Spending three days at Prudential Immersion Bootcamps was an eye-opener for William Mudlaff, a sophomore majoring in finance.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to apply my Excel knowledge to a large data set,” Mudlaff said. “I came into the program with a background in Excel from OPIM 3103, but had never had the opportunity to work with data sets larger than roughly 100 rows. Working with a spreadsheet with over 2,500 rows gave me an insight into the power of Excel. This was fascinating, especially because I am pursuing a minor in analytics.”
But in addition to his technical skills, Mudlaff said he took away more from the experience than he expected.
“While the Excel skills I gained will definitely be helpful in my career, I think that the opportunity to practice working on a presentation with a team is far and away the most valuable skill I came away with,” he said. “In the workplace, presenting skills are crucial, and the ability to not only present, but present as a part of a team, is something that has resonated with every potential employer I’ve spoken with.”
Mudlaff said he is hoping to pursue a career on Wall Street.
“The ability to visit Prudential’s offices and work with the same kind of data their employees do was something I found very unique,” he said. “While you undoubtedly learn a lot of great, essential concepts and skills in the classroom at UConn, nothing can compare to the experience of working in a professional environment.”
Students Want to Showcase Abilities
The School of Business partnered with Prudential several years ago to help second-year students confirm their major, enhance their confidence, learn about the retirement industry, and gain new mentors. The three bootcamp sessions include a case study competition, software skill development and mentoring.
“Students are craving intentional experiences that will shape and confirm their professional goals and provide a way to showcase their abilities in the workplace,” said organizer Kelly Kennedy, who is the Associate Director of Student Development and Outreach at the School of Business. “This type of skill-building Bootcamp can also demonstrate the synergy between their academics and skills leading to reaching their professional goals. Prudential, and our alumni, invest tremendous time and energy into our students and the experience has been beneficial for both.”
Finance major Rita Tsafack-Tonleu, a sophomore, said her favorite aspect of the program was the networking and meeting Prudential staff members who were genuinely interested in the students. One of the key lessons she learned was that it is important to identify your weaknesses and not be reluctant to seek help in overcoming them.
“We worked on a real issue Prudential dealt with, the work we did actually mattered,” she said. “It’s a feeling that’s hard to achieve on a classroom setting.”