Janelle Suttner, MBA alumna of Texas Christian University Neeley School of Business, describes her unique and rewarding MBA experience.
Name: Janelle Suttner
School: MBA, TCU Neeley School of Business
Profession: Kimberly-Clark Corporation; Sr. Associate Brand Manager on the Kleenex(R) Brand
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Current Location: Appleton, Wisconsin
What were some activities you were involved with outside of class? How did you balance your time?
I had a couple internships, during my MBA at Alcon as a fall and spring procurement intern and Essilor as a summer brand marketing intern. I also managed the TCU MBA social media accounts and interaction with student activities. It was all about setting priorities and knowing when it was too much and take steps to manage the workload. I was also involved in MBAMA and MBA Net Impact chapter as the director of communications for both organizations. It's a great way to network while growing your skillset and getting involved in the community.
How did your classmates influence your MBA experience?
I come from a fully marketing background - undergrad degree and job experience - and having classmates that were career switchers and had different experiences exposed me to a broader perspective. On top of that my classmates became my family away from family. We all would get lunch and dinner together between and after classes, create study groups and even attend each other's weddings and children's birthday parties. We were all going through the same life transition and there to help each other along the way.
Why did you choose your MBA program? Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?
I chose TCU MBA program because from the beginning the admissions team created a welcoming and personal experience. I got a call from the admissions director to share my admission into the program vs. a letter in the mail. They also connected me with alumni to discuss career opportunities and to share their MBA experience, I received personal mail from admissions directors and was even able to sit in on a class. All of this made me feel like I wasn't just another number and that TCU truly cared about not only admission, but me and my career goals.
What do you think makes your MBA program and experience unique?
A few of the many things that make the TCU MBA program unique include the Neeley & Associates consulting program and the opportunity to go abroad and study an international market. I was involved in a Frito-Lay consulting project through Neeley & Associates, which not only gave me an opportunity to connect with marketers within Frito-Lay, but also gain experiences that were real life situations and make recommendations that could truly impact a global business. I also went on two international trips to China and Chile. I was able to learn about different cultures and the way they handle business along with seeing for myself the processes for manufacturing a product. As manufacturing continues to be done in places like China and become more and more automated, it was an experience I could later speak to in interviews and an understanding that has helped me as I've worked on brands that produce products in places with different cultures, languages and business norms.
What do you think was your program's greatest assets?
I think that having a small class size is the program's greatest asset. This allowed for rich conversation in class and the opportunity to truly get to know your classmates and professors. Professors then were interested in and able to get to know you and your goals and create a larger network for you based on that. The smaller class sizes also create a community of current students and alumni that are always willing to help each other out, whether it's helping to understand a concept in class or networking.
What resources and support did your school offer you through the career search?
TCU was extremely helpful in that they offered multiple resources as you began your career search. Not only did they keep an alumni list for companies that you could then reach out to and build a network within, but also they helped with the funding for attending career conferences. At the career conference TCU has a booth too where you can take a minute to regroup between interviews and conversations and prepare for interviews as well. I can personally say that this changed my career completely. I was able to get my foot in the door with Kimberly-Clark at the Hispanic MBA conference (formerly known as NSHMBA) and interview there, which led me to my job offer here in Wisconsin. Career services helped me prepare for my interviews with practice interview questions and even helped get me attend the conference.