Category Archives: Internship/job interviews

Internship search strategy and lessons

Preparing for, searching for, strategizing for and finally landing a summer internship is a daunting task. I’m learning just how daunting it can be as the calendar switches to April.

Since I started my MBA journey, I haven’t had a firm time table on when I should hit the panic button for my internship search. I know there is a great opportunity out there for me. My idea of the ideal internship has shifted almost weekly, but I have held true to my goal to get into marketing. I lost track of how many online applications I have filled out. Needless to say, I should have followed up on more of the opportunities.

The Neeley School of Business Graduate Career Center and LinkedIn have been my best resources during my internship search. Reaching out to and connecting with TCU MBA alums has been invaluable and it’s remarkable what alums will do to help current students. I’m hoping to hear back soon about marketing internship opportunities at Brinker International in Dallas (where alum Sergey Shubin works) and SailPoint in Austin (where alum Paul Trulove is hiring for his marketing team). I’m also pursuing unpublished positions at local companies RAPP and CB Richard Ellis and Demand Media in Austin. My latest online application was for a Social Media Strategist opening at Waste Management in Houston. I’m willing to work just about anywhere in Texas.

This week I reached out to my classmates to share their internship stories. Here are two success stories from first-year MBAs Erika Jackson and A.J. Radcliffe:

Erika has accepted a Product Marketing Internship at Sabre Holdings, a global company based in Southlake, Texas.

Her story: Finding an internship was a long process. I was so worried about not being able to find a job, so I started looking immediately following the start of the first semester. I suffered through lots of interviews and faced lots of rejection. But in the end, all of that rejection led to a great opportunity with a company that had everything I was looking for. And through it all, I had the unwavering support of my classmates, and the faculty and staff of the Neeley School. I’m looking forward to a great summer!

A.J. has accepted a Marketing Research internship at California-based Intel.

His story: The first 1-2 months I got absolutely nothing. While the Graduate Career Center helped some with job postings on MBAjobs (Neeley School internship/job website), most of the companies that they brought to campus weren’t on my radar or in the industry I was hoping for. I mostly just applied online. After the 1-2 months of hearing nothing, I got a lot more interviews in the span of 1-2 weeks. The last week before I got my offer from Intel was extremely fast-paced. On Thursday, I had an interview with Galderma (pharmaceutical company). I got an offer from Galderma the next morning, and had my phone interview with Intel. Intel gave me an offer on Wednesday the next week.

— Michele Machado


The Gateway Degree

The MBA degree is an interesting beast. Even more so when joined with other disciplines such as law or in my case education. It creates this miniature career gateway into a variety of disciplines and paths. This allows me to see the amount of work that MBAs are involved in, but more importantly it provides a course structure that works to synthesize multiple disciplines.

I recently finished (last week) a long day of group interviews with Education Pioneers, a non-profit organization that seeks MBA talent specifically to reinvigorate aspects of the education industry. The long process involved with job seeking is both painful and informative. In fact, the group interview, a situation I have not had before, was probably one of the most fascinating and telling experiences about the organization. It really gets you more involved in what you would actually be a part of with the company and lets both parties see more of what each side has to offer. Despite the icy trek to get there, it was completely worth it.

As the process continues for many of us in solidifying our summer internships (I of course have my fingers crossed for everyone) I can only hope that others have been able to get this sort of experience in his or her journey. Some of the reasons I came to TCU was because the career services center was able to demonstrate to me a breadth of opportunities that were tailored to my interests and talents. The reality of the MBA is that it is only partially about business; it is a unique key to understanding a range of industries that you care about. 


 annie nguyen

Hooray for new-found confidence

Mount Villarrica was just one of the beautiful things I saw in Chile.

To call it an “ah-ha” moment would be too cliché. It was more like an intuitive moment of confidence that I remember all too well from when I was finishing up my undergraduate studies. That feeling that I have made the correct decisions.

Actually, I’ve had a series of intuitive moments since the spring semester started at TCU. I wasn’t searching for confidence or any kind of sign of an academic breakthrough. It just kind of happened one day in Operations Management class or during a team meeting for my Frito Lay consulting project. Finally, I KNOW I can do this MBA thing.

