn State helped him develop as a person and gave him access to people he would have never met otherwise. “I think meeting people from different backgrounds who have different perspectives not only prepared me for the working world, but also for life in general.

“You always hear that Penn State has the largest alumni network, but really being part of that network is incredible. I went to a really small high school, so my freshman year at Penn State was a whole new experience.”

Aleman encourages students he interacts with and friends that are still in school to make the most of their resources. “For example, financial issues that go on in people’s lives and universities often have funds allocated to help. Career services are there to help you begin your career journey. There are diversity officers, student organizations, and more. You just have to look for what’s out there. Networking is huge, too.”

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