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Linus Akanoh Jr. leads teams of recovery professionals to crisis sites across the country — from floods in Colorado to financial disruptions in Georgia. As a manager in Deloitte Advisory’s Strategic Risk practice, he helps clients recover, rebuild and become more resilient. It’s a challenging job that takes superior leadership, teamwork, communication and presentation skills.

Akanoh credits many of those skills to his time as a student at St. Edward's. “I learned to challenge the status quo,” he says, “to turn a problem inside out and come at it a different way. That’s the key to being successful today — that’s what will make you stand out.”

Here, Akanoh offers four tips for getting the most out of your degree program — and getting the skills that will move you to the head of the classroom (and the boardroom).

1. Let go of fear.

Every semester brings a new set of classes and challenges. The workload can be demanding and daunting — but it can also be life-changing. Let go of undue concerns especially about the things beyond your control, advises Akanoh. “Don’t be afraid to try new things, and be who you can be. You might not even know what all is out there or what you want to do, but education is about answering those questions as much as it is about learning the particulars of a field.”

2. Know that you are known.

In a small, personalized environment like St. Edward’s, your professors and peers will know you — not just your name but you. “Latch on to that,” says Akanoh. “Connect with people who care about your learning and want to help you understand your place in the world.” Look for faculty members who can mentor you. Develop relationships with peers who share your interests and goals. And network with alumni in your areas of interest — they will be invaluable connections as you look ahead in your career.  

3. If there’s an opportunity, take it.

As a student, Akanoh conducted research on fraud detection with one of his favorite professors. He presented his findings on campus, the International Center of Austin and at the Texas Academy of Science. He was also part of the St. Edward’s team that took first place in a state business ethics competition. “I didn’t think much about having such incredible opportunities at the time,” he says. “but those are what build your professional momentum and establish credibility. And they’re the kinds of things I look for now when I’m recruiting campus candidates.”

4. Come back and give back.

Despite his busy career, Akanoh makes time to come back to campus. He sits on career panels and is a guest speaker in Accounting classes. He also teaches an Accounting Information Systems course. “Those of us who do well have a responsibility to send the elevator back down for others,” Akanoah says. “My professional successes are attributable to the many devoted teachers who inspired me and invested personally in my learning experience. I honor their legacy by sharing my experiences with others.”

A graduate degree from St. Edward’s University equips you with lifelong, marketable skills that help pave the way to career advancement and a fulfilling future. Choose from one daytime program and six evening and weekend programs designed for working professionals. You’ll collaborate with faculty mentors and highly motivated peers in an environment that promotes active, experiential learning. And you’ll see why 90% of our alumni say that St. Edward’s prepared them well for their careers.

Stacia Herntrom MLA ’05 is a writer for St. Edward’s University.