Alumni Highlight: Jacob Gutierrez '13

Major: Political Science

Current residence: Valencia

Current occupation: Contract administrator, Nexus IS, Inc.

When Jacob Gutierrez was planning for his career, he anticipated helping undergraduate students plan out their academic schedules. With such an involved and rewarding experience as a UC Merced student, he hoped to return to higher education and help future students achieve their goals.

Unfortunately, he didn't find just the right fit after graduation.

So he decided to open up his options and start looking for new opportunities. While searching, he stumbled across the company Nexus IS, Inc. Within 30 minutes of applying, he received an email from the company asking him to interview. One thing led to another, and soon he was hired and officially working his first full-time job after college.

With more than 600 employees, Nexus IS is a leading national provider of professional, cloud, consulting and managed services for advanced IT solutions.

As a political science major, Gutierrez didn’t have any direct coursework related to IT; however, his good friend W. Kyle Hamilton (Psychology/BA/2012) encouraged him to pursue an interest in programming outside the classroom, so during his interview process he was able to demonstrate his knowledge of the Perl Programming Language.

“Never underestimate the power of skill diversity,” Gutierrez said. He's confident he wouldn’t have gotten the position without having some knowledge of the basic IT fundamentals.

Granted, he doesn’t use those basics very often in his current role. While Gutierrez wears many hats, he spends quite a bit of time reviewing sales contracts that are submitted to his boss for approval by the company’s IT consultants.

“I’m the flood gate for every single person who needs to talk to the vice president of Managed Services,” he said. He spends a lot of time reviewing those contracts – ensuring every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted.

So even though Gutierrez never thought this would be where he’d start his career, he feels very fortunate to be a part of the Nexus IS, Inc. family. After only five months, he’s already got his sights set on forward-advancing positions within the company, building his internal network day-by-day.

“I was talking to one of our consultants in education technology the other day and asked him how I could get to where he is today,” Gutierrez said. “He said, ‘Get an MBA.’ So I’m starting to look at what opportunities there are for grad school in my area.”

Even though he hasn’t made his career out of advising students, he was able to participate as an alumni advisor for the Fall 2013 semester.

“Being an alumni advisor was an amazing experience,” Gutierrez said. Being a new graduate, he still was well-connected to faculty and staff members on campus and knew who to direct his advisee to speak with on various topics. He also was instrumental in the development and launch of the Southern California UCMAA Chapter, which hosted its first meeting in October 2013.

When asked why he has become engaged with the UCMAA so soon after graduation, he explained the importance of continuing his relationship with UC Merced.

“Alumni loyalty is sticking around for your school, keeping in touch, reading the newsletters and sticking in with your Bobcat family.”

Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat.