Recently I was able to sit down with Camille Clark, 2017 MBA graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison, A.C. Nielsen Center, who is currently a Senior Analyst – Corporate Planning and Execution at American Airlines. I wanted to learn more about her role, how the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) set her up for success, and what advice she had for prospective and new students considering attending in the future.
Here’s a look at our conversation…
Liz: What’s your current role?
Camille: My current role is corporate planning and execution. I provide internal consultant services for projects that involve capital funding. My role is very project based and the skills I learned during my MBA set me up for success in my day-to-day function, such as, facilitating meetings, managing personalities, extracting insights, reporting out, framing questions, presenting, and getting to the core of the problem we are trying to solve.
Liz: What do you find most rewarding about your current position?
Camille: I get to work on projects that touch the whole company. The airline industry is very interesting and challenging due to the complexity nature of the business. We have so many different customers and passengers are just the tip of the iceberg. Cargo alone brings in about a billion dollars a year and is a huge part of the business. For example, in cargo we ship everything from salmon to fresh flowers to human organs for transplant. In my role as a consultant for the company, I get to see every part of the organization and am involved in company-wide programs and decisions, which is very rewarding!
Liz: How did your experience at WSB shape your career path?
Camille: I decided to go back to school because I wanted to explore other opportunities and industries (previously in the travel industry). I interned in the retail sector, which was a great opportunity to experience another industry and gain a more diverse background. However, as they say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and what I really found was that I had this huge passion and love for the travel industry. If I hadn’t had these opportunities with the WSB, I may not have had the exposure to another industry and found where my interests really are.
Liz: What advice do you have for students interested in your career field?
Camille: My one piece of advice for prospective and new students is to have intrinsic curiosity! In the field of consultancy, analytics, and consumer insights – you need to be invested and interested in understanding the root cause or implications of what you are trying to solve. If there is a specific industry you are seeking, you need to express and show interest. For me, I purposely sought opportunities that put me in touch with those that worked at American Airlines and showcased how interested and invested I was. For example, I focused on networking, researched the industry and company, and attended conferences I knew they would be attending.
Liz: What are you passionate about?
Camille: I love being able to help develop and mentor others. One of the main reasons why I love where I work is because I get to work with such great people who are so supportive, really invested in helping you develop, and supportive of mentoring. For me, it is important to pay it forward and mentor others, help them navigate where they want to go, and build them up.
Liz: Is there anything else you want to mention?
Camille: In school you spend a lot of time on coursework, and that’s important, but it’s also important to get an organizational understanding of the business and build relationships. You should always be ready for the next opportunity (network with others) and to step into meetings (set up coffee-chats with people). The value of an MBA that you can bring to any organization is the understanding of dynamic relationships and the pursuance of higher levels of leadership.