August 26, 2016

Intern report: Navigating a large financial institution

Stephen Humphries is a student in Weatherhead's MBA program.

As a first year MBA student, my goal was to find a summer internship opportunity where I could learn, grow and contribute, and one that would lead to a career change. Bank of America provided an opportunity to do just that.

In June, I joined Bank of America’s Operations MBA intern class of 2016. My role, as a business support manager, was to support, manage and improve business functions, processes and lines of business. In other words, I helped support the technology that supports the operations that supports the consumer brokerage banking business. I learned much from my project management team about change management, resource allocation and annual planning. We were encouraged to reach out; I found out first-hand that the Bank is filled with intelligent, talented people. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.


Some call Queen City the financial center of the South. Besides Bank of America, Charlotte is also home to Coca-Cola Bottling Co, Lowes, Duke Energy, Harris Teeter, Family Dollar and Nucor, to name a few. Even though Charlotte is nine hours away from Cleveland, both cities share some commonalities. Much like Cleveland, Charlotte is a small city with big town amenities – Panthers (NFL), Hornets (NBA), Knights (AAA-MLB), NASCAR Hall of Fame, eateries, breweries, bars and plenty to do during the day and night. Charlotte also has great golf courses, where I spent most weekends.

Since my background has heavily favored revenue generation, working on the back-end at a Fortune 50 institution was an eye-opening experience. My education from Weatherhead played a major role in my success this past summer. I utilized something from each core class taken in my first year; however, if it wasn’t for the support of the Career Management Office and the Weatherhead family (faculty/staff, alumni, current and former students), I wouldn’t have been able to navigate the Bank as well as I did. I highly encourage incoming students to continue to utilize the Weatherhead family as much as possible.

I look forward to returning to Cleveland and Weatherhead to continue to learn, grown and contribute.

August 23, 2016

Intern Report: Discovering a commitment to a consulting career

Anthony Manna is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

This summer I worked for a company called EDGE (Economic Development through Growing Enterprises). It is a nonprofit organization with the explicit goal of helping companies in Northeast Ohio grow so that they can help improve the local economy. Every summer, they pair up a few students from area universities with some of EDGE’s member companies that have a new business idea or market segment that they’d like to pursue. I was one of these students, and I got to work as an independent consultant for a materials science company called Terves. Terves specializes in nano-engineering (engineering at the molecular level), so I got to feed my interest in science along with my passion for entrepreneurship. Prior to beginning this internship, I was on the fence about whether consulting was really the career path I wanted to pursue, but now I am convinced that is what I’d like to do.

I absolutely loved my internship with EDGE. Being an independent consultant meant that, although I was hired through EDGE and was paid by EDGE, I acted as my own company and essentially, my own boss (albeit within the structures set by EDGE). Outside of meetings with other people, I got to choose when and where I worked, as long as I made sure I was getting my work done. I loved the autonomy and independence that came with this role, but my favorite part about it was the intellectual challenge that comes with being a consultant. I have absolutely no background in engineering, nor did I have any prior experience in the oil and gas industry. My project this summer was centered around a nano-engineered “proppant” technology that will be used in hydraulic fracturing, so it was definitely a challenge for me to get up to speed and understand what I was working on.

Along with my partner, I spent the first few weeks getting up to speed on the oil and gas industry, and understanding all the ins and outs of hydraulic fracturing. We did most of our initial research online, utilizing the wide variety of resources available to us as students at Case Western Reserve (it really is unbelievable how many databases you didn’t know we have access to). Then, we began calling professionals in the industry and interviewing them to learn from firsthand experience about the industry. In the last few weeks of the summer, we tied together everything we had learned and built an NPV model (Professor J.B. Silvers would be proud) that helped them calculate the value of their new product. We also conducted a number of strategic analyses on their company (Professor Simon Peck would be proud) to help make recommendations for how Terves should go about launching their new product. In the end, Terves was very pleased with the results of our work, and I am committed to starting my career in consulting going forward.

August 19, 2016

7 Career Tips Before You Start Grad School

Meenakshi Sharma is assistant dean of career and student affairs. Follow Weatherhead's Career Management Office on twitter @weatherheadcmo.

As we start putting final touches to our presentation for orientation for the Career Management Office, I am also putting myself in your shoes and trying to wonder what’s going through your mind. Some of you must have left your current job and pondering how you are going to survive the next two years without a paycheck. Some of you might be thinking about life in a new country/culture. I am going to keep this piece focused on topics related to your career. We understand that you spend a lot of time thinking about what type of positions, functions, industries and employers you might like to work for during your summer internship and upon graduation from the MBA/MS programs. That’s why you are pursuing these degrees, isn’t it? Well, let me tell you that it’s very common for students to lack focus and clear direction about the role, functional area or industry to target from a career search perspective. It’s very important for you to discover who you are and your interest in terms of industry, functions etc. Narrowing down distinct areas of interest is essential for you to have a successful internship and career search process. 

Someone recently asked me what tips/advice I will give to incoming students. I thought about an interview I did with Businessweek a few years ago and have compiled a list based on my experience and hearing from partners from other schools:
    1. Pre-orientation groundwork: We strongly advise students to familiarize themselves with as much of the online resources we provide as possible prior to arriving on campus. These resources include intranet resources, the school’s social and professional networking sites, student blogs, list of professional organizations in the area, etc. A certain degree of familiarity with the school’s specific systems and tools can help a lot during the fast-paced academic year.
    2. As most of the incoming students will be seeking internships for the following summer, it is necessary to have a solid foundation for your resume by the time you start the program, considering how quickly the career search process begins once you are here.
    3. Networking works: Speaking from experience, the majority of jobs are landed by networking effectively. The concept of networking can seem overwhelming, but developing a strategy and establishing a customized approach to one’s own strengths and weaknesses can help facilitate the process. For example, students can develop a structured networking plan that helps them figure out where they fit in and how they need to grow. Students who come from industry are also encouraged to maintain dialogue with senior executives at their current organizations to see what kinds of opportunities might open up after graduation.
    4. Students should prepare personal target lists of employers/companies and research their patterns of recent MBA employment. For example, a student who might be interested in capital markets sales and trading should evaluate options based on current market volatility and be prepared for a broader set of opportunities in the financial services industry.
    5. Market knowledge: Being up-to-date with what is happening in the business world is very important. In addition, you should be able to communicate your market knowledge to appropriate audiences, be it a general HR person or an industry expert. If you haven’t already, start reading The Wall Street Journal and other relevant business publications on a regular basis.
    6. International students: Research and try to understand legal and practical limitations of employment options in the U.S. prior to starting the program. For international students coming to the U.S. for the first time, it is also important to talk to current students and recent alumni to understand the job search process in the U.S., so that you can leverage your skills accordingly.
    7. Professional wardrobe: Having a smart, effective wardrobe will be very important throughout your business career, starting right here in school on day one. This goes for both business formal attire as well as business casual attire. Having a smart suit for interviews and appropriate clothes for various networking and related events is a must. Stay on the conservative side, the suit and related accessories are not meant to divert attention from you.
      Enough serious talk. Let me welcome you to two years of fun. You might question your sanity at times, but you’ll keep these two years with you for the rest of your life. The career search process is just that – a process that needs a lot of reflection and guidance. Think not just about the first job out of school, think about the path you’re about to set yourself upon. We’re here to help; will look forward to seeing you all smiling on the day of your graduation!