Last year, Anna Mecca ’22 began the Real Whirled Sales Development Program at Whirlpool, a multi-week immersion training experience that would prepare her for her a role in the company that would see her working with several teams.
As an intern, Anna was assigned to work with the Sales Execution Team on the Real Whirled Training Continuous Improvement Project. The main responsibility was discovering, creating, and implementing a new process for better delivery of training content to Sales Execution Representatives. While working on this project, her main goal was delivering training content in “digestible pieces” while elevating SER readiness and confidence in the market. She was able to make a lasting impact in the company, as her new approach maps out a two-part strategy that is applied over the course of 8 weeks, focusing on learning, enhancing, and applying knowledge obtained.
Aside from this main project, she was also a participant in the INNOVA Competition, a 3-day shark tank style competition where she worked with a team of 7 other interns to produce innovation that addresses sustainability and water waste in the home and laundry space. One of her biggest takeaways from this work was the importance of challenging oneself beyond the scope of project objectives. “Take ownership of your hard work and lay it all on the line,” she says, “it’s important to take risks and step outside your comfort zone to truly show your company what you are capable of.”
Anna worked cross functionally with the Sales Execution Team, Sales Execution Representatives, Channel Leads, Sales District Managers, and Field Merchandising Managers, exposing her to many people within Whirlpool Corporation. She speaks highly of her team, mentioning how supportive they were, exemplifying a positive company culture despite a remote work environment. With activities like virtual lunch and learns, coffee breaks, and other team bonding experiences, she was able to stay connected and engaged.
As for students looking for internships or full-time positions, Anna has several pieces of advice. First, “network, network, network!” Especially in a large company like Whirlpool, making connections is so valuable for future career aspirations. Next, she emphasized the importance of confidence and being aware that there is always a learning curve that comes with new experiences, “Be confident in yourself, landing the internship was the hardest part of the process, during it trust your experiences and be your true self!”
Mitchell van der Noll is a senior Marketing major with an interest in sports and entertainment. This past summer, Mitchell interned at City Football Group, the owner of football-related businesses in major cities around the world, including Manchester City Football Club and New York City Football Club.
As a Partnerships Intern, Mitchell assisted his supervisor in reaching out to new partnership prospects and establishing connections. He would research companies and brands leading up to their meetings with his supervisor, and used this information to help in creating outreach emails to further establish a knowledge base on potential partnerships. Major projects are where he feels he learned the most, as himself and another intern went through the full process of researching 2 companies, Logitech G and Airbnb. Their research culminated in a presentation on CFG and partnership activations between themselves and other brands, given in the form of a roleplay to everyone on their team who gave them constructive feedback to help them in similar settings moving forward.
Mitchell worked with about 10 people regularly in his position, collaborating closely with his supervisor, the department head, and the Director, Partnership Sales. The team covered all the responsibilities associated with partnerships and sports, with tasks ranging from current partnership activations to social media and event marketing. Mitchell found himself welcomed in quickly, and found the team to be ambitious and passionate for what they do.
One of the biggest takeaways from Mitchell’s position was recognizing the value in asking for feedback and advice. Throughout his projects, there were times where he was unsure of next steps, but through connecting with his colleagues he was able to stay on track, and learned more in the process.
Outreach and networking were key factors in Mitchell securing this position, and he emphasizes the value of reaching out to people at brands you are interested in working for directly. “Completing an application is great, but it doesn’t establish a personal connection,” he says, “To anyone looking for an internship or job, consider finding someone in your department of interest and sending a short introductory email. It might lead to something more, and it might not, but if you don’t try, you’ll never find out.”
Katherine Maroney ’16 is now a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Enterprise Holdings, but she attributes her successful transition from undergrad to professional life to her time at UConn. She encourages students to get involved, whether that be in organizations that directly relate to your major or not. Katherine was involved in both a sales, marketing, and management fraternity as well as other clubs that helped her build skills in communication and leadership.
As for her path to her current role with Enterprise Holdings, she was first exposed to the company at the UConn career fair. She met with a representative that had graduated from UConn and within a year and a half with the company, was running her own store and driving a company car. As a senior, Katherine wasn’t sure exactly what type of career she wanted to pursue and was attracted to Enterprise because of the options that they had, allowing her to learn every aspect of a business and move her career forward based on what part interested her most.
In her current role, Katherine acts as a business partner to the hiring managers of Enterprise’s rental divisions and departments. She recruits and hires for Enterprise, National, and Alamo locations across three states, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Western Massachusetts, using reporting to assist hiring managers in determining staffing needs. In addition to this she attends career fairs and networking events on college campuses to recruit students for management and sales trainee programs, staff accountant roles, and auto detailer opportunities. Aside from recruiting and interviewing, she also coaches managers and employees on best interview practices, providing support for external applicants or interviews for promotions.
