Jordyn Mihok

Alumni Spotlight: Hannah Sugrue ’20: Enterprise Account Manager at Dell EMC

Hannah Sugrue‘s summer internship with Dell turned into the start of a career in sales with one of the largest tech companies in the world.

From an outsider perspective, tech sales is assumed to be a more male-dominated industry, but through her internship Hannah found that almost all of the leaders she met were women, something that still holds true today two years later. As a rising senior, seeing those women succeeding and leading inspired her to take a full-time role.

Hannah has a set of steps to consider when it comes to ensuring a successful start to your professional career while you are still completing your undergraduate program. First, she emphasizes the importance of listening, using the resources available in the School of Business and connecting with your professors. Additionally, learning is important, going out of your comfort zone to find a new area that sparks your interest. Finally, she says, “Lean in, when it comes to a job search, you get back what you put in, so raise your hand and get involved, do your research, attend a networking event, and get engaged.”

In Hannah’s current role as an Enterprise Account Manager, she can enjoy flexibility, with the ability to work from home, maintaining a work-life balance that works for her. She works with several field teams based in New York and New Jersey to support 12 Enterprise accounts. Although she works a normal 8-5, every day is different depending on individual customers and their needs.

Thus far, she has been able to get more involved in the inner workings of the company by joining several Employee Resource Groups (ERGS). Just recently, she was named a Pillar Leader for Future Women of Sales. In this position, Hannah organizes and supports mentorships between the women of Dell’s inside sales program and those in the field. Not only has this helped the group itself grow, but the mentorships have made a difference for so many women.

Finally, Hannah advises undergraduate students looking for internships or full-time roles to be open to different opportunities. “You might be surprised by what you you find,” she says, “it’s easy to be influenced by those around you so make sure to check in with yourself and allow for some self-reflection along the way.” She stresses the importance of asking yourself what you want out of your experience, what is the most important and what are non-negotiables. “There’s no wrong answer or justification needed when it comes to what you want,” she says, “Whatever it is, make sure you have your answer before you limit yourself or commit to any offer.”

Undergraduate Spotlight: Inside Whirlpool’s Real Whirled Sales Development Program

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!”

Undergraduate Spotlight: Mitchell van der Noll

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.”

Alumni Spotlight: Katherine Maroney ’16

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.

Alumni Spotlight: Karina Alfisher ’17

Alumni Spotlight: Karina Alfisher ’17 Senior Merchandising Manager at The Grommet

Karina Alfisher ’17 knows all about the importance of getting an early start acquiring work experience. As an undergraduate, she was committed to advancing her professional career as early as possible, starting her first internship at Reebok HQ her sophomore year. From there she was able to stick with the company for two more summer internships as well as receive a full-time job offer upon graduation.

From her time at Reebok to her current role as Senior Merchandising Manager at The Grommet, an online marketplace and discovery platform for consumer products, Karina has gotten a taste of working at both large and small companies. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages of both and the decision depends mainly on the type of environment and role you’re seeking. For Karina, her move to the Grommet had her looking for a role that would allow her to have her own part of a business and challenge her with goals she could control. In terms of some of the benefits she sees with a smaller company, she says your everyday contributions have a larger impact on the company’s success, and you can immediately see the results of your work. One of the advantages of a larger company, however, is having more strict processes and structure, which for some people can help with staying organized.

In Karina’s current position, each day can be different. Her team works with almost every team at The Grommet, allowing her to work on a variety of projects at once. At it’s core, her group is responsible for discovering unique consumer products from small businesses and partnering with them to onboard them to their site. Some of her typical tasks include online research, attending trade shows, and networking with industry leaders to identify the latest trends helping to deliver products that will be most impactful for consumers. One of her favorite things about her job is working with small businesses, she was even able to partner with an old friend during the pandemic helping her boost her candle-making company.

