My Rollins Gateway: No Limits

March 19, 2020

By Elsa Wenzel

Tamer Elkhouly ’19.
Photo by Scott Cook.

How veteran and business management major Tamer Elkhouly ’19 excelled in the Army, matured as a Rollins transfer student, and landed on a leadership track in the defense industry.

Tamer Elkhouly ’19 had made it through boot camp, Patriot Missile training school, and 13 months of active duty in the Army. But as a fourth-year Rollins business management major, he had yet to write a cover letter—and one was due soon for his dream job.

Elkhouly hightailed it over to Rollins’ Center for Career & Life Planning (CCLP), whose experts immediately helped him craft the letter and describe his skills in a sequence that stepped through his military, academic, and work history. He learned that a cover letter is more than restating a resume—that it should explain who you are and what you will bring to work on day one, enabling the interview to focus on the meatier questions. He was able to send that letter just in time.

While at Rollins, Elkhouly utilized CCLP’s resources on a regular basis, getting help with internship application materials and advice on professional video interviews, which included never to conduct them in your dorm room. Through his challenging coursework and Rollins’ focus on experiential learning, he also garnered skills in project management, public speaking, organizational behavior, and business law that have proved indispensable in his role as a contract specialist in Raytheon’s two-year Contracts Leadership Development Program.

From combining his military background with business and communication skills to providing life-saving solutions to U.S. allies around the world before even donning a cap and gown, explore some of the transformative waypoints on Elkhouly’s personalized pathway through Rollins.

Intern and supervisor walk the aisle at an ALDI store.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Mentorship, Mastered

From his ALDI internship supervisor to assistant registrar Alexa Gordon, who answered all of his questions about the GI Bill and transferring to Rollins, to assistant vice president for student affairs Lisa Gilliean-Crump, who helped him prepare for his interview at Raytheon and became an ever-present champion of his dreams, Elkhouly was never alone on his Rollins journey.

Management intern poses outside an ALDI store in Florida.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Liberal Arts in Action

Elkhouly landed a coveted internship as a district manager at ALDI while a third-year student at Rollins. Finance professor Richard Lewin helped him prepare to apply for the role in advance, spending hours explaining the organizational behavior of the company, known for its insular culture, at every level.

“I was given the high-level task of providing a groundbreaking solution for the business within only two months. I managed contracts, supervised projects, and collaborated with teams, which was real applicable experience that helped me get selected for Raytheon’s leadership program.”

Student raises his hand in a business management class.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Future-Proof Foundation

As a Rollins business major, Elkhouly learned the unwritten rules of the corporate world, from mastering a dress code to fine-tuning his public-speaking abilities. He learned analytical and communication skills that enabled him to engage with people whose backgrounds differed widely from his own, and he refined his presentation and Excel skills.

“I’m now able to juggle multiple deliverables on dramatically different schedules and apply legalese to issues of liability, disputes, and arbitration because of the law and ethics class I took nearly a year before I administered my first defense contract.”

A college student poses in cap and gown before a commencement ceremony.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Rollins Ready

When his tour in the Army ended, Elkhouly’s path through Rollins Gateway began. It was a path marked by community service, peer mentorship, faculty mentorship, and the development of soft skills in the business world.

“Taking classes in organizational behavior and project management helped me think with purpose and sustainability. Testing my newfound skills in the real world allowed me to convert theory from the classroom to tangible results for a major retailer. Before even graduating, I was able to enter the competitive defense industry prepared to run a high-performance organization and develop a global business strategy.”

A visual representation of a student's journey through Rollins Gateway, from study abroad experiences to original research opportunities.

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