For undergraduate students looking for summer internships or full-time roles, Katherine advises them to get in front of as many employers as you can. “The more employers you include in your search, the more you can learn about exciting career opportunities you never knew existed,” she says, “the more you participate in career fairs and networking events the more comfortable you will become.” Follow up and engagement with different employers can set you apart from other students that are applying for the same roles, helping you secure that dream position.
Reflecting from March 21, the global order is much changed. Three weeks ago, Putin did the unthinkable and invaded Ukraine. He justified it as a defensive act to protect Russia from NATO and liberate people of Russian descent who are “trapped” in Ukraine. His justifications have been dismissed by the world community and seem to be increasingly challenged among Russians. He has driven the NATO nations together and focused them on supporting Ukraine. The people of Ukraine have united in vigorous defense of their nation, with unexpected success.
As the dean of a business school, I am particularly struck by the importance of leadership in this conflict, by the power of commitment and community, by global interdependence and by the role of the supply chain in supporting initiatives.
Ukraine’s President Zelensky has emerged as a remarkable, inspirational leader. His early words ring out: “I need ammunition, not a ride,’’ he responded when offered assistance in escape to personal safety. Early predictions of Russian dominance, based on the assembled forces and weaponry, and Putin’s history in Crimea and elsewhere, have needed constant revision. Zelensky has been a powerful image on the world stage. He reflects the bravery and determination of the Ukrainian people and has also focused their energy and channeled their courage. Zelensky has been in the streets in Ukraine and in the halls of government worldwide, consistently communicating the Ukrainian commitment to self-rule, their willingness to die for their country, and their need for support from the world community.
President Putin has emerged as an isolated powermonger with an inflated image of Russian power and his own invincibility. His control of the Russian media continues to limit the awareness of people in Russia to the actions in Ukraine. Nonetheless, protests in Russia against the war belie his efforts to frame it as a humanitarian mission. Desertions by Russian soldiers, who say they did not know why they were in Ukraine killing civilians and inflicting massive destruction, underscore his leadership failure. It may be that his decision to invade and his failure to succeed on his timetable were due to massively inaccurate feedback from his subordinates and advisors. It appears that he overestimated the readiness of his forces and underestimated the strength and commitment of the Ukrainian people¬—additional indicators of ineffective leadership.
Commitment and Community
As the dean of a business school, I have my own lens on these moments: our students. Speaking with four Ukrainian students at UConn has afforded me a new, more personal perspective. These four students share a pattern of immigration to the U.S., while cherishing their Ukrainian roots: language, culture and family. They talk regularly with family still in Ukraine, hoping they are alive, and knowing they are suffering. One of our students shared that her grandmother was wearing four pairs of pants to remain warm in a basement in a city without heat and power. It makes the suffering excruciatingly real. This human spirit unites the Ukrainian people. They are a family. They would die for each other and, sadly, they are dying for each other.
Worldwide, people are sharing their pain. Poland has welcomed some 1.5 million refugees. Another 1.5 million have found other homes. The world is opening doors for the refugees and provided resources for their defense. Providing financial aid is not surprising, but the size and broad sourcing of that support expands the notion of a community of nations. The efforts to find ways to deliver high-tech defensive weapons goes beyond the financial. Veterans from many countries are converging on Ukraine to join the defense. They are from all corners of the world, ranging from Afghanistan to the USA.
Ukrainian suffering and Putin’s flaunting of international law have created an unexpected and compelling unity among nations. He who sought to weaken NATO, has ultimately strengthened it. He who doubted the possibility of collaboration among nations is facing a united force taking action. Trade restrictions are understood as a normal course. But these sanctions are massive, coordinated, and aligned among nations. Three weeks ago, closing off international banking was not seriously expected because it required complex agreements. It is now in place and is only one example of fast, powerful and unprecedented collective action. The United Nations just held its first emergency session since 1982, reprimanding Russia and directing its military to cease fighting and withdraw. Out of 193 members, 141 deplored Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, with 35 members abstaining.
The current sanctions have raised awareness. For example, most aircraft flown by Russian airlines are rented, with ownership in the hands of western companies. The massive disruption in the value of the ruble and restrictions on currency flows imperil corporate Russia’s ability to pay their bills. Some global owners of aircraft will lose in this instance, but their losses pale beside the losses and human suffering in Ukraine.
