Why did you decide to participate in The Associate?
I chose to participate in the competition because I knew getting a job straight out of college in this economy was not going to be easy. After talking to Professor Laleh Malek and students who had participated in the past, I knew that the competition would provide me with networking opportunities, and potential job offers. I did not enter with the expectation that I would win, however I knew that even participating in the competition often means interviews and job offers for the eliminated participants.
What was the biggest thing you learned?
I learned how to work on a team. In most CBE classes, professors require students to work on a team project during the semester. Most people dislike working on teams, since it requires you to rely on others for a grade. However in the competition, I started to see teamwork in a different light. There is no way I could’ve done the 4-team cases on my own. You really had to learn about your teammates strengths and weaknesses, and delegate tasks accordingly in order to produce the best possible product. Just after I got to know my team very well, I was transferred to the opposing team on week 3. I had to adapt to new people, just after getting into a working rhythm with my old teammates. At Constellation we work on different teams all the time. I will sometimes have three different projects going on at once, with three different teams. The experience of working with different students on different teams during The Associate helped prepare me for this. It is definitely frustrating at times to have to rely on others, but it’s the reality of the business world and I am glad I had the experience of the competition to prepare me for it.
What was the most challenging part of the competition?
Time management….I spent over 40 hours a week working on each case. This was on top of four classes, working part time 10 hours a week and interning 18 hours a week. Not only was the competition time consuming, but it was very stressful. Trying to pull together a case in about five days, and then having to plan a presentation and be ready to get up in front of the panel and feel confident about your work was not an easy thing to do. However, this lesson of time management has been incredibly valuable in my role with Constellation. I work long hours and often have to bounce between several projects at once. I have been able to use what I learned from the competition to manage my schedule and to not feel overwhelmed by it all.
How was the Associate different from other competitions, programs or other things you did in college?
The Associate was the most time consuming, stressful and most rewarding thing I participated in while at Towson. The hands-on experience of solving real business problems is not something that can be taught in class. I had the opportunity to mingle with managers, directors and presidents of major Baltimore companies, which is not something most college seniors get to do. This was a competition where you definitely got out of it what you put into it. I invested myself fully into each case. And as a result, I walked away from the competition feeling confident and prepared to enter the business world. I cannot think of another activity on campus that offers participants as much value as The Associate.
Where were you hired? What is your role there? And how is the experience going so far?
I was hired as a Marketing Analyst with Constellation Energy. I am a part of a large group of marketing individuals called Market Edge. I am part of a smaller team known as the 1-Web Team. The team I work on focuses on web initiatives relating to the website and other online functioning for Constellation. I have worked on a variety of projects including Social Media, Web Content, & Search Engine Optimization. The experience has been great. I have learned a lot already, and continue to expand my knowledge of marketing and Constellation daily. Things move at lightning speed within the company, which was overwhelming in the beginning, but I have adjusted to this fast-paced, high-pressure environment.