Sneha graduated from the University of North Florida in 2011 with a B.A. in Management Information Systems before joining the M.S. in Commerce Class of 2012. She was in the Finance track, and now works as a Senior Associate for Optimity Advisors in Arlington, VA.
Leveraging information systems and business
My undergraduate degree is in information systems. By complementing this with my M.S. in Commerce degree, I have been able to leverage both my technology and business skills to add value to all aspects of a project. With simply a technology background, I would have never learned the management skills necessary to see a project through from beginning to end. On the flip side, without my technology skills, I would not have the strong delivery expertise I do today. Combining both of these tracks has provided tremendous value for me in my career and everyday work life.
Preparation for the job market
The M.S. in Commerce Program did a tremendous job in preparing me for my role today. The skills I learned in the program, from Visio to SQL, are ones I use daily that allow me to provide added value to any client. In addition to those hard skills, the M.S. in Commerce Program taught me to be an effective speaker and presenter, skills extremely useful when facilitating meetings and presenting to C-level executives.
The value of Commerce Career Services
I believe Commerce Career Services is unparalleled. I’ve been involved with my company’s Recruiting team, and it is always said that the resumes that come out of McIntire are top-notch. CCS strongly positions you to apply for top jobs—from helping you develop your resume to the interview process. It not only facilitated my job search, but also provided me the right skills to succeed in it.
What makes the job great
As cliché as it may sound, my favorite part of my current job is the culture and the people. Many of us are friends outside of work, and we have a great rapport internally as well as externally. We have a flat company structure and an informal work environment, which provides for an incredible day-to-day work life. We also employ very intelligent and talented people, which provides a great forum in which to learn and an excellent network of resources.
Typical day at the office
I start the day at around 8:30 a.m. and may participate in a weekly project status call, in which the team provides status updates on its work as well as brings up any issues or concerns individuals have. I’ll then work on requirements deliverable for the client, encompassing information from JAR (joint application requirement) sessions. We will break for a team lunch, and then I will participate in a meeting to discuss requirements and next steps for current scope of work. The rest of the afternoon is spent in a continuation of required deliverables. I wrap up the day with internal work for Optimity Advisors, including strategy project outlining the strategy for the next five years of the firm; planning and executing the first training session of the company; developing content for a culture book; and developing an executive presentation for an employee satisfaction and growth program.
Importance of the Global Immersion Experience (GIE)
I believe the biggest lesson from GIE that I have been able to leverage is that each company has its own way of conducting business. As consultants, we work with a variety of clients, all with their own policies and procedures. Being able to experience this firsthand prepared me to quickly adapt to the different cultures of each different client.
Most memorable GIE company visit
My favorite company visit was to a median-size business in Indonesia, BTPN Bank. There, we learned about how the company provides microloans and teaches people how to start a very small business. It showed a new side to the corporate world, and as someone who has always been interested in social entrepreneurship, it showed me that I could make a difference while developing a career in the corporate world.
Advice for future students
An important lesson I learned from my time in McIntire is that your career and your future are what you make of them. Putting an early effort into my job search allowed me to secure a job long before graduation, and I apply that lesson to my daily life as well, in that the earlier you start something and the more effort you put in, the faster you see the results.
Life after graduate business school
I currently serve on a young ambassadors board for the American Cancer Society, and spend Sundays volunteering for a hospice organization called Capital Caring. I also play on a social sports kickball league on Thursday evenings.
Favorite Charlottesville activity
How can I just pick one? The greatest thing about Charlottesville is the wide range of things to do there, from tubing to wine tasting to camping.