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Alum Juan Chavez-Valdes Banks on Success


West Windsor, N.J. - Juan Chavez-Valdes '08 (A.S. Business Administration, A.A.S. Business Management) will always remember the moment when he decided to take a bold career leap. While at TD Bank three years ago seeking assistance with his student loans, he inquired about job opportunities. Why not ask on the spot, he thought, since he was in the process of completing his bachelor's degree in Finance and Economics at Pace University.

The bank representative expressed interest and gave Chavez-Valdes an application. "I presented my resume and, the next thing I knew, I was called in for an interview. One thing led to another," he says.

In 2009 Chavez-Valdes started work as a bank teller at TD Bank (formerly Commerce) while still in school. Upon earning his bachelor's degree from Pace in 2010, he was promoted to customer service representative and this past spring landed a position as a financial services representative. With a flair for numbers and problem solving, he enjoys helping people with their banking needs.

"Most people know the basics about checking and savings accounts, bonds, loans, and interest rates, but there is a lot more to banking than meets the eye," Chavez-Valdes said. "Addressing people's specific needs is the toughest yet most exciting part of the job. Every situation is different. It is my job to find solutions that will suit each person's best interests."

Juan Chavez-Valdes ('08) returned to campus recently to talk to students about the banking industry and opportunities at TD Bank.

Upon arriving in the U.S. in 2005, Chavez-Valdes decided to enroll at Mercer, in part to shore up his English language skills. Estimating that he was about 80 percent fluent in English at the time, he made a lot of progress quickly and today is a fluent English speaker. "The ESL program at MCCC was one of my best choices," he readily admits.

That was only the beginning. Chavez-Valdes went on to excel in all his classes, earning Dean's List or President's List status every semester and graduating with high honors. He was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Chavez-Valdes is full of praise for MCCC faculty, especially Business Professors Laura Sosa and Framarz Khoushab, Communications Professor Alvyn Haywood and English Professor Fran Davidson. "Each of them played a key role in providing me with the fundamentals necessary for success at this early stage of my career," he said.

Thanks to his MCCC mentors, he found his transfer to Pace to be an easy one. "At Mercer, I acquired the necessary business acumen that the industry demands from professionals today," Chavez-Valdes said, adding that he received a generous transfer incentive award from Pace based upon his academic achievement at MCCC. "I felt I had a strong advantage when I took more advanced courses at Pace."

Chavez-Valdes also believes his academic background has set him on the road to success at TD Bank, which consistently ranks as one of the safest and strongest banks in North America. He recently returned to MCCC to talk to students about employment opportunities at TD and the banking industry in general.

He advises current students to make the most of their time at Mercer. "MCCC opens doors to great opportunities. Follow your dreams and strive toward what makes you happy," Chavez-Valdes said. "Try not to get comfortable. Be ambitious."

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