Rich Bechtel, director of executive search at Apple Inc., believes in the Lasallian value of giving back to the community and he proved it recently when he met with several Saint Mary's undergraduate business students and shared his insights on what it takes to succeed in the corporate world.
At Apple, Bechtel, who received a BS from Saint Mary’s in 1984 and an MBA in 1994, is in charge of finding exceptional leadership for one of the world’s most highly respected brands. He credits the communications skills he gained during his liberal arts education at SMC for helping him to build excellent business relationships, along with specific skills in accounting and finance that have helped pave his path to success.
Bechtel also stressed the importance of the values and ethics that he honed during a Lasallian education at Saint Mary's College. "Ethics and integrity are part of the cultural fabric of Saint Mary’s, and it was a part of so many of our classroom discussions. Whether it was Seminar or finance classes, ethical questions were frequently posed and discussed.” As his way of giving back, Bechtel serves on the SEBA Dean’s Advisory Board and in late May he organized the dinner for five students.
The students—sophomores Amanda Kopp, Mary Beth Ward, Simon Tryzna and Joseph Ly, and freshman Jennifer Nguyen—discussed their progress on campus, the challenges found early in careers and the core skills needed to succeed in the corporate world. As Bechtel offered his advice to the next generation of business leaders, they listened carefully and later said they enjoyed hearing him informally share his experiences and the lessons learned his personal life and professional career.
"I have wondered over the past two years if I am doing the right things and if I am preparing myself for the world outside of the classroom,” said Kopp. “Richard made me feel so confident in where I am in my schooling and career development. His praise boosted our confidence in our abilities."
Bechtel said that nurturing youth is essential to the success of any business, and added: “The challenge is how to bring in the next great leaders who will run any given business and take it from where it is today to the next level.”