Taking a Liking to Consulting
How did the Mason School of Business and it's networking community help Jim Fenningham go from a lifeguard at the Jersey shore to an intern at IBM?
Born and raised in Philadelphia, I didn't know very much about William & Mary growing up. I only knew that we always drove past it on family trips to Busch Gardens. However once I visited and met the swim team, I realized what a great school it was and how much I wanted to be a part of the community. Then business school happened. I have never once doubted my decision, as it has developed me from a beach lifeguard into a traveling consultant in one short year.
I was determined to pursue business from early on, but the completion of Miller Hall left me with no doubts. As a member of the first class to have their Foundation Semester in the new building, I am extremely grateful for the resources we have been provided. When I showed my family the new building, my mom exclaimed, "This is beautiful. You could have your wedding reception here!" Let's wait at least another 10 years for that conversation, Mom.
I chose an Individual Program of Study with a Marketing major and a concentration in Management & Organizational Leadership because I will likely pursue a career in sales. I feel that this combination of coursework will complement and develop the skill set necessary for success in that type of position.
Impact & Engagement
As I enter the fourth quarter of my college experience, I find myself much busier than in any other year. Being a member of the Varsity Swim Team demands a significant portion of my time, but I'm really excited for this upcoming season. While the early morning training sessions and long weekend meets can be tough, tasty treats at the campus dining facilities seem to always be the perfect remedy.
Of my different positions on the team, the most exciting involves performing the "Towel Cheer". While this cheer has finally found its way back into Kaplan Arena for basketball games, it has been rallying the pool decks for over 25 years.
Outside of swimming, I have become as active as possible within the Business Program. I am a Student Mentor for new students entering the program, as well as a member of the Undergraduate Community Council that represents the entire Undergraduate Business community. These have been great opportunities to get to know fellow students, as well as the faculty that have put so much of their time into making Mason's program the high-caliber program it is. Also through the business program, I had the chance to eat lunch with Aaron Williams, now former Director of the Peace Corps, as well as introduce Chip Mason, the schools namesake, at a recent conference.
Highlights & Next Steps
Its crazy to see how much I have changed both as a student and a person in just one year. A lot of this is due to the great networking community that the Mason School of Business has provided. Last fall, I had the opportunity to speak about my experiences and views on the College at a large alumni event over Homecoming weekend. There I met one alumna that helped me in my daunting search for an internship. Her aid ultimately led to a summer internship with IBM.
I soon learned that my position would involve flying out to Pittsburgh every Monday. There I helped a large consumer products company with their global implementation of SAP business software. It was an amazing experience getting to network with so many people, living out of a suitcase, and learning about business processes and change management. I even got to squeeze in some time with my main man, Jackie Robinson. After a hard four days in the office, I would fly back to Philly every Thursday night, where I worked in the Center City office on Fridays. This summer job has exposed me to how exciting a position in consulting can be, and has opened up many possibilities for my future career.