See, last semester I wasn’t sure. I was trying really hard to keep up, both figuratively and literally. I was trying to learn team dynamics and a new schedule. I was trying to wrap my brain around new concepts and acronyms, and rekindle old math skills. My mind was still halfway in burned-out journalist mode and halfway in grad school mode. I couldn’t quite shake my past career experiences. I used them as a crutch often times.

Not anymore. After a “cleansing” winter break chock full of traveling – to California for Christmas and then Chile for a wonderful TCU study abroad trip – I entered the new semester with a new-found ease and clarity. It doesn’t matter if I’m 10 years older than most of my classmates; it doesn’t matter that I came from a non-business background. The first-semester lineup of core classes at TCU was tough, but each class gave me, and I assume most of my classmates, a wonderful foundation to build from.

Now, as the spring semester cruises along I’m retaining more information and connecting the “dots” of business topics and theories. My classes seem easier, or maybe I’m just better prepared. Most important, I’m confident my first-year courses and consulting project work will help me compete in the wide world of summer internship madness and later when I’m looking for a full-time job.

Speaking of consulting, I was lucky to land a spot on the Frito Lay team for the TCU Neeley & Associates program. Each spring for the past five years, first-year students have had the chance to work in teams of four on projects that have the potential to make a real difference for companies in the Fort Worth and Dallas areas. My team is tasked with developing a plan to help Frito Lay’s Munchies filled cracker brand grow in the next two or three years. This marketing/sales project is definitely helping me sharpened my Excel skills and is giving me valuable exposure to a major consumer goods company.

I’m aiming my internship search squarely at consumer goods companies – with a few exceptions. I have applied for marketing internships at Land O’Lakes, ConAgra, Hanes, and Fisher-Price. I’m more likely to get interviews for local companies Sabre, American Airlines, 7-Eleven and Warren Douglas. At least I hope so. I have also applied for media- or PR-based internships at CNN and Coca-Cola, in hopes that my journalism background might land me at least an interview. Only time will tell.

— Michele Machado


Life in the new term is a slow trek back into the swing of things. This is a function of the flexibility in coursework that begins in the second term, but the introduction of elective paths makes one miss some of the constant camaraderie of the cohort. That said, I haven’t quite gotten over the jetlag that comes with returning to school again after the winter holiday break, but I have filled a bit of my time creating spoofs about my time past.

I don’t want to overload this entry with video plugs, but I have immensely enjoyed my first term at TCU and so follow a few amateur videos that highlight some of the silliness that is able to grow between colleagues here. Don’t take these too seriously, but then again, every lie has a little bit of truth.

IP (Integrated Project)

Mock Interview Experience

Chile (Video Postcard)


annie nguyen

Top 10 Movies Every MBA Should See

By: Matt Acuff
Neeley MBA Class 2012

Most MBA students have little time to devote to anything other than school and job searching and even less time to watch movies. However, just as every professional golfer has seen CaddyShack and Tin Cup and every pilot has seen Top Gun and Airplane, there is a core-curriculum of movies that every MBA student should see. If you’re an MBA you need to see these movies because they apply to your profession of business, because they contain valuable lessons to be learned and because, frankly, you don’t want to be the only one left out of the joke at the meeting the next time your boss cracks a joke or quotes a line from one of these particular films. So, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Movies Every MBA Should See. In this list we’ll hit all the finer points of being an MBA, including college life, finance, investments, supply chain, entrepreneurship and ethics.

Ready? OK, let’s go!! Coming in at …

10. Back to School – Starring Rodney Dangerfield and Sally Kellerman

Back To School

Plot – A self-made millionaire decides to go back to school to prove a point. However, because he’s already a made man, all he focuses on is partying and having fun (um, what else is there?). Hilarity ensues as he dusts off his old swim trunks for the dive team!

