Exceptional experiences of T-birds TREK-ing!

The Thunderbird campus was awfully quiet last week as over 90 T-birds were away on seven different TREKS from the 7-9th November. TREKs are Student Career Field Trips organized by the Career Management Center (CMC) that provide a fantastic opportunity for students to increase their understanding in specific functional areas while networking with top companies in each industry. The functional areas include International Development, Consulting, Technology, Human Resource, Marketing, Energy and Finance.

IDA group of 9 T-birds traveled to Washington DC on the International Development TREK themed as “A Better World through Better Business” to visit 9 companies and organizations focused on tackling global social challenges in just 2 days. Final trimester student, Fabienne Jolivert commented, “Although the DC trek is known as the International Development TREK, it was very much business oriented as we were most interested in understanding the new models and innovations behind the shifts from traditional development to more holistic economic development approaches such as Private-Public partnerships, social businesses, impact investing and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”. The group was thrilled to meet with T-bird alumni employees, several as pleasant surprises, and join the DC alumni chapter happy hour & networking dinner. The TREK was indeed a fabulous networking opportunity for students and provided great insights to help define more meaningful and influential careers for T-birds.

Shying away from being deprived of sunshine, the Finance TREK headed to San Francisco. On the first day, students visited Cisco to gain some insights on their M&A activities and proceeded to learn about infrastructure finance at Bridge Bank. The next day, they met with RSF Social Finance which does impact investing in the Silicon Valley area. Diving deeper into the banking sector, the group attentively listened to HSBC elaborate on asset based lending and middle market lending while Wells Fargo made their presentation on international banking and trade finance. TREK participant, Francisco Ayala explained how students were paired up with traders at Wells Fargo’s FOREX department where they got to experience in person the craziness on the trading floor. Duff & Phelps and Goldman Sachs were among other renowned financial organizations that students had the opportunity to interact with.

Our Human Resource enthusiasts, Sakshi Dhankar, Sharon Liu, Landon Petersen, Cynthia Rosales, Chen Shen, Arun Thomas and Helen Wu headed to Chicago on their TREK. Arun Thomas shared his experience with Das Tor:

“The group visited the baseball organization Chicago Cubs as soon as they landed and met Bryan Robinson who joined the Cubs as VP of HR a few months ago. Previously, he was the HR leader for General Electric. He talked a lot about how to run a lean HR organization and manage change. The next day, the group visited Motorola Solutions Inc and met with all their HR executives. Each of them talked about the areas they handle and provided an overview of HRIS implementation in a large organization. They were very impressed with the cultural mix and backgrounds of T-Birds. From there, we joined the Consulting-Trek for the next 3 visits: Mercer, Gallup, and Hay Group. This was very interesting for those who wanted to be solution providers in human resource as opposed to working for a single organization. We capped off the day with the Chicago chapter alumni reception. On the final day of our Trek, we met with Cynthia Cobb, an independent HR consultant. She touched upon the importance of maintaining relationships and building credibility to function as a small player in a very big market. From there, we moved on to visit Sysmex Corporation’s America office. We met with a group of HR generalists, who manage the entire human resources for the Americas. Next up was ADP, familiar to most of us through their payroll services. We were given a presentation detailing their services and also a tour of their highly secure facility.”

ConsultingHRThe Consulting TREK to Chicago was among the more popular TREKs with sixteen participants. Allison Martyn from TMCA provided us with several interesting highlights of the trip. “Students were privileged to meet with six different consulting firms and alumni at two separate events. The trip took pride in honing in on the concept of consulting beyond just management or strategy development. We were thrilled to visit L.E.K., the only traditional management consulting firm on the agenda. The next day the group started off with a visit to Duff and Phelps, a firm that focuses largely on disputes and fraud investigations and was instrumental in assessing the Lehman Brothers and Bernie Madoff scandals. On the third day, we met up with the seven HR TREK participants to meet with an alumnus at Mercer, an HR consulting firm that is part of the Marsh McLennan companies. This visit was followed by one to Gallup and another to Hay Group through which they were able to gain an appreciation for the challenges and opportunities presented by people-centric consulting. We also attended a presentation at Navigant during which we learned more about the roles of consultants and experts in providing reports and testimony for businesses on trial. The group also attended a ‘First Thursday’ event with the Chicagoland Thunderbird Alumni Association chapter and met additional alumni-consultants at an alumni panel.”

The Technology TREK made their way to a location of no surprise, Silicon Valley in California while the Energy TREK and Marketing TREK traveled to Houston, TX and Portland, OR.Marketing In summary, the TREKS were an intense three days full of hectic travel schedules, heavy duty presentations, interactions with impressive organizations and people and a bucket full of knowledge for students to take with them.

A pat on the back for CMC and all our TREK-ers for a job well done!

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