Equally unexpected was the action by many global companies to withdraw from the Russian economy. Many believe that the corporate world is “profits first and profits only,” but the actions of many to withdraw their services from Russia belie that conventional wisdom. It is hard to know if it is simply a principles-based decision to do the right thing; or is it a risk- minimizing decision driven by fear of corporate Russia’s illiquidity and her unreliability in a world-wide, rule-of-law environment?
As a business school we are interested in supply chains, and it is instructive to realize that Russia has overreached. Russia has supply chain problems. In Ukraine, the Russian military don’t have fuel where needed. They don’t have enough food for their soldiers. Some speculate they don’t have enough cigarettes or vodka. Such deficits are leadership breakdowns. Russian troops are not committed to their mission. Troops were told they will be welcomed as liberators and instead face unrelenting resistance. Russia has under-performed and morale is crumbling. Strategists disagree on the core reasons. Some suggest that the 20-mile parade of weaponry was under-supported and doomed from the start.
The last decades have been years of enormous global growth. Measured by human longevity, violence, educational opportunity, etc., the progress is real, although it has been accompanied by growing economic gaps between the richest and poorest. Putin’s war underscores the interrelated nature of economic activity worldwide. His country is a classic example of the disparity between rich and poor, where he and his oligarchs have extracted huge wealth from their country. Worldwide prosperity is built on the rule of law and global engagement. We are witnessing how a rogue nation can disrupt those relationships, but also how a common enemy, in conjunction with the inspirational leader of Ukraine, has galvanized the power of the global economy.
We stand at a moment in history.
UConn has long been focused on human rights; and the Business School proudly supports a Business and Human Rights Initiative. Our University-wide focus on Human Rights grew out of the Nuremberg Trials of war criminals. There are war crimes underway in Ukraine. We must, and will, engage in these issues through our teaching, our research, and our actions.
As we unite as a world to resolve this crisis, we must also engage to improve our collective future. Within the business school we are focused on efficient allocation of resources, but also on how leaders can make a difference, how teams can be more effective, and how individuals can be motivated and supported to reach their highest potential. The traditional business topics remain relevant, but today’s classrooms are richer for the attention to technology, to coding, to branding, to social media. The list is long. We focus also on CSR (corporate social responsibility), ESG (environmental, social, and governance) issues, and the UN’s Global Compact. These and other world views are inspiring our current students, their future employers, and the future companies these students will launch. My sincere hope is that they will build a more peaceful world with less war, brutality, destruction, and fear.
YayCork – A three-part International Women Entrepreneurs and Leaders Webinar Series will take place on Wednesday, March 9th, March 16th and March 23rd (1pm-2pm Irish time, 8am-9am Boston USA time), showcasing women entrepreneurs and leaders who build and scale businesses in an international setting.
WalletHub – Q + A Do people consider property taxes when deciding where to move? Should they?
People looking to buy homes in a community absolutely do consider the property tax rate. The property tax rate (in most cases) is a representation of the level of public services available in the community. If households are considering some seemingly similar suburban municipalities, a differentiating feature may be the level of services.
WalletHub – Is there a difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
Credit card debt can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most credit card debt is unsecured debt, which means that it is given low priority when the purpose of bankruptcy is for reorganization, such as a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
After a decade or so of study, of listening to our students and corporate friends, we launched our new, fully online MBA program in Fall 2021. Our experience with COVID and with this new program has led us to fully rethink our MBA programs. Our new approach is captured in the phrase: MBA Your Way. It places the learner, the student, at the center of the experience and properly grants the student enormous flexibility in selecting how to earn the degree.
The easiest way to envision the change is to realize that there were previously three programs and, once a person engaged in one program (Online, Part-Time or Full Time), it was hard to take courses in the other programs. We are removing the artificial barriers between those programs. We are in the process of modifying the UConn course catalog and admissions materials to reflect this, but operationally it is effective now.
Course modality no longer matters. Accounting, taught face-to-face or online, daytime or nighttime, synchronous or asynchronous, is still accounting. Students must still have proper preparation, but how they prefer to learn is up to them.
Many of our students are adult learners who must blend work and study. They sometimes prefer face-to-face learning and sometimes need the flexibility of online or mixed mode delivery. We want them to be free to integrate their learning into their lives. Thus, we will often offer the same content in multiple formats.
It is also true that some content is well suited to a traditional 15-week semester with two classes each week. Other content is well suited to three-hour sessions on consecutive days. MBA Your Way is constructed to make offering such options easy and transparent.
We will be holding open sessions to discuss these changes and updating our website to communicate about them, including frequently asked questions. One question which has emerged already is: what about existing students in the current two-year, full-time MBA program? We will continue to offer the courses and opportunities that our existing students expect and need to complete their degrees. They will be fully served, while we re-shape the UConn MBA for maximum flexibility going forward.