Why it’s an MBA Must? – Getting geared up to go back to school is an exciting prospect for a new MBA student. We have the potential to relive those glory days that most of us remember from undergrad. You know, the all-night parties, the fountains of beer and unbridled debauchery that nowadays would require an online subscription and a shot of penicillin. Sadly though, most of us soon realize that we’ve somehow lost a step or two. We notice that those beers catch up with you in the morning, we actually have to stretch before intramural sports and pray we don’t pull something, and we get cranky when people won’t sit down during breaks at the football game—even though we’re in the student section. Alas the actual MBA program may prove to be more business than pleasure., but it’s still fun to think back on and have a little fun just one more time!

Stock Rating: + 5%

Back To School

9. Wall Street (1&2) – Starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen (Shia LaBeouf)

Wall Street

Plot – “Money is everything.” “Greed is Good.” You’d sell your family down the river to make it big on Wall Street. In this thriller we see just what lengths people will go to make a buck or two … and by buck I mean a million! Young stock broker Bud Fox becomes enamored with millionaire mogul Gordon Gekko and will do anything it takes to make it. Or will he?

Why it’s an MBA Must? – This movie really deserves to be numbers 1 through 10 on the list and is a picture of how most MBA’s dream of being a “Big Shot.” It provides a look of what power and greed can do to the human soul. It’s a lesson in business that just may have more value added than any of your core classes. It is also the one movie on this list you MUST see before you get your MBA. An MBA who hasn’t seen Wall Street is like a priest who hasn’t heard of the Pope. Oh and by the way, the second Wall Street is pretty good too!

Stock Rating: +10%

8. Boiler Room – Starring Ben Affleck, Vin Diesel and some other schmuck

Boiler Room

Plot – Boiler Room is kind of a modern day Wall Street with bad acting. Talented young broker gets caught up in a scheme to defraud people. He is blinded by the lure of money and ultimately must make a decision to do what’s right.

Why it’s an MBA Must? – Well actually it’s not. We follow up the “must see movie” of Wall Street with the “if you have to skip one” movie Boiler Room. It is without a doubt the weakest movie on the list. However, if you like cheesy acting (Ben Affleck) and can picture Vin Diesel as a principal of an investment firm (ha!), then this movie just might be for you. Boiler Room is a good look at what we all think the life of an investment banker should be like and horrors of what a lack of ethics has potential to be. Its only real merit of being on this list is that if one day you do find yourself in a room full of traders you won’t want to be the only one who hasn’t seen it. But then again you may be better off.

Stock Rating: -2.5%

7. The Insider – Starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe

The Insider

Plot – The Insider is a quasi true story of a man on the inside of a company who is doing wrong. He decides to put an end to it and blow the whistle on the company. However, by doing so he risks his life and the safety of his family. He is faced with a choice of doing the right things and risking his life to do it or keeping his mouth shut.

Why it’s an MBA Must? – Business ethics pure and simple. As future leaders MBAs need integrity. It’s a must and its non-negotiable integrity is either something you have or you don’t. It means doing the right thing when it doesn’t matter if you do the right thing or when the right thing is not the easiest thing to do. There is a simple way to test your integrity: Which is worse? Stealing a piece of bubble gum or stealing a million dollars from the corporate account? Do you know the answer?

Stock Rating: +6%

6. Tucker: A Man and His Dream – Starring Jeff Bridges


Plot – Another true story of Preston Tucker, the founder/designer/creator of the Tucker Automobile. Tucker was an entrepreneur who created a car and used his passion to briefly live the American Dream.

Why it’s an MBA Must? – This movie is full of the American Dream, the Land of Opportunity and the Entrepreneurial Spirit that many of us MBAs have. It’s a feel good (kinda) film that will inspire you to follow your dreams and sacrifice to make them a reality. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart but can be the most rewarding concentration of any of the MBA specialties.

Stock Rating: +10%

5. Office Space – Starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston

Office Space

Plot – I’m not sure exactly? But it’s funny! OK, I’ll try. This comedy is about a guy who one day decides he’s fed up and not going to put up with every day drone of the 9-to-5 anymore. So while everyone else is clocking in he’s busy clocking out! Just trust me on this one, this movie is hysterically funny and will relate to anyone who has ever held an office job. The best business is funny business and there’s no funnier business than Office Space.

