AN INTERVIEW WITH ASSISTANT DEAN ANNE ROONEY
P&Q: What are the two most exciting developments at your program in the past year and how will they enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?
Rooney: Our newly formed Graduate Student Success team, under the leadership of Jessica Cates who guided TCU Neeley’s recent rise in undergraduate career outcomes to a Top 10 spot nationwide (Poets&Quants for Undergrads), strategically engages with Admissions and Recruiting. This ensures a holistic approach to supporting individual student success from the point of deposit through graduation. Under the umbrella of Graduate Student Success, leaders focused on student engagement, career management and experiential learning collaborate closely to shape tailored experiences that equip MBA students to clarify and achieve their individual goals. During a time when a number of programs are cutting staff, we have grown our team and are leaning into the things that differentiate the TCU Neeley experience.
This summer, we elevated our MBA orientation experience, creating an even more immersive, hands-on opportunity for the entire first-year, full-time MBA cohort. We traveled with the students to Austin, Texas, for the culmination of the students’ first MBA-level case competition. Working together on newly formed learning teams, MBA students presented recommendations and insights to the senior leadership of Dell Technologies following several days of work on a real-time business issue. Not only did students get a firsthand look at the latest developments at Dell, but they also had the opportunity to expand their professional networks, explore potential career paths, and receive tailored coaching from top industry leaders. While in Austin, the first-year MBA cohort also attended a networking mixer with local TCU Neeley MBA alumni, visited other companies, and built lifelong memories and culture across their cohort. Student feedback was so outstanding that we’ve committed to incorporate a corporate partner linked travel component into our orientation experience going forward.
P&Q: If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBA applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?
Rooney: When prospective students visit, we make sure they spend time in our newly redesigned, dedicated Graduate Lounge space. Positioned in a corner spot that welcomes natural light from two directions, the lounge is the hub of connection for our MBA students, and for the development of broader networks across graduate programs. They enjoy meals, converse, study, work in small teams, and relax in this space, which is equipped with versatile seating and work areas in addition to storage space for personal items, and, of course, snacks and coffee to fuel the innovation and connection. Prospective students entering the lounge immediately experience the welcoming and collaborative culture of our program.
P&Q: What is the most innovative thing you have introduced into the MBA program in recent years? How has it been a game changer for your program?
Rooney: In alignment with our commitment to moving at the speed of business, we’ve introduced several market-relevant certificate programs over the past few years. The incredible demand for our 7.5 credit hour Analytics Certificate, available only to degree-seeking students, has inspired the hiring of two full-time faculty members and the development of more than 10 new electives, ranging from People Analytics to Data Analytics with Alteryx. More than half of our full-time MBA students earn the Analytics Certificate as part of their 54-credit hour degree plan, and they often collaborate with our Master of Science in Business Analytics students while doing so.
Newer offerings, which include the Sustainable Energy and ESG Certificate and the Health Policy and Management Certificate, are available as standalone certificates or in conjunction with an MBA. They similarly leverage strong faculty expertise, reflect current industry trends and perspectives, and position our students to lead in incredibly important areas.
P&Q: What have MBAs told you is the most memorable, signature experience they’ve had in your program? Why did it resonate so much with them?
Rooney: Full-time MBA students inevitably reflect on our signature experiential learning opportunities as the most memorable and impactful experiences in our program, in part because they can be tailored to support their individual professional development goals. They may participate in one or more in their studies.
Neeley & Associates Consultants, which approximately 75% of first-year students participate in for academic credit, provides students with hands-on, MBA-level experience as they work collaboratively to solve real-time business issues for real-world clients ranging from non-profits to global corporations.
Our Educational Investment Fund (EIF), one of the longest-standing student-run investment portfolios celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, offers hands-on market experience to students looking to gain access into the finance and investment industries. Students manage a $1.75 M portfolio, experiencing the real risk and rewards professionals face every day. They execute trades, present proposals, discover investment styles, and learn the merits of sound asset diversification. With this exceptional experience under their belts, students graduate to successful Wall Street careers.
Students who are aspiring entrepreneurs or looking to learn more about innovative investing, gravitate toward the TCU Horned Frog Investment Network. As part of the network, students get hands-on experience sourcing and screening companies and founders, performing due diligence on deals, and discussing opportunities with potential investors and helping them make a final investment decision. They sharpen their skills and investment strategies, as well as gain invaluable insights into the world of venture capitalism.
Next Page: Profiles Of 12 TCU Neeley First-Year MBAs