At the Lundquist College of Business, site visits and fostering relationships with business leaders and alumni have long been prime elements of the MBA experience. In this way, our winter MBA tours are quickly becoming the best kind of tradition—the kind that gets better every year.
Just a few weeks ago, MBA students gained exposure to new career paths, networked with Lundquist alumni, and learned about business trends and what it takes to get a job in a high-growth city like Seattle or an international metropolis like New York City.
“I have no doubt that our students have a new focus on opportunities in Seattle with companies like Amazon, where we were able to meet with their sustainability team, sports division, and the MBA recruiter,” said Sally Bell, senior associate director for MBA professional development. “Seattle continues to be an important market for our relationship development.”
“It was a fantastic trip,” added Michele Henney, program manager for the Cameron Center for Finance and Securities Analysis.
First-year MBA students on the Seattle visit studying finance visited Washington Trust Bank, Wells Fargo, Milepost Consulting, DA Davidson, and Canopy. Meanwhile, the sustainable business concentration visited Green Eileen, Theo Chocolate, and REI, as well as joined the entrepreneurship group at McKinstry. Entrepreneurship students started at McKinstry, followed by Filson, then joined sustainability students at Theo Chocolate. And sports business students took in Safeco Field and the Seattle Mariners, the Seattle Seahawks, 206 Inc., Brooks Running, and Oiselle. All students visited Microsoft and Amazon.
MBA candidate Luke Nofsinger discussed meeting two Warsaw alumni, Joe Mattson and Lena Macomson—both of 206 Inc.—on the Warsaw Sports Marketing Podcast.
“They walked us through, from start to finish, how they build an experiential marketing plan for their clients,” Nofsinger said, noting 206’s recent pairing of Southwest Airlines and the Ravens football team.
“Kids and adults could stand in front of this giant TV screen, and what they saw was themselves in Ray Lewis’s jersey, uniform, pads, helmet,” Nofsinger said. “They could do poses and the uniform moved with them—they could run in place, catch a touchdown pass, make an interception or a tackle, and pose for the camera. It was a great way to get the fans involved with the product, the Ravens, and promote Southwest Airlines with a big Southwest billboard on the back of their photo.”
Nofsinger’s experience meeting with 206 Inc. is a great example of how the MBA study tours inspire students with innovative ideas and help them forge connections with alumni.
“Each year the Seattle trip gets better and better,” Bell summed up. “This year, we had nearly 60 MBAs visit 20 companies in a multitude of sectors throughout the Seattle region. Many of our meetings were with high-profile alumni, executives, and new contacts—from large companies all the way to the startup scene.”
New York City
While first-year MBA students were in Seattle, second-year MBAs were across the country in New York for an action-packed week.
In NYC, MBA students studying sports business got face time with representatives from Columbia Sportswear, Sorel, ESPN, GlideSlope, NFL, the Knicks, MLS, ESPN, Madison Square Garden, NBA, and NYRR (New York Road Runners). Finance students visited with representatives from FTV Capital, SmileTrain, UBS, The Wall Street Journal, Prosiris Capital Management, and others. They also visited in the New York Stock Exchange. Second-year MBAs studying sustainability and one studying entrepreneurship also took part in the New York Trip.
Jacob Rosen, an MBA student in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center said on the Warsaw Sports Marketing Podcast the NFL stop was for him perhaps most surprising. Akash Jain, MBA ’04 and vice president of international commercial development at the NFL, was one of the presenters that meet with Rosen and his fellow MBA students.
“The NFL have restructured a lot of their upper management and the folks we met with were relatively new,” Rosen said. “It was great getting an inside perspective from a longtime friend of the program.”
Rosen said professional sports teams are organized starkly differently and noted the NFL makes decisions with the potential for 32 opinions from the 32 teams. Major League Soccer, by contrast, is more monocratic in its decision-making.
“It’s a very different way of structuring business, structuring media,” Rosen said.
As in Seattle, evening opportunities for socializing and networking with hosts and alumni were built into the weeklong itinerary.