Why it’s an MBA Must? – If you’ve ever gone to work and wanted to scream at the top of your lungs just how screwed up the place really is but didn’t this is the movie for you. The funniest/scariest part of this movie is just exactly how real it actually is. This movie is an inside look at office politics at their finest. It’s a case study in bad management and will give you an up close and personal look at exactly what consultants do! Hehe. As MBAs, at one time in our past or some time in our future, we can all relate to this movie and thus it’s perfect to be included on this list.

Stock Rating: +16%

4. Glengarry Glen Ross – Starring Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris and more

Glengarry Glen Ross

Plot – “Sales it’s a tough racket (gulp).” This movie is about a bunch of salesmen who get fired and get the opportunity to get their jobs back! The cut throat world of just what it takes to be a salesman in this world is the topic of discussion.

Why it’s an MBA Must? – This movie will give any MBA the ABC’s of selling, literally! It’s a great film on what exactly it takes to make it in the business world as a salesman. If that’s your future then you must see this film!

Stock Rating: +15%

3. Smartest Guys in the Room – Featuring Kenneth Lay and Jeffery Skilling

Smartest Guys In The Room

Plot – This is the only documentary on the list and boy is it good. Produced by billionaire Mark Cuban, it’s an in-depth look at the mega fraud and downfall of what was ENRON, the biggest failure in the history of business. See how it happened and all the crooked things ENRON and its executives were doing to cover it up. Its fascinating! The things you see in this documentary leave no doubt that big business can be evil. It’s scary because it is true!

Why it’s an MBA Must? – It’s real life lesson in business ethics. It makes you think and be cautious of things that seem too good to be true. This film is not only a good watch but it’s almost a class in itself and thus important because it actually happened. This film is a must for any MBA and will remain with you and cause you to really think about the difference in doing things right and doing the right things!

Stock Rating: +20%

2. Citizen Kane – Starring and directed by Orson Welles

Citizen Kane

Plot – Widely considered the greatest movie of all time,  this classic is about the rise of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane. Kane is a man who starts with good intentions but gets consumed by the pursuit of power. Citizen Kane takes you through a series of flashbacks as a reporter tries to unravel the mystery of the tycoon’s dying words.

Why it’s an MBA Must? – Not only is it widely considered the best movie in American film history, it’s also the best business movie in history. Coincidently, the movie teaches a lesson to any and every potential MBA about the dangers of the path that we are already on! This movie is an American classic and there really is no excuse for not having seen it but now that you’re a business student you even more or a reason and less of an excuse.

Stock Rating: +25%

OK, nine down one to go! Before we reveal the No. 1 Must See Movie for every MBA lets recap what we now know.

10. We know going Back to School is no dive in the pool!

9. We know Greed … and well Greed is Good!

8. We know Ben Affleck can’t act!

7. We know ethics and integrity Inside and Out

6. We know that “A Man and His Dream” can change the world!

5. We know exactly how good it feels to be a gangsta!

4. We know what it takes to make it in sales!

3. We know to “ask why? … asshole.”

2. We know Rosebud!

So now for the for No. 1 MBA movie and most important lesson that any MBA can learn..

1. It’s a Wonderful Life – Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed

It's a Wonderful Life

Plot – Good hearted man George Bailey is down in the dumps. His entire life’s work is on the verge of crashing down. In the pit of despair he contemplates suicide. But before he can act on his impulse he is visited by his guardian angel who takes him on a ride to show him what the world would have been like without good ole George. He sees that life is more than about work and money and when you look at it that way it truly is a wonderful life!

Why it’s an MBA Must? – As another American film classic you really should have already seen this one too as Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed typically make us feel good around Christmas time. But this story really contains at its root the most important lesson a business man or woman can learn. We MBA types can easily get lost in the pursuit of money, and we delve into work and put aside life itself searching for profits. It’s an easy trap to fall into but it is imperative that every MBA keep things in perspective.  Money is really not what’s important in life and no job is worth dying over. In the end our family and friends are truly what’s important and it doesn’t matter if we have a good job or are filthy rich or unemployed, life itself is the real prize of living and we should never forget it!

