Transcript - John Riley

My biggest challenge in the MBA program was really looking and thinking about everything from a business perspective. When you are given assignments, typically you think in a silo format. So, if you are in a marketing class, for example, you can think of only marketing solutions. With the MBA, they are forcing you to think about, “How can I approach this problem from an operations standpoint? Or a finance standpoint?” So, really, just taking everything we’ve learned, connecting the dots, and use the information to come up with an answer.

I worked at Scott & Stringfellow, which is the financial/brokerage side of BB&T; and a lot of my responsibilities included: doing investment research for potential investments like, stocks, ETFs, CDs, bonds and then also doing valuations of client portfolios. So, going through and actually looking at different holdings and see whether or not they were good investments, whether or not they met the financial objectives of the clients.

My biggest challenge [during the internship experience] would be, when I first started off, I would try to apply all the information I’ve learned in the MBA to my job, which was a major information overload. So, really go through and figuring out what is applicable to what I was doing and taking that information and using it for my projects at the internship.

[The internship added value to the MBA experience in that] it provided me a way to take what I have learned in the classroom, so, all the theoretical information and apply it to the real world and come up with an actual tangible product and add benefit to my team at Scott & Stringfellow.

My advice [to prospective MBA students] would be: Don’t be afraid to go out and talk with local businessmen. You know, the only way to get out and meet people is to actually introduce yourself and be proactive. Keep going at it, don’t get discouraged if someone says “oh no, we aren’t looking at hiring at this point in time…” that’s fine. Always stay in touch them, make sure they are able to put a name to your face.

They [Bryan Career Services] provided a lot of opportunities for me to go out and meet different companies. One of the perks is that, on a monthly basis, they have companies come in to UNCG and give a presentation. And at the end of it, you are able to sit down and talk with the people at the company and get to know more about them, and give them the opportunity to know more about you. So, that was one really big perk. Another one is, going through and helping develop your resume and cover letters. That is something that is really important, because typically, when you apply for jobs, the first thing they see is your resume. So you want to make sure that’s perfect and that it really represents who you are and what you want to do with their company. And, after that, you can meet with them personally and establish your personal brand.