CofC Logo
Ask the Cougar

Leanna Conti ‘19 is all about storytelling through data. Equipped with a knack for analytics and a tenacity to hone her digital marketing skills, the information management minor successfully landed an internship this summer with SnapCap by LendingTree, a lending firm founded by CofC alum Hunter Stunzi that connects small businesses with loans.

The School of