If there’s anyone who can get a job by comparing herself to a Whopper, it’s international business and marketing senior Gracie Palombo. In November, Palombo stood in front of top Burger King executives and dissected the metaphorical layers of herself as a hamburger for three minutes to persuade the corporation to hire her.
Palombo had three minutes to “sell herself” to a room full of executives sitting on bean bags, alongside 13 Ivy League students.
“I was the only girl, the only Southerner and the only person not graduating from an Ivy league in my interview group,” Palombo said.
Understanding the competitive nature of the program, Palombo was honored to be accepted into the Burger King Management Trainee Program in November.
Palombo started her job search in August 2012, after returning from study abroad in Switzerland and having what she refers to as a “quarter life crisis.”
After a sorority goal-setting activity, she made the yearlong objective to get a job.
“I set the goal and worked towards it,” Palombo said.
She attributes her successful experience to skills learned at Loyola.
“Loyola does a really good job in developing the whole person,” Palombo said. “They really care about you as an individual and how you present yourself – from how to present and interview to what to wear and how to grow your personal skills.”
“I remember my international business capstone professor telling my class that a presentation might get you the job — and that’s exactly what happened to me,” Palombo said.
Palombo encourages students seeking post-graduation plans to be persistent in the job search.
“Don’t be shy to use your contacts,” Palombo said.
She added that, although your network is important, it isn’t the only thing that will get you the job.
“The contact guides you and may open the door, but you have to walk up the stairs and say ‘this is me, I want this job,’ and then fight for it,” Palombo said.
Palombo’s drive is acknowledged by many.
“Gracie is very outgoing and bubbly; she’ll talk to anyone and she’s very driven,” Camille Fiess, sociology senior and sorority sister to Palombo, said.
“When anyone I know wants to think about acting professional on an interview or do well on a test their like, ‘Ok, I’m going to channel Gracie,’” Fiess said. “She has such a good attitude towards everything.”
This sentiment is shared not only by friends, but also among Loyola faculty.
“I believe her success is built on her dedication, her personality and her understanding of the importance of international experience,” Wing Fok, professor and adviser to Palombo, said.
“Ever since the first time I met her as her adviser, Gracie has always impressed me as a person who knows how to prepare herself for the future,” Fok said. “She is constantly looking for opportunities to go out of her comfort zone to challenge herself.”
Palombo’s drive has produced an extensive resume, stacked with a long list of campus leadership positions, such as being president of Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, an active member of Delta Gamma and Student Government Association. Palombo describes herself as curious and has an itch to travel; she thrives on international experiences, having traveled abroad with the university four times, from study abroad in France, Switzerland and China to volunteering with Mission and Ministry in Belize.
She hopes one day to live abroad and work in the extreme tourism business.
Palombo will move to Miami post-graduation and begin the seven-month training in July, where she will begin ground up at a Burger King restaurant and then graduate to the corporate office.
“I know Burger King gets the cream of the crop of our graduating class,” Fok said. “I need to start buying Burger King stocks.”
Originally appeared in the Loyola Maroon, April 5, 2013