This page is dedicated to the stories of our alumni. Many people ask, “What can you do with a COMM degree?” Because, “What can’t you do with a COMM degree,” is not a satisfying answer, we developed this page to showcase what our alumni are doing now.
This week, we feature Christian Franta
Christian Franta is a Sales Representative at Vanguard Packaging, a manufacturer of corrugated displays, signage and retail-ready packaging. He began his career with Vanguard in 2014 at the company’s headquarters in Kansas City, MO., eventually relocating to the St. Louis office where he works today. Christian works alongside his customers in the fast-paced and competitive world of consumer brands, to execute retail programs that increase sales and drive brand awareness. He enjoys staying active outdoors with his wife and two dogs.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated in Spring 2014, earning my a BA in Communication with an emphasis in Public Communication.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
Fall semester my freshman year, I decided to take part in rush. I joined the fraternity Beta Theta Pi. I also volunteered every year for Special Olympics and worked at the Student Recreational Center.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I didn’t go to grad school. Starting my career was the right move for me.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
The best decision I made as a student was choosing to switch my major to Communication. I realized that having a better understanding of people and how we communicate was the most important aspect to me pursuing a career in sales.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
I believe that there is a place for every student at Truman academically, professionally, and socially with a wide range of opportunities to find your niche, build friendships, and grow.
What was your first job after graduation?
Sales Representative at Vanguard Packaging in Kansas City, MO.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
As a Sales Representative for Vanguard Packaging, my job is to help my customers increase brand recognition and achieve incremental sales growth at retail through the use of custom point-of-purchase displays.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
Going to a Liberal Arts school and pursuing a Communication degree gave me the critical thinking skills I needed to be strategic and creative in developing solutions for my customers.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
Though not my favorite class at the time, I was able to apply the concepts learned in Persuasion Theory to my role in sales, regularly meeting and selling to new customers.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
I would encourage every student to take an active role in their classes. I found the professors in the COMM Department to be engaging, inclusive, and passionate about educational growth and personal development.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
For those interested in going into the field of sales, I’d encourage them to build their confidence, interpersonal communication skills, and be prepared for everyday to be different.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Communication, the farthest degree from campus”
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
Leadership and Communication. This course would outline how to lead teams, projects and people. Effective communication coupled with leadership skills provides a great recipe for career success.
If you would like to learn more of Christian’s story, you can follow him on LinkedIn.
If you want to learn more about the Department of Communication, contact us!
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Read about more COMM alumni here!