Experience Excellence

at California State University, Chico here.

Economics is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions.
John Maynard Keynes

Chico Economics Graduate Careers - Marketing/ Recruiting

karen bajzaKaren Bajza

Karen Bajza, who graduated with a BA in Economics with a concentration in International and her BA in Communication and Public Affairs in 2011, works in community marketing with Docker, Inc. in San Francisco, California.  “Docker is the world’s leading software container platform,” according to their LinkedIn site.  While at Chico State Karen was active in Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society, and Lambda Pi Eta, the national communication studies honor society.  She was also treasurer of the Judicial Affairs Council and she was a member of the track and field team.  In 2008 Karen co-founded R’s Inc, a magazine recycling business in Chico and she volunteered as a dialogue facilitator with Threshold 2008 in San Mateo, California, a group advocating more housing choices.  She did all of this while on the Dean’s list.

During her senior year Karen took a job as a development and marketing associate with the International Trade Education Programs, Inc. in Los Angeles, California, and she continued working with them for almost 2 years. In late 2012 Karen took a job as fundraising and partnership manager with BDI Development Group in Los Angeles. In 2015 Karen moved on to Docker, Inc where she is now working in community marketing.

Karen has considerable experience as a volunteer.  In June of 2012 she volunteered with Lambda Legal, a group that pursues civil rights and social action.  In December 2012 Karen began a 4 month campaign as field manager for a candidate who ran for West Hollywood City Council.  In September of 2013 Karen volunteered with LA Pride Team 45 to help produce special events.  (Last Updated 10/6/17)


Rachel CoulsonRachel Coulson

Rachel Coulson graduated in 2013. She is an account manager at Point of View Communications, an advertising, public relations and integrated marketing firm in Valencia, CA. She works very closely with the President/CEO as her executive assistant and is directly responsible for producing content on four client accounts, all of which are based on economic analysis. She ghostwrites a monthly feature article in the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal for an independent community bank, tracks advertising ROI in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Business Journals and researches FDIC reports for list rankings in various publications. She also develops and implements promotion and publicity campaigns for a nonprofit health organization, CPA firms and the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation. Rachel said that “Studying economics helped me gain an intuitive understanding of how my clients respective industries interact with their various consumers, as well as how to clearly articulate complex information in writing.”


Kazuko HiramatsuKazuko Hiramatsu

Kazuko Hiramatsu began her career with Mazda immediately after her graduation in 2002. She worked in marketing for Mazda in their Japanese headquarters for several years before transferring to the automaker’s German office. In 2012 she returned to Japan where she enjoyed her position at the European department of Mazda’s headquarters. In Kazuko’s last project before her maternity leave, she managed the donation of 117 cars from Mazda to the Republic of Serbia. Her daughter was born in December 2014, and Kazuko plans to return from maternity leave in April 2016. “I am not sure which position I will get after the maternity leave, but I hope it will be something challenging that will allow me to apply the tools of economics that I learned at Chico State.”

“I miss Chico -even my parents miss Chico!- and I really hope I can visit there near future,” she added in a recent email.”


Michael KarpMichael Karp

Michael Karp, who completed his BA with honors in Economics in 2014, runs a startup company, Copytactics where he works with firms to increase their web traffic and market their products.  During his the first semester of his senior year at Chico State Michael worked as a research assistant for the CSU Chico Center for Economic Development.  During the second semester of his senior year he worked as a features columnist for The Orion, Chico State’s student newspaper. 

"After graduating in the spring of 2014, I spent four months learning how to build an online business so I could travel the world. I started off freelance writing, but quickly transitioned into becoming a digital marketing consultant,” Michael stated in a recent email.

“I launched Copytactics.com, my digital marketing blog and the online home of my business, in November of 2014. I then emailed over 150 marketing agencies to pitch my services. Three agreed to work with me, and I was off to the races."

My economics background has helped me think strategically about my business and how I help my clients grow theirs. The research papers also helped me become a strong writer, which helped tremendously in a digital marketing world where content reigns supreme.

Here are a few of the pieces I've written, to give you an idea of what I do for my clients:

Cost Effective SEO: How I Drove 34,000 Search Engine Visits in 60 Days (For Free)

21 Strategies to Drive More Free Website Traffic Today

Viral List Building Case Study: How One Blog Gained 3,200 Subscribers in 7 Days

I also published a 180-page ebook that teaches people how to do what I do for my clients. It's called The Content Marketing Guidebook.  It's my first digital product, and as I grow my business in 2016, I'm planning to launch more of these products in the form of ebooks and online courses.

My econ degree gave me the foundation I needed to be confident starting my own business. It has helped me think like a business person and put those thoughts into action to achieve real world results."


brian krachtBrian Kracht

Brian Kracht, who graduated in 1996 with a BA in Economics, is an event donations manager at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico.  After graduation Brian took a job in sales with Southern Wines and Spirits in the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked from 1998 to 2001. In 2004 he accepted a position with Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chico where he is currently working.  He began working as a bartender with Sierra and moved on to tour guide, warehouseman, and currently works as a donations manager.  Brian works with a team that focuses on field marketing and event sponsorship in Northern California.  As a donations manager he works closely with non-profits to help then realize their fundraising goals through product donations from the Brewery, all while making sure Sierra is in compliance with CA Alcohol Beverage laws.   

