In all the excitement last week, with the case competition, and studying for exams this week, I almost left out writing about another awesome opportunity I had last week. Last Wednesday, the aluminum manufacturer Alcoa had a function on campus relating to some of the grants they have given to the school for various research projects. If you are interested in reading more about those grants, I am going to include a link to the Lantern (Ohio State’s student newspaper) article about it: http://thelantern.com/2013/10/aluminum-company-grant-ohio-state-250k-2014/.
As the article notes, Alcoa’s chairman & CEO, Klaus Kleinfeld, was present at the function, as were several other executives from the company. Alcoa, in case you didn’t know, is ranked 128th on the Fortune 500 list for 2013. I thought that it was pretty awesome to get to attend a rather small (under 100 person) function at which a CEO of that caliber was speaking, and took the time to share his honest answers to student questions on a variety of issues. After the formal presentation was over, there was a more casual networking dinner with the executives present. Opportunities like that don’t just come along every day, but they do seem to come by much more often now that I am a MBA candidate than they did in the corporate world.
That is one of the great things about Ohio State, and Fisher College of Business, is the breadth and depth of ties to industry that the organizations have. Just based off the sheer numbers of graduates every year, Ohio State has one of the largest bases of alumni in the country, and that can be a powerful thing when you are trying to network professionally. The different colleges on campus also have ties to industry in their own sectors as well, either through their faculty and staff, or through collaboration on projects. This broad network can come in handy when trying to attain better information about a target organization or industry.
As an aside, one reason that I was very excited to attend this Alcoa event, is because the corporation is active with a group called American Corporate Partners (ACP). ACP is a mentorship program which connects qualified military veterans with mentors who are all business executives. I am an alumni of the program, and the gentleman who was kind enough to devote time to being my mentor is an executive with Alcoa, so I have a high regard for the company. If you are a veteran looking into business school or entering the corporate world, I highly recommend applying for ACP.