Professionally Engaged, Globally Prepared: How My Business School Prepared Me for Success
Posted August 21, 2019 by Olivia Walleser
- General Management Development Program Associate - Aetna
Thanks to recent media, it’s no longer such a bad thing to be a geek. Shows like Stranger Things, billionaires like Bill Gates, and production companies like Marvel Studios are making “geeks” cool again. And so is my alma mater, Troy University.
The Sorrell College of Business’s GEEKS program was created to better engage students in their education and future career paths. An acronym that stands for the business school’s mission statement, GEEKS represents everything Troy tries to instill in their students: global awareness, engagement with the business community, ethics, knowledgeable decision-making, and success. Having been an involved student of the program, I can proudly speak to its effectiveness.
What I appreciated about the GEEKS program was the way it united both faculty and students. The teachers were passionate about the potential of the program and were always eager to be involved with events like career fairs, resume workshops, and visiting speakers. Having teachers who were so supportive of events was extremely conducive to my learning because it allowed time for me to connect with my professors outside of the classroom. I was able to hear their own career stories or talk about what excited them about the business field. It made engaging with my professors in a learning environment all the more personal.
The GEEKS program truly wants students to succeed, and it does this by helping to create a network for students. My favorite example of this was the GEEKS Speak Lecture Series. During the spring semester the university would host a wide range of individuals from self-employed entrepreneurs to bankers to marketing moguls. I learned helpful tools that weren’t necessarily things I’d taken classes on—like how to plan for retirement, what it takes to own a business, and why you must change your management style in crisis. These speakers also networked with students and opened doors to internships and future jobs. Opportunities like this were made even more prevalent, thanks to the college of business’s partnership with the career center and the college’s business internship coordinator. I myself found an internship using Handshake, the online job platform Troy uses to help students find careers.
Another component of learning that the Sorrell College of Business takes seriously is having a global focus. All of my classes talked about principles applied in the U.S. and abroad. In my senior year of college, I was able to travel with my Managing in a Global Environment class to Malaysia. We got to work with Malaysian students at our partner school, SEGi University, and visit numerous businesses. It opened my eyes to the reality that different cultures truly do have a different way of doing business. This trip would not have been possible without the GEEKS program, which helped subsidize the trip to give as many students as possible the opportunity to gain global awareness.
Having since graduated from college and entered corporate life, I find myself forever grateful to the education I received from the Sorrell College of Business and the support of the GEEKS program. All those group projects and presentations really paid off! Mostly, though, the GEEKS program taught me how to engage in a professional setting. I feel like I know when to ask the right questions, how to work with others to accomplish a goal, and how to confidently navigate complex problems.
I was privileged enough to accept a full-time position at a Fortune 10 company (2018) before I even started my senior year of college, and I know the GEEKS program helped get me there—not only through job preparations like mock interviews and resume feedback, but through genuine support. My business school was truly invested in each and every student’s success.
Fellow members of Aetna’s General Management Development Program attended Ivy League institutions and some of the largest schools around the country, but I walk these hallways equally proud to represent the Sorrell College of Business. I know I can trust the quality of my education as an AACSB-accredited university, and I never take that for granted. So call me a geek. I promise I don’t mind!
Olivia Walleser graduated from Troy University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in global business with a focus in management. She now lives in Connecticut and works for Aetna, Inc, a CVS Company. Her career development program consists of three 18-month rotations in various functional areas and lines of business designed to better accelerate individuals on their career paths. Her first rotation is in pharmacy strategy.