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Alumni Spotlight: Felix Davila

Felix Davila Alumni SpotlightIn June 2014, Felix Davila graduated from Northwestern College with an associate’s in business administration in just under two years.  Prior to enrolling at Northwestern College, Felix enlisted in the military right out of high school and served our country proudly for four years.  When the time came to make a decision about his next steps in life, Felix decided to pursue his dream of being able to help run a business, and to one day own his own business. “And what better way to learn how to do that than get a business education?” Felix asks. It was with this thought in mind that he enrolled at Northwestern College.

While researching schools to attend, Felix particularly looked for important features which included a convenient location to commute to school easily and a regionally accredited college that will give him to opportunity to transfer his credits earned to a four-year university (transferability of credits is up to the university).

With his eye firmly fixed on his long-term goals, Felix soon came to realize that Northwestern College would set him up for success, provide a solid foundation and empower him to continue his education even further.

“I appreciated everybody there. My professors helped me a lot,” says Felix, who adds that Northwestern College helped to make the transition back to school, even for someone who had taken such a long break between high school and college, less daunting.  But, he explains, “I liked that I was able to start going back to school with smaller classes. When I did need help, I was able to reach out to my professors, and I never had any problem with them not reaching back out to me.”  Even when it came to untangling the complexities of financial aid, Felix was impressed with the support he received. He didn’t know much about how to apply benefits from his Post 9/11 GI Bill, but the financial aid counselors “were on top of it and always helping me out.”

After graduating from Northwestern College and obtaining a degree in business administration, Felix obtained a position at Ralph Lauren as an asset protection specialist. The position allows him to combine the skills and knowledge he obtained from both his military background and his education in business. Felix describes his position as a security role in which he helps with audits and managing shrinkage of store merchandise. “Coming out of school, I’m definitely more prepared to work in this line of business. Yes, I am doing security, but I have the understanding to see how my job impacts the storefront side and to identify where we are losing money.”

The position is ideal for Felix — one in which he is both able to contribute meaningfully to his employer’s success and to learn more about the day-to-day operation of a working business. And here, too, Northwestern College was instrumental in helping Felix find his path to success.  The career services department at the college not only sent Felix’s resume to Ralph Lauren (along with other potential employers) but also helped him prepare for the job search and interview process. That process turned out to be extensive for the Ralph Lauren job, but Felix felt well-prepared, thanks to the guidance from Northwestern College’s career services department, and well qualified for the position, thanks to his Northwestern College education. “It all helped me see the business aspect of my position. As far as the business goes, I’m able to understand where and how my job coordinates with the storefront and what’s actually needed of me for them to operate at full potential.”

Interestingly enough, the biggest impact Northwestern College had on Felix went quite a bit further than the education he received. “I know not to settle for less. I have a better understanding of my education and background and of what I have to offer.  I know how to study and research, and what salary range I should expect to be paid for working in my field. Northwestern College helped me know my worth.”

Felix says that even prior to attending school, he was always a busy person. He kept himself occupied with family, sports, the military and so on. But realizing how successful he was at Northwestern College inspired him to continue on even further. After graduating from Northwestern College, Felix went on to complete his bachelor’s in business administration, with an emphasis in management in December 2016. And now he’s planning out when he’ll begin studies for a master’s degree, as well. Clearly, Felix is just as busy today as before he attended Northwestern College — but he reiterates that one of his most valuable takeaways from the college was that “it has helped me learn what my worth is as far as looking for jobs goes so I don’t settle for less.”

Moving forward, once things get settled, Felix and his wife plan on buying a new home. They currently have two kids, with another one on the way. Another dream of theirs is to open the salon Felix’s wife wants to start — something small to begin with, with Felix helping to manage the main business aspects of the company. “That will be my kick start to the business world,” says Felix excitedly.  “I can see how things function now for myself, and that knowledge and experience will take me to bigger and better things.”

In addition to the business world and his family, Felix enjoys playing football. In fact, he has played semi-pro football ever since he got out of the military. He started on a team near the Milwaukee area and currently plays in Melrose Park.

Overall, life is looking pretty good for Felix, and he would definitely recommend Northwestern College to anyone who wants to achieve the sort of success he is now enjoying. “When I went there, the staff and teachers were so helpful. I got one-on-ones whenever I needed them. I felt as if everyone there genuinely cared about me and helping me achieve my goals.”

In addition to Felix’s favorite aspects of Northwestern College — the friendly environment and the friendly staff — he emphasizes that the school is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and that the business program is specifically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This accreditation was very important to Felix, as it allowed all of his credits to transfer to the school where he obtained his advanced degree.

At the end of the day, Felix encourages everyone to pursue his or her interests but suggests taking a little time first for introspection. “Really think about what it is you want to study. I’ve spoken with other students and friends who started off in one area and then switched gears halfway through, so they had to take more classes — which meant giving up more money and time. So, I would say really understand what it is you’re looking for before you start. Then, follow your dream and don’t look back.”