Aco Alvarez ’98 Credits His Success to Saint Mary’s Integral Program

Owner and CEO of staffing firm The Mice Groups Aco Alvarez ’98 deeply values the education and experience he gained as a graduate of Saint Mary’s Integral Program, which provides a curriculum based on the liberal arts. Graduates gain the thinking ability, self-discipline, and leadership skills needed to pursue careers and graduate degrees in many fields. The Mice Groups, located in San Mateo, helps growing companies solidify their talent acquisition and retention goals with a human-first touch strategy. It has been named one of the country’s fastest-growing companies. We talked to Alvarez about his experience in the Integral Program and how it helped him gain success in his career.

Briefly, what do you do?

I own and run a boutique recruitment agency with its headquarters in San Mateo. We’ve been in business since 2000.

Who or what inspired you to get into this field?

It was quite by accident. Another integral student came to Saint Mary’s for on-campus recruiting at the end of my senior year. He told me I’d do well going to work for the company he was working at. I interviewed and was offered a position, and that is how my career in recruiting started. I also believed it to be a noble industry helping people get jobs.

What is the best part of your job?

I enjoy the people aspect of it. Helping people improve their lives and careers while also helping companies find the people they need to build the products that will drive the future.

What are the greatest challenges you face?

At present, I think it is the same challenge everyone is facing, getting new clients during this down economy. The challenge of continuing to evolve in an industry that is always evolving. Developing new strategies. Analyzing past strategies to see what has worked and what has not worked.

How did Saint Mary’s help prepare you for your career?

The Integral Program at Saint Mary’s helped give me the critical thinking skills that I need to be able to review contracts, view situations, and think outside of the box to resolve them. The Integral Program also taught me a lot about collaborating with people and communication. It taught me to really listen to people and decipher what is at the bottom of what they are trying to say, to help them find their “wants.”

Anything else you’d like to add about Saint Mary’s?

The size of the classrooms played a key role in the amount I was able to absorb, and the seminar style of the Integral Program really gave me the best place to practice what I was learning in order to constantly improve all the skills I was learning.

Learn more about the Integral Program here.