The Crosby MBA program strongly believes in providing opportunities for and encouraging students to enhance their professional development during their time at Mizzou. Some of those opportunities include pursuing entrepreneurship projects, participating in study abroad experiences, earning professional certificates, attending national career conferences, and doing company site visits. Because of generous donor support, we are often able to help provide partial scholarships to help students with the cost of these professional development opportunities.
In October, two groups of students received scholarships to help with the cost of attending company site visits in Chicago and Dallas, where they were able to interact with recruiters, speak with Crosby MBA alumni and be immersed in the company culture of some of the most sought-after businesses globally. Shraddha Hegde, a first-year student pursuing a concentration in Marketing Analytics, speaks to her experience on the Chicago trip where she visited Clarity Insights and FCB Chicago. Additionally, Elise Watson, a dual MBA and MA in Journalism student, discusses her time visiting with representatives of AT&T, Southwest Airlines and E&J Gallo in Dallas.
Fall 2017 Chicago site visit – A day with leading analytics consultants and marketing pioneers
The Crosby MBA program frequently provides opportunities for corporate site visits along with the business lunch and learns that help potential recruiters understand our capabilities and hire talented individuals. Our trip to Chicago provided us with great exposure to business leaders and allowed us to better understand each company’s culture.
The first company that we visited was Clarity Insights, one of the largest big data solutions consulting firm in the United States. It was recently named by Forrester research as a leader in customer analytics for Q3 2017. Clarity Insights’ employees gave us a warm welcome and had an elaborate schedule planned for us. They had two panel discussions – one concentrated on analytics and the other on consulting methodologies that helped us gain better insights into the company’s key businesses and functions. We were then split into groups and given a case to analyze and provide recommendations using agile methodology. I found this interpersonal interaction especially insightful as it introduced us to a new business framework used by consultants and also pushed our boundaries to come up with solutions that could be executed given the budget constraints. My team and I presented our findings in front of a panel and company executives. Perhaps most exciting of all, we won the challenge. We then had a final briefing by the HR team about the existing career opportunities with Clarity Insights, and received details about the application and recruitment process for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.
The next site visit was to the Chicago arm of one of the largest global advertising agencies – FCB Chicago.
FCB Chicago is a pioneer in modern day marketing and has an impressive list of clients including Coca-Cola, Nestle, ABInbev and Jack Daniels among many others. We were welcomed by FCB Chicago’s in-house coffee shop that allowed us to network with the HR team in an informal fashion. A panel was set up for our visit that consisted of department heads from the social media, analytics, big data and digital marketing teams. We had a great Q&A session that helped us understand past projects completed by FCB Chicago and its impact on brand engagement and consumer perception. The site visit concluded with the hiring manager letting us know what it is that they look for in candidates and left us with some tips on how we could help our applications standout.
The Business Career Services team at Mizzou arranged for an informal networking event with Mizzou alumni based in Chicago at a picturesque restaurant next to the Chicago river. It was a great opportunity to know more about our alumni’s career journeys and current job responsibilities. They had some great advice for us regarding course choices and application guidelines that helped them land their first job offer post-MBA. The day ended with a visit to Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria for Chicago’s famous Deep-dish pizzas and some downtown shopping.
Shraddha Hegde is a first-year MBA Marketing Analytics student and currently serves as the Digital Director of the MBA Association and the First-year representative for the Mizzou Analytics Society. She recently represented the Trulaske College of Business in the MBA Business Case competition by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Her career goal is to work on analytics roles that help forecast marketing campaign reach and improve customer response by efficient targeting. When reflecting on her decision to join the Crosby MBA program, she said the following: “The exposure received to real life business scenarios and projects at the Trulaske School of Business is truly unique and has helped add value to my existing skill set in a short span of time. The faculty members are closely involved in the growth of their students and encourage students to look beyond classroom learnings to gain a holistic view on business functions and current economic trends.”
Fall 2017 Site Visit to Dallas – A deep dive into employee culture and innovations at two major corporations
As I prepare to leave the Crosby MBA program and continue on in my professional life, I am astounded by the wealth of possibilities that lie in the job market today. While job descriptions provide insight into the tasks and challenges that may lie ahead in certain roles, it is much more challenging to gain a sense of a company’s culture simply through their online presence. Sure, there are videos, testimonials, and interactive features among other elements that try to make the work environment come to life on the screen; however, it does not replace the feeling of standing in the facility itself, surrounded by the buzz of employees discussing projects and their plans for that weekend. When I was made aware that the Crosby MBA program was hosting a site visit to Dallas, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only would I have the experience of interacting with individuals who work for some top-ranking companies for their respective industries, but also I would gain time networking with alumni who once stood in my shoes. Reflecting now upon the trip, it certainly did not disappoint and I left feeling invigorated at the potential futures I could lead.
We began our day at AT&T, which is headquartered in Dallas, where we were greeted by Mizzou alumna and recruiter, Becky Parson. Even though we were many miles away from Columbia, the Mizzou alumni that were trickled throughout the massive 37+ story building chanted “MIZ” after seeing our MU Crosby MBA polos. After a short time of eating breakfast and networking, we were blessed with the opportunity to hear from four Mizzou alumni, two of whom had graduated from the Crosby MBA program. Jonathan Jarvis, Adam Crossett, Christine Mathews, and Jamie Barton spent time with our group participating in a panel. They answered the many questions that our students had about the world of technology and their experiences at AT&T, and left us with words of advice as we embark on our professional journeys. We were then escorted down to the Technology Innovation Center, where we learned about how the world of communications were evolving and how AT&T was on the cutting edge of these developments. We completed our time with a tour throughout the various work spaces of the building, where they had used data-driven knowledge to develop various areas that best fit the needs of their different departments. AT&T is a massive company, but this visit made it clear to me how much they value their 280,000+ employees. They invest in their futures, and are continually seeking ways to improve the company. Having the opportunity to speak with former Tigers within the confines of their work environment was invaluable, and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.
We then traversed across town to Southwest Airlines, where we met with recruiter, James Gladney, and Mizzou alumna, Niki Harris. Our students learned about the amazing internship and full-time opportunities this company has to offer. However, what really had an impact on me was the importance they place in the people of the company. It is no secret that Southwest is well-known for its work-life balance. Yet, as we walked throughout the building, we were able to see ways in which they invest in that culture. For instance, we visited the weekend before Halloween. Gladney told us that the company spent two days relishing in the excitement of Halloween, one in which their CEO becomes very involved. Teams across the company had been planning their costumes for months; Top executives from Southwest always collaborated to dress up as a renowned group, such as the “Founding Fathers.” Then, the festivities would begin, including events like skits and award presentations. Yet, Southwest doesn’t only celebrate its employees on holidays. They also hold “deck parties” each Monday where employees are able to mingle and network, and get to know each other on a more personal level. It was reinforced through this site visit and tour that making the workplace fun is essential to enjoying your career.
We finished the day with a Happy Hour event hosted by Crosby MBA almuna, Jen Landis of E&J Gallo. Amidst appetizers and a glass of wine, we were able to meet with alumni in the Dallas area and speak with our colleagues that we perhaps had not yet had class with. The Crosby MBA program has a great support system across the nation filled with passionate and kind people who care about your success. This site visit made me take a step back and relish in the amazing community that I have been blessed to be a part of, and look forward to the day when I can serve as an alumna and mentor students.
Elise Watson is in her final year of the program completing her MBA and MA in Journalism with a concentration in Strategic Communications Management. She works as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Crosby MBA office helping coordinate social media and strategic content efforts, and as a part-time campaign assistant at Coegi.