When recent graduates are hired by alumni, the Gatton College’s exceptional career support and strong sense of community comes full circle.
Upon graduation, UK Student Body President and Gatton College senior, Courtney Wheeler `21 will be hired as a district manager by the international grocery chain ALDI. In 2019, Forbes named ALDI one of the country’s best large employers and best employers for new grads. There are over 2,000 ALDI stores across 37 states, and they serve more than 50 million customers.
Wheeler was hired by ALDI and recruited by Suzanne Jackson Kincer `06, who is also a district manager for ALDI and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Management from the Gatton College. “As a district manager, one of our responsibilities is to assist in selecting candidates for our position who are just as passionate as we are about serving others,” said Kincer. “I enjoy interviewing others and envisioning how they could play a role in enhancing our organization.”
According to Wheeler, from day one, the recruiting process at ALDI was a positive one. She originally applied for an internship but had to withdraw when she was elected Student Body President. “When I told them that, I was pleasantly surprised with their response,” she said. “They were so happy for me and my accomplishment. I loved the culture and the people I had met so far.”
When Kincer was searching for post-graduation opportunities, she became interested in ALDI for the same reasons. She said, “I learned about the 50-week training program for district manager candidates, and I was immediately sold. Right away, they showed me that they were invested in my long-term success.” Once Wheeler reentered the recruiting process, she found that ALDI took the time to get to know her and her personality. “They really worked to assess my dedication to the company and if I was going to be happy there. They want to make sure they hire the right people.”
Wheeler always knew she wanted to pursue a career in business management, and has high praise for the Gatton College's academic advisors. "They have been incredible," she said. "My advisors understood me and took time to listen to me. They knew I wanted to learn what really motivates people, and how to negotiate conflict. I ended up choosing a Business Management and Business Organization Communication double major based on their suggestion."
She has equal appreciation for the Graham Office of Career Management. "I went to the Graham Office for resume help. I was also able to apply what I was learning in my CIS 300 class to my ALDI interviews. In class, I wrote my cover letter, did my elevator pitch, and completed practice interviews. I also got extra opinions on my resume from my professor."
Through her education at the Gatton College and experience with UK student government, Wheeler learned to communicate effectively and sell her strengths, resulting in a great opportunity right after graduation. "One of the most valuable skills I learned was telling a story and providing all the context and resolutions. I used that throughout my ALDI interviews."
Wheeler is excited to begin this next chapter of her life, knowing she’ll be working in an environment that supports her professional growth. Said Kincer, “Courtney is a well-rounded, dynamic, and poised individual. She’s been faced with many challenges in her role as UK Student Body President during the COVID-19 pandemic, but always seems to handle difficult situations with confidence. We are really excited for her to join our team!”