As for advice she has for current undergraduates looking for summer internships or full time roles, she emphasized the importance of starting internships or rotational programs as early as possible, as they can be helpful in figuring out what roles and industries you like. Additionally networking and building relationships with your professors can be beneficial, she says, “they are a really great resource having either worked in the industry you’re interested in or knowing others who have. You can learn a lot from them.”

Undergraduate Spotlight: Entertainment Marketing with Allied Global Marketing

Mackenzie Jacob is a senior Business Management major with minors in Digital Marketing & Analytics and Political Science. This past summer, Mackenzie interned with Allied Global Marketing, a full-service integrated marketing agency based in Washington D.C. As a Field Marketing Intern, she researched and executed promotional strategies for more than 25 feature films in the Washington D.C. area, with clients including big names like Universal, Hulu, Netflix, and Walt Disney Studios. In addition to this, Mackenzie worked with securing partnerships for promotional events and campaigns as well as assisting with the operations and promotion of film screenings.

This position solidified Mackenzie’s passion for entertainment marketing and showed her how fast the industry moves. “I looked at everyday like a new opportunity to prove myself to my team,” she says, “I made sure to create my own opportunities to support the team and stay involved, this strategy was key in making my internship as meaningful as possible.”

Although Allied Global Marketing is a massive company, with over 24 offices worldwide, each is run like a boutique agency, with 15 person teams including a director, junior and senior level publicists, and account coordinators. This allowed Mackenzie to be very involved in the day-to-day workload, making a meaningful impact within the company.

One piece of advice Mackenzie has for students looking to get into entertainment marketing is, “Don’t take no for an answer. The entertainment industry is notorious for rejection, especially during the COVID-19 shut down, so don’t be discouraged by rejection. Keep reaching out and networking no matter what.”

Alumni Spotlight: Kristen Waddington ’20

Alumni Spotlight: Kristen Waddington ’20 Senior Associate, Client Leadership at Kantar

Kristen Waddington ’20 didn’t always know what career path was her best fit. She entered the UConn Business in London Program wanting to focus on public relations but eventually switched gears. After working on a survey analysis project, she found a passion for marketing research. Returning for her senior year, she took on a rigorous course load, minoring in Data Analytics and choosing a concentration in Digital Marketing and Analytics to expose herself to as much of the data process as possible.

This led her to her current role as a Senior Associate, Client Leadership at Kantar, a marketing research firm located in New York City. From the moment she interviewed, Kristen recognized Kantar as an excellent match, saying, “the people were very kind and upbeat and cared about what you were saying.” As she has spent more time at Kantar in both their Health and Insight sectors, she has only good things to say about the support system at the company despite the fact that it is a large firm with around 30,000 employees. Her boss during her time in Kantar Health is someone she believes “holds the gold standard of what a boss should be like,” and is a personal example of the welcoming and comfortable environment at the company.

In her current role, Kristen handless the Marketing Research process from start to finish in a client facing role. This consists of running kick off calls and coordinating with clients to make sure their goals are aligned. Additionally, she will work with a program leadership team to ensure surveys are programmed directly. The most important aspect of her position is producing final reports for clients by analyzing data and communicating results with them.

As for current students looking for internships or full-time roles, Kristen’s advice is simple: build genuine connections. During her search, she applied to over 200 jobs, and the only ones she heard back from were those where she made a connection with someone at the company or applied through UConn Handshake. Early 2020, she was able to connect with a UConn alum who worked in Marketing Research in New York for the past 10 years. That allowed her to get her resume sent to Kantar internally and interview before the formal interviewing process begun for other applicants.

Finally, she stressed the importance of preparing for interviews, discussing how she accumulated over 50 pages of company background and interview question prep in a word document to prepare for her Kantar interview. The biggest takeaway from her experience is to not get discouraged, keep making connections, and keep persisting even in the face of burn-out and rejection. “Practice makes perfect. The more interviews you do, the more confident you will get which I promise will take you far.”