When Rommel Del Fierro (‘16) returned from his post as a sergeant in Afghanistan, he enrolled at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to start a new life. But when he found that he didn’t have a community as strong as what he had in the Marines, Rommel took matters into his own hands: he became the founding father of the Kappa Eta Chapter for the Sigma Nu Fraternity at UCSB.

Sigma Nu didn’t just provide brotherhood for Rommel and his classmates. When Rommel was graduating, he leveraged the fraternity’s alumni network, the Sigma Nu Mentor Network, to gain career advice that ultimately landed him a job as an analyst. The key? Learning to tell a story.

Advisor Daniel Kocen, an alumnus of the Lambda Omicron Chapter at UC Irvine, shared this key piece of advice with Rommel. Daniel realized that Rommel was doing all of the right things. “He just needed that extra little push from someone who’s been there in their career,” Daniel said, explaining how he talked with Rommel about how to convert his interest and passion for analytics into action and a shareable story in interviews.

Daniel suggested Rommel take his extracurricular passions a step further by applying transferrable career skills for a full-time job. For example, Rommel was involved in non-profit organization, and Daniel advised that Rommel apply his analytical skills to his work (such as by analyzing survey data from participants) to stand out to recruiters.

The lesson from Daniel served Rommel well. “He gave me the tools I needed to take it to the next level,” Rommel said. “He told me everyone could look at data, but the really talented people could tell stories through it.” After speaking to Daniel on the Sigma Nu Mentor Network, Rommel was able to take his suggestions and landed a job as a data analyst.

For his part, Daniel believes that utilizing this network is essential – it provides “warm” leads, with a vast majority of Sigma Nu brothers from all chapters willing to respond and help. “I just wish more people would take advantage of services like these.”