“My economics degree helps me gather the correct information that I need to properly evaluate the next steps while multi-tasking in a fast pace environment,” Brian stated in a recent email.  “Sometimes you have to think on the fly when situations arise in the event world and my economics degree helps me to determine the best way to move forward.  Identifying the cause helps lead you to the solution, just like in economics.”  (Last Updated 10/4/17)


Elissa RaigosaElissa Raigosa

Elissa Raigosa graduated in 2011 with a BA in Economics and an option in International Economics. She works at 5.11 tactical, an internationally distributed apparel company that outfits law, military and first responders at their design development headquarters in Irvine California. 5.11 Tactical, the leader in the tactical industry, has been ranked on 500.Inc in top privately held companies for revenue growth. In her role as project manager within the marketing department, Elissa works with many teams in their domestic and international offices, bringing campaigns, promotions and all collateral to their distributers and sales team through various mediums. 

In a recent email she stated that “My background in economics has been instrumental in aggregating all our marketing metrics through our various platforms. I analyze our key performance indicators with recommendations on future investments where we are seeing a high return on investment in relation to our initial marketing and sales goals from each quarter.”

Elissa added that “Having a background in economics has been extremely beneficial in helping me understand the various methods of reviewing data sets, as well as my apperception of business models that are essential in being a successful leader in the competitive landscape of the apparel industry. I will continue building on the analytical foundation my economics degree helped set and apply it in the continued growth of my career.”


George RichardGeorge Richard

George Richard, who graduated with a BA in Economics in 1987, is vice president of sales and Marketing for Zolt and GAR Solutions in San Jose, California. Over the years George has worked in the technology field with domestic and international firms that produce games and other “high tech” products.

After graduation George signed on as account manager for Activision where he worked for 4 years until moving to Capcom, Santa Clara, California, as their national sales manager. In 1995 he accepted a position as vice president of sales with Psygnosis in Foster City, California, and in Liverpool, United Kingdom. In 1997 George moved to Acclaim Entertainment in Oyster Bay, NY, as western director of sales. In 2000 George accepted a position as regional sales manager for Sony Computer Entertainment America where he continued working until 2007 when he became vice president of sales, marketing and digital distribution for Konami Digital Entertainment in El Segundo, California and Tokyo, Japan. After 6 years with Konami, George joined GAR Solutions, and later, Zolt where he is currently working.

George uses the skills he learned in his economics courses at Chico State every day when he forecasts revenue and cost for the various products that his firms launch and when he designs processes for reporting data.


Dustin TruesdellDustin Truesdell

Dustin Truesdell, who graduated with a BA in Economics in 2005, played A-Rod in the Moneyball movie in 2010.  He is a consultant at Green World Services  in Lake Forest, California, and marketing manager for The Michael Alan Group in New York City. 

Justin acted in the following movies:

Silicon Valley (2014): Venture Capitalist
Looking (2013): Dom's friend 
Moneyball (2011): Alex Rodriquez
Contagion (2011): Extra

As manager of The Michael Alan Group, where he has worked since 2012, Dustin oversees some of the “headline-grabbing publicity stunts” that the firm produces for its clients.  For example, as part of a viral marketing campaign, Dustin coordinated a team of actors to protest EA Sports game Dante's Inferno.

At Green World Services he works with “industry leaders to implement facilities that utilize municipal solid waste to produce clean fuels and renewable chemicals.”


Christina Van BuskirkChristina Van Buskirk

Christina Van Buskirk graduated with a BA in International Economics and received the Outstanding International Economics Student Award in 2009. Since 2011 she has been a senior recruiter for Paradigm Staffing , a recruiting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in connecting communications professionals with employers in both domestic and international locations.

While at Chico State Christina was on the Dean’s List every semester and she still found time to be vice-president of the Chico State Economics Club, and a founding member of STOP (anti human trafficking club) and the Chico State Sailing Club.

During her senior year at Chico State Christina interned with the Silicon Valley Center for International Trade Development (SVCITD), a non-profit located in San Jose, California that helps small and medium size businesses expand their international trade. As an intern she edited grant applications, wrote articles for their newsletter, and conducted market research.

After Christina graduated she accepted a position in customer relations with Praxis EMR where she served as translator and liaison between international clients and internal technicians.


Jessica ZotzJessica Zotz

Jessica Zotz graduated in 2010 with a bachelor's in economics. She is project manager at GAP Specialty, NA, where she is responsible for managing multiple cross functional projects and initiatives. Her role encompasses all product related tasks from a store execution perspective and she serves as a liaison between headquarters and field business partners, working closely with Gap's field communications team. She began her career with Gap working at the local Chico store while she was an undergraduate.

Jessica stated that, “My education in economics at Chico State gave me the foundational building blocks to expand upon my problem solving skills in a way that enables me to think and work outside the box but within the blue box that is Gap. Expanding upon the skill set garnered at Chico State, my educational experiences at the University of New Mexico further built out my understanding of consumer duality theory and the appropriate application of such theories in a business environment. Additionally, I was able to fine tune my quantitative and analytical skills through econometric modeling and analysis, providing my team with a specialized niche skill set, previously under represented.