Student Highlight: Mitesh Patel

“…gaining a first step into any kind of experience that you seek will give you the first climb of your life-long career ladder.”


Mitesh Patel – 4th year Management major

SDSU Career Services: What is your major, year and what industry do you want to break into? What influenced your academic major decision?

My major is Management, with the College of Business Administration. I’m a 4th year senior, and I am heavily interested in breaking into the aviation industry, more specifically with commercial aviation and airport management. I chose to be a management student because I knew that having a Management degree would allow me to enter various industries and work environments because of how broadly my Management degree can be applied. By learning about business activities from a leadership and managerial perspective, I am aiming to take the knowledge and skills gained and apply them to what I am most passionate about and interested in, which is aviation!

SDSU CS: Are you involved in any organizations on campus? If yes, which ones and do you hold a position?

Ever since my freshman year I was a part of the National Collegiate Society for Scholars, and this was a nationwide organization for college freshmen and sophomores who achieved high GPAs as they began their collegiate education. I am also a part of the Society for Human Resource Management SDSU chapter club, and although I have not held a position, I’ve been a part of several activities including a business site visit, career networking events, and special guest lectures.

SDSU CS: Have you had any internship and do you have one now?

I have not had an internship until the one I have now, and I started this first internship in June of 2015. I am an operations intern, with the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which owns and operates San Diego International Airport.

SDSU CS: How did you prepare you for your interview? How was the hiring process (1 or more interviews, phone interviews.)?

I prepared firstly by learning about the Airport Authority and understanding what the Authority was about in terms of its culture, structure, and opportunities. Since I knew that aviation was my foremost interest, I set the Airport Authority’s internship program as a top priority when I was searching for aviation-related internships in San Diego. I then consulted with a mentor who I’ve been very fortunate to have met through the Aztec Mentorship Program, which I definitely recommend to each and every student at SDSU. He was able to assist me on preparing for the interview and the application process in terms of being able to present myself in the most compatible and impressive way that I could for the Authority’s interview board. The hiring process itself consisted of just the initial application to be sent, a pre-screen phone call, and one interview. The interview was done via Skype was conducted by my now-current manager and a specialist in our department.

SDSU CS: What do you expect to learn (if you have barely started) and/or what have you learned at this internship? How will this experience be valuable for your career?

What I have learned from this internship are truly things that could not be learned elsewhere. The experience itself of being part of a large, professional organization has shown me how a real-world job affects the way I work and how everyone operates with one another. It is a very immense environment, with many talented individuals who make critical decisions every day for our airport. This experience without a doubt will be very valuable for my career because I have learned very much about how to be a professional team player for an organization that strives for results and for one that turns ideas into implemented projects. I have gained an excellent understanding of how planning and effectively using time affects the work I do and the projects I lead. The Airport Authority as a whole is a very supportive environment, where our team members make serious efforts to take care of one another, and being able to grow and develop my career-related skills in this type of surrounding has been a true privilege for me.

SDSU CS: Was Career Services helpful in your internship search? If yes, in which ways (resume workshops, Aztec Career Connection, Aztec Mentor Program…)?

Career Services was very helpful in assisting me for helping me to scale down my internship search and to prepare for the steps of applying for internships. As I briefly mentioned earlier, I was a mentee as a part of the Aztec Mentorship Program, where students are paired with a mentor who comes from a professional background. I highly recommend the program to students who truly want to enhance their skills in professional interactions and work-related talent. It is a great way to get the ball rolling on becoming a very suitable member of any professional organization once you start searching for careers after graduation.

SDSU CS: What advice would you give to students who hesitate to do an internship? And what advice would you give them for their internship search?

I would tell all students first to really search inside and figure out what it is you really love. Think about certain industries you pay attention to, products or services that you absolutely love, and things that you think about when you’re not even thinking. By understanding your passions and interests, you’ll be able to shift your focus to an opportunity that you will pursue headstrong. By following that mindset and approach, the internship search will be more worthwhile and valuable to you. And not to mention, when you’re doing something that you love, you will never stop improving at what you do, and good work never goes unnoticed. For those who hesitate to have an internship, I must say that you’re missing out on an extremely amazing opportunity to learn and to grow into becoming a true professional. There is no better experience than being a part of a real-world organization that aims to succeed in this competitive economy. The job market is becoming harder to move through due to increasing competition, so gaining a first step into any kind of experience that you seek will give you the first climb of your life-long career ladder.

Mitesh, like many other students, have used the resources that Career Services has to offer. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, call (619) 594-6851.


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