Stock Rating: +1000% Life is a risk free asset with infinite return!!

Networking, Networking, Networking

I’m sure that many people are excited to go back to business school in order to do some networking with people. In particular, MBA alumni of the school you attend.

TCU is particularly good about bringing in their alumni, and these alumni are very good about spending time with you to discuss your future. At a brand management boot camp in September, I got to meet Neeley alums that worked as Brand Managers at a variety of corporations such as Frito-Lay (Dallas), Procter and Gamble (Cincinatti), and Sony (Los Angeles). On top of that, the school also brought in another MBA student from a different program that had experience in brand management. Needless to say, it was a very useful program. In those two days, I learned an entire course worth of material. Furthermore, the marketing professionals made it easy to talk to them about their jobs and experiences. Neeley has been great about that, and I am glad I can count on the school for this experience.

However, the programs offered don’t always match up with my particular goals, so I’ve made a concerted effort to get out and meet people. I scheduled appointments to meet with the Chancellor, Athletic Director, local school superintendents to discuss how they attained their position and their recommendations to me of how to achieve success. Not only has this been useful to me for learning, but I have developed my own personal network of individuals that are helping me. I even contacted the Secretary of Education (I am still waiting to have a conversation with you Mr. Duncan!) trying to put myself out there and learn about others.

 If I could offer some advice, it would be just that. While you can rely on the school to bring people to you, you’re also going to need to get out there and hoof it yourself. When you do, you’ll see how fast your network can grow.

— Daniel Gandarilla

Real-world networking lessons

Midway through this challenging first semester and the lessons keep coming. So do the opportunities. Just in the past few weeks, I’ve met and heard speakers from such influential companies as New York-based Deutsche Bank and Compass Group North America, a food service company based out of Charlotte, N.C. While I’ve decided on a marketing concentration, it’s always nice to hear advice from professionals in all types of industries. Hearing these speakers’ real-world advice also reinforces all of the book learning we’re doing right now.

Last weekend I learned some hard, yet valuable real-world lessons about networking at the National Society of Hispanic MBAs career fair in Chicago. I was one of about 20 TCU full-time MBA students who traveled to the event and many of my classmates had wonderful success. At least half our group earned on-site interviews and at least one (at the time of this post) has been contacted to travel to Cincinnati for a next-round interview with Proctor and Gamble.

I’ll admit I didn’t prepare well enough to be competitive for internship opportunities at the NSHMBA event, but I did make one valuable contact at Land O’ Lakes. It is great how somewhat random encounters can turn into solid ideas. After talking to Paul, a marketing professional and recruiter from Land O’ Lakes, and getting some valuable information from him regarding dairy and agriculture marketing, I’ve decided to further research the industry. Since I grew up on a dairy ranch in California, I have added incentive (and knowledge) to pursue an internship in this industry.

The NSHMBA career fair left me with blisters on my feet and plenty of fatigue, but I think the trip was worth it. If I attend any more career fairs this year or next, I’ll be much better prepared and certainly more confident.

Speaking of confidence, I survived my first interview this week. Well, it was just a mock interview, but it felt like the real deal to me. I talked by phone with Sherlene from Healthpoint, a Fort Worth-based healthcare company that specializes in wound care products and research. The interview consisted of mainly behavior questions, but those are the types of questions I need to practice. Thanks to our helpful Graduate Career Services Center, I’m better prepared for my next interview, which I’m hoping will be real.

Real from me right now is keeping my grades at an acceptable level and building my confidence. After a somewhat disappointing grade on my Marketing midterm, I now know how I need to study to improve my grade by the end of the semester. I got Bs on all my eight-week class finals so I’m pleased with those results. October has really flown by; only about seven more weeks before we reach our big Integrated Project in December. This team project is a week-long business simulation that will draw on all our knowledge from this semester and past work experiences. Managing stress and fatigue will be part of the challenge, but the experience will be valuable moving forward in the program.

— Michele Machado