Neeley Serving as Hub for Internship Collaboration with Companies Near and Far

Clockwise from top left: Kristen Fernando, Serena Nguyen, Michael Phillips, Anna Murrey
and Nolan Dearborn.

July 22, 2021

In person, online and from campus, TCU Neeley School of Business student interns are
gaining a wealth of hands-on, real-world experience with some of the most respected
companies in the world. Amazon, Bain & Company, BNSF Railway, Citibank, Credit Suisse,
Goldman Sachs, McKesson Corp., Microsoft, Nike and Samsung are some of the powerhouses
being added to Horned Frog résumés this summer.

While some internships are in person, others remain remote — including many housed
on campus at Neeley.

“Part of the vision when building the new Neeley School was that the space would be
used as a crash space between students and the business community. While we didn’t
envision a global pandemic and students having to conduct internships 100% virtually,
it was an easy decision on how to pivot the space usage,” said Jessica Cates, director
of the Alcon Career Center at Neeley.

This summer, Neeley students are using interview rooms, team rooms and collaboration
spaces to work.

“Having a space for them to come to every day helps elevate their professional experience
and gives them a greater level of confidence. Dell, Credit Suisse, DaVita, BMO, McCann,
etc. — all working out of the same building. Multiple industries and functions interacting
in one space. That was the vision and it is so cool to see it play out,” Cates said.

Dell’s ‘Neeley campus’ 

Among those officing at Neeley this summer are Dell Technologies virtual interns and
full-time employees, who use a classroom in Smith Hall a couple of days a week.

“Dell is a great recruiting partner for the Neeley School. They are very active in
hiring and other engagement — case competitions, classroom projects, etc. Neeley alum
Hien Tran was brainstorming ways to get their virtual interns together and we had
the space,” Cates said.

Dell’s culture is one of the biggest reasons people want to work for — and inevitably
stay at — Dell, said Tran, Supplier Diversity & Innovation Program manager at Dell,
who earned his BBA in supply and value chain management and entrepreneurial management
in 2017.

“We — Dell TCU alums and the recruiting team — wanted to give our interns and recent-grad
full-time hires an opportunity to have a sense of the Dell community and replicate
some sort of ‘normal’ working environment that is representative of ‘Dell culture.’
So we reached out to the great team at the Neeley Alcon Career Center to assist us
in coordinating these working sessions,” Tran said.

At peak times, as many as five interns and four full-time Dell team members are working
together in space at Smith Hall. While not sponsored or endorsed by Dell Technologies,
the informal gathering space simply provides an environment for TCU students and alumni
working remotely for Dell to share office space, collaborate and interact.

“Dell’s culture is people centric with a focus on development. Being in person during
this tough time where we have gone virtual allows interns/team members to be able
to lean on one another, support one another and further develop relationships in person
rather than just through virtual mediums,” Tran said.

Remote from Neeley 

Horned Frogs serving internships that — pre-pandemic — would have been in New York,
California, Houston or Dallas are working remotely from Neeley interview and team
coaching rooms for such companies as BMO, Citi, McCann, CrowdStrike and Epsilon.

“Last summer when campus was closed but there was a need for students to have professional
spaces for internships, alumni offered commercial office space for students. Now that
campus is open, we were able to use spaces in Neeley for students. It has been so
fantastic having the activity in the building this summer and students seem to be
energized having others around,” Cates said.

Using a Neeley interview room, Anna Murrey, a senior finance and accounting major
in the John V. Roach Honors College who hails from Memphis, Tennessee, has been working
remotely for Credit Suisse’s Investment Banking and Capital Markets Division in New
York. (Beginning July 26, she gets to work in person at the New York office.)

As a summer analyst in the Ultra High Net Worth and Family Office group, she gets
to sit in on virtual client calls and work on projects involving creating pitches
for new deals, updating loan agreements and researching clients. 

“I am learning a lot. I knew very little about loans coming into the internship besides
the simple mechanics, and I can confidently say I know much more now. It’s hard to
sum it all up, but I would say I am learning a lot of technical information and professional
skills tied to networking and to presenting information in whatever medium is required,”
Murrey said.

The highlight has been the people.

