We sat down with Maloney, a member of Weatherhead’s MBA Class of 2007, to learn more about what his position as Director of Business Analytics and Operations Research & Supply Chain Master’s Programs actually entails and how students can best utilize him and the school's many resources to help them find a great internship or full-time position. When you walk into his office on the third floor of the Peter B. Lewis building, you notice that it is a bright space and, at least on this particular Friday morning that we met, is immaculate. In a neat array in the top lefthand corner of his desk, Matthew has business cards from recently made contacts or ones with whom he needs to follow up soon. Behind where I sat lives his infamous job board, a physical cork board with printed copies of recent job postings that he believes are good options for the students he works with every day.
As director of these two programs, the scope of his job seems broad and undefined. But, after sitting down with Maloney and getting input from some current students, three major job functions emerged: development of professional and networking skills for current students; maintaining and cultivating relationships with potential employers and alumni; connecting current students and the employer network for mutually beneficial job placement opportunities. To succeed, Maloney does many things well, but there is one thing he does very well, better than most: he is a master networker. I asked him if this was something he had to practice, or if it came naturally to him, he said, "yes and yes.” He can tell countless stories of how chance encounters at his daughter’s t-ball games, or an email about a birthday, or a trip down to a basketball game can yield connections and information that help put someone in touch with an employer. There is a natural charisma and empathy in him, coupled with a precise memory, that helps him make the most of each of these moments. What he also has working in his favor, in addition to his intimate knowledge of Weatherhead as an alumnus, is experience with many different companies from his previous career in business development. Just a few of the companies that came up during our conversation were IBM, L’Oreal, PayPal, Tesla, Parker Hannifin, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Eaton, Discover, CBIZ, and Nestlé.
As Maloney has continued in this role, it has evolved. He is now an integral part of the Six Sigma project, helping to get companies to participate, providing another great avenue of access for students. He also collaborates with admissions teams across the management school to help identify potential candidates and show how the opportunities available to students at Weatherhead make these programs top-notch. Maloney will be the first to tell you that students in Weatherhead’s programs are some of the best and brightest, and he makes sure employers know it too. The most impressive thing about what Maloney and the ORSC/Business Analytics programs have created is a talent feedback loop. He mentioned how employers are now coming back to work with Weatherhead students because their current or previous hires have been such successes.
Will Matthew Maloney hand you a job for you? Not exactly. But, he will be one of the best resources as you work to get that job yourself.
Based on our conversation, we distilled some of his lessons for students down to a few important tips. If you want all of his help and advice, go see him today (see tip 4).
Maloney's Tips for Success:
1) Search Early and Search Often
Each of these programs lasts for approximately one year, so starting the job search early is critical. One student, Charles Michel, MSM-ORSC '17, began his conversations with Maloney as soon as he was admitted. Maloney put him in touch with multiple corporate contacts and Michel said, "These contacts ended up forming the backbone of my summer internship search and I ultimately accepted a Demand Planning Intern position with MTD Products." Another student, Josalynn Clauson, MSM-ORSC '17, also said that Maloney's advice to start early with her target companies helped her successfully land a summer consulting internship with Entrepreneur's EDGE. She began her contact with EDGE in October and had secured the internship by January. Maloney also recommends creating a list of companies in which you're interested before you begin the program. For those new to the Cleveland area, he recommends looking into the NorthCoast 99 businesses as a place to start. He also recommends joining the exclusive ORSC, and hopefully soon-to-be Business Analytics, Alumni LinkedIn group to see where past students have had success. Finally, he strongly encourages students to go to career fairs as early as possible. These are a great place to see more employers in one sitting than you could hope to in an entire year.
2) Follow Up
This one comes from Maloney's personal playbook. Whenever he makes a new connection or reconnects, his follow-up is prompt and personal. He can quickly rattle off multiple stories of when someone used ineffective or inappropriate follow-up and their repercussions. He has even more stories about how the right follow-up at the right time has been the first step to successful job placement for many students, friends and former colleagues.
For some students, practicing the "softer" skills of networking, effective communication (written and verbal) and presenting are slightly overlooked. However, in Maloney's experience and based on feedback from employers, these skills can make or break the potential for future employment. Kyler Schoner, MSM-Business Analytics ‘17, said, "Matt taught me the value of relationships and interactions with people. While I improved my technical skills at Weatherhead, Matt made sure that I demonstrated to potential employers my ability to communicate information, explain my value, and interpret their goals and objectives. The interpersonal skills are truly half the battle when it comes to initiating a career." To give yourself every opportunity to practice, Maloney recommends participating in mock interviews, career fairs and every networking session available. Look not only to the Weatherhead CMO, but also to the university’s Career Services center for these events.
4) Meet with Matthew
Maloney said that once he knows you, “my connections are your connections.” But in order for him to be an advocate and a conduit, students need to help him connect faces with names. This harkens back to the first tip because the earlier you work with Maloney, the better. When students come meet with them, he encourages them to track employers, jobs, and progress in a spreadsheet, which he will review with you as often as you need. He can also help strategize for next steps and keep you up-to-date on new openings or connections that could be useful.
Know that once you meet with Matthew Maloney, you will have a connection for life, one that lasts long beyond your time at Weatherhead. If you are a prospective, admitted or current student and want to get in touch with Matthew, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in learning more about Weatherhead’s Business Analytics and Operations Research & Supply Chain Masters’ programs, you can contact Meredith Richardson, Admissions Manager at email@example.com.
Maloney with Cleveland Clinic Interns at ORSC graduation
Maloney with ORSC alumni at April 2016 alumni event