August 26, 2014

SVSU finance student Leecia Barnes accepts full-time job with Enterprise Holdings before graduation

As Leecia Barnes moved closer to graduating from high school in 2011, her parents regularly asked, “What’s the plan?”

Three years later, she’s close to completing that plan — graduating from Saginaw Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance — and already has found success in her next plan, well before most college students do.

Barnes, an intern at Enterprise Holdings since May, impressed her employers enough this summer that she was offered a full-time position at the parent company of several car rental businesses including Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

The Flint native will begin her role as a management trainee after she earns her SVSU degree in December.

“It’s been so great,” she said of the internship that turned into the promise of a full-time job.

Barnes worked at various Enterprise Holdings branches across the Great Lakes Bay Region as an intern this summer, largely assisting in customer service issues. One week, she was put in charge of the Midland branch while a manager was out of the office.

“They trained me up to the point where they could leave me in charge of the place,” she said. “That was cool.”

Her success professionally matches her upward trajectory academically.

When Barnes’ dancing coach recommended she attend SVSU after graduating from Beecher High School, Barnes enrolled at the Saginaw university and began classes in fall 2011 as a recipient of the President’s Scholarship.

Since, she’s also been active as a student outside of the classroom, working for the university’s Admissions office and joining both the institution’s Forte Dance Team — where she currently serves as captain — and the SVSU chapter of Delta Sigma Pi, an international business fraternity.

She credits SVSU’s finance program in part for helping prepare her for the professional world.

“Just listening to how the professors work with their own budgets, it’s helped me figure out how to grow my money and be responsible,” Barnes said.

Those SVSU classes also prepared her to answer her parents’ question — “What’s the plan?” — years in advance. Barnes, who one day intends to apply for graduate school programs in urban planning, hopes eventually to purchase and renovate abandoned buildings while improving struggling neighborhoods.

“I want to get to the point where I can buy (a building) with my own money, and just by listening to how the professors grow their own budgets, it’s helped me figure out how I can do that,” she said. “I want to be able to use that (education) to improve communities.

“What’s the plan? That’s the plan.”