“The opportunity to talk and to work directly with the VPs and directors of the group
has been a unique experience. I have loved hearing their backgrounds and experiences
that have led them to the roles they hold. I have learned a lot about possibilities
for my future career on top of technical and analytical skills. I am very thankful
to Neeley for giving me a space to work,” Murrey added.

Virtually, from home

Nolan Dearborn, a senior business information systems major from Orange, California,
is working remotely from his house in Fort Worth as a summer intern on Microsoft’s
account management team, focusing on implementation orchestration for its enterprise

“My team works with some high-level customers like Disney, Tesla and Facebook, where
we’ll build proactive programs to ensure their cloud adoption journey goes as smoothly
as possible,” Dearborn said.

Projects include building a power app to provide the account team with curated financial
information about customers, composing an implementation plan to upgrade a customer’s
cloud security features, and orchestrating a mentorship program for more than 150
employees in his region.

“I’m learning how to best to deal with ambiguity, stand out in such a high-performing
environment and communicate with heightened levels of professionalism. I was worried
that at such a big company, I’d get lost in the crowd. I can confidently say that
hasn’t been the case — but instead I’ve done more than I could’ve imagined and I still
have a month left,” said Dearborn, who is looking forward to joining Microsoft full
time following spring graduation. 

Michael Phillips, a junior marketing major, is interning remotely for Samsung Electronics
America from his home in St. Charles, Illinois.

As an intern on the New Computing Product Management team, Phillips analyzes consumer
perceptions surrounding various display technologies and creates strategic marketing
and branding initiatives. For example, he explored how consumers view AMOLED technology,
a type of display technology used in smart phones, tablets and PCs. 

The experience is helping Phillips develop his communication, interpersonal and presentation

“I have learned how to think strategically and analytically, utilizing a variety of
technical programs. Each day, I am surrounded and guided by inspiring and influential
leaders, allowing for rapid growth and development. At Samsung, collaboration is key
to success, and working with new individuals requires constant learning,” Phillips

Hybrid intern

Last summer, Kristen Fernando, a junior business information systems major in the
John V. Roach Honors College from Southlake, Texas, served a virtual internship with
Toyota Industries Commercial Finance. This summer, she returned to TICF in a hybrid

“The opportunity to experience the Toyota culture in person is something for which
I am grateful. Meeting with others in person has been a great experience. I have built
numerous connections via Teams, but nothing compares to interacting in person,” Fernando

Last summer, she was a commercial finance intern, and this summer she is a data analytics
operations intern.

“Although I am at the same company, each experience is unique, and together they have
taught me the importance of evaluating risks and opportunities. Ultimately, these
internships and my time at TCU have influenced me to pursue a career where I can be
successful, give back to society and make a difference in the world,” Fernando said.

In person on the rails

For her role as a transportation intern with the operations department at BNSF Railway,
Serena Nguyen, a junior supply and value chain management major from Fort Worth, relocated
to Houston for the summer.

One of her projects involves making recommendations to increase efficiency through
decreasing dwell time on trains in one of the Houston rail yards.

“Originally, the plan was to approach the recommendations by changing the locations
of inbound and outbound trains, but after analyzing the data and structure of the
yard, I will pivot my approach and primarily focus on the overall decreasing of dwell
time using a different method,” said Nguyen, who will present her recommendations
to division leaders at the end of her internship.

Nguyen has ridden trains and blown the horn, visited numerous rail yards, witnessed
the process of changing the rails on a track, and shadowed in BNSF’s transportation,
mechanical, engineering, marketing and security departments.

“Through my time as an intern, I have learned how all the departments operate together
and make the railroad run. I have learned about the vitality of the railroad in the
country’s economy, the technological advancements involved in the operations and what
it takes to keep BNSF at the forefront of the freight transportation industry,” Nguyen

She said it’s hard to pinpoint just a single internship highlight: “The experience
I have had during these past few months is unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced
before. The internship has been hands-on, has allowed me to provide valuable input
to the company and has given me a worldview of the successful operations within a
supply chain. I can honestly say that this has been one of the best summers of my
life, and I look forward to bringing my newly profound knowledge back to the TCU community
and into my future career.” 

Previous CMF President Calls for Budget Increase to Allow Carrier Audits
Next UK business groups skeptical of isolation exemption plans