Students may feel their schooling will never end. Careers can seem far, far away. But graduation comes and preparing for careers really does pay off in the end. At least that’s what Keith Rose, a BYU-Idaho alumnus attests to.

“The technical questions in the interview that were a little bit difficult but from learning how to interview at BYU-Idaho and learning the technical aspect of cars I was able to answer the questions, obviously, good enough that they invited me to come work for them,” Rose said.

Rose works as a product engineer for Toyota Motor North America which is based near Dallas, Texas.

“I’ve always been a car guy, I’ve always liked cars,” Rose explained. His grandpa worked at a body shop during his career days and during retirement had a collection of model cars that lit the flame of fascination within Rose.

As a teenager he got his own car as soon as he could, a Volkswagen Bug. His little clunker apparently needed a lot of work. The car’s need for repair helped Rose realize he could learn to fix the problems himself. In high school he took an automotive class that just propelled him toward an automotive major in college.

“I wasn’t sure which college I was going to go to. I really wanted to give BYU-Idaho a shot,” Rose said.

He heard BYU-Idaho had an automotive program so he and his family stopped by to check it out.

They made sure to stop by the Mark Austin Building to see the program for themselves. He said there was a display case that caught his attention.

“I just remember reading about what different options and what the automotive program provided, like the different classes that were available,” Rose explained. “And when I saw all that was available for the automotive industry from this school, I knew right there that this was the place for me.”

Right then and there Rose said he felt at home. He didn’t look into any other schools or other programs.

BYU-Idaho has the largest automotive technology program in the country.

Rose said his major was perfect for him. At the time, it was called Automotive Technology Management.

“They had everything from electrical, to engine and diagnosis, transmission, drive line,” Rose said. The amount of things you learned was extensive.”

The program didn’t just teach him hands on skills. He had to learn how to research parts, items and solutions. He had to learn how to present and work with other people, all of which he said has benefited him in his career.

Rose landed his job at Toyota by working for a sub-contracting company first. The company was kind of like a help hot-line for technicians at Toyota. Rose rubbed shoulders with lots of people from Toyota and learned about beginning programs there and applied.

“I did whatever it took to really get in the door and learn what would be my next step to continue to move up,” Rose said.

He credits BYU-Idaho for helping him develop his resume. He said he thought his resume was pretty good and didn’t know if BYU-Idaho’s services could really help him that much. But the resume turned out much better with their help.

Rose also said he didn’t wait until his last semester to start preparing for his career. He started early on by refining his interview skills, working on his resume, working with professors and going on career expeditions.

One expedition he went on was to Los Angeles. “Most of the people we talked to were alumni,” Rose said. “To see the different opportunities that were down there was amazing.”

He kept in contact with people from that trip and those people helped him prepare for questions he would get asked when applying for a big-time job at Toyota. Clearly, all his preparation was worth it.