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Graduating from UW-Superior in 2008, Eric Bottolfsen obtained his degree in Business Administration with a minor in Finance. After his commencement, Bottolfsen sought work within his field, and he eventually began his career in Phoenix, AZ. He is now focused on his work as a Banking Center Manager for the Bank of America.
From a young age, Bottolfsen knew that he would one day be working with sales and financing. Being a member of the hockey team, he used to enjoy going door-to-door as a kid to raise money for the program. He also describes that even as a teenager he often read the Wall Street Journal just for fun.
By the time he entered college, Bottolfsen was ready to get involved in bigger things. He joined SUFAC (Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee) and the DBE (Department of Business and Economics) committee, and he also took on a leadership role as the President of the Golf Club. DBE was at the top of his list of favorites. This club allowed him to gain experience doing some of the things that he could apply to his professional career. As a member of the organization, he was responsible for helping to create fundraising opportunities for various events and banquets, which he would also help to host alongside of his peers.
His experiences at UW-Superior along with the degrees he earned helped Bottolfsen to earn his position with the Bank of America. Once he got the ball rolling, he began his career by dealing with insurance and other investments. From there he was able to make his way to a new position, working as a personal banker.
Now that he holds the position of a Banking Center Manager, Bottolfsen has the duty of leading a group of employees, who hold jobs ranging from bank tellers and personal bankers to mortgage reps and business specialists. The focus of Bottolfsen's work is on customer satisfaction. It is his job to train his team how to work with the customers to make sure they are getting the highest quality service. There is also a focus on expanding the company's client base by developing new relationships and making sure that new customers have a positive experience with the bank.
Since he is usually the first person who new employees come into contact with, Bottolfsen has the opportunity to help new employees discover and plan out their career paths for progression within the company. He enjoys the opportunity to be able to watch his teammates advance into higher positions the longer they are in the business.
Although his job is very rewarding, there are also some challenges that Bottolfsen faces with his career. Banking in general has been portrayed in a negative light by the media over recent years. Even though he knows that some of the negative attention may be deserved, there is also a large portion that is unprovoked. This creates a problem for the banks, because it develops an unfortunate gap in communication between what customers expect that the bank is doing compared to what the reality of the situation truly is. It takes a lot of work for Bottolfsen and the company to ensure that their bank keeps a positive rap.
Though Bottolfsen realizes that many people today are just at work to get a paycheck, he is driving to make a different name for himself and his enterprise. He explains, "I truly care about my team, my customers, and my company. This is not just a job for me. I want everyone on my team to be successful, I want my customers to meet and exceed their goals, and I want my company to be recognized for the work that we do." He believes that it is important for the job leaders of the business to model the type of loyalty that they want to see in their clients. If they are showing that they care about the stakeholders, the stakeholders, in turn, will stay loyal to the company.
Though Bottolfsen is happy with his job, he still has more career goals to achieve. He is currently working on becoming a Community Market Manager within the bank, which would allow him to work with several groups of people and at various locations. The idea of possibly taking on an entrepreneurial role has also caught his attention.
With his advancement goals set in mind, Bottolfsen is taking the steps necessary to make these dreams become a reality. He has already completed more schooling since graduating from UW-Superior, and now holds two master's degrees, one in Finance and the other in Business Administration with concentrations in Organizational Development and Business Leadership. Even with these new degrees, his eye is still set on further education. Bottolfsen wants to go back to school to develop his skills in Spanish. He would recommend that anyone who is looking to pursue a career in a business field should at least consider a minor in a foreign language.
For those looking at a job in banking, Bottolfsen believes that a degree in Business will best fit the mold. The ideas and theories that come from education in this field are certainly applicable to this type of career. However, a final piece of advice from Bottolfsen that he feels is very important is to not let graduating with a certain degree limit your potential. He says, "You shouldn't let it define you. I have had mentors that were English majors, History majors, Economics majors, etc. This is your one shot at life so go for what you're passionate about."
Eric Bottolfsen was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. His full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/day-in-the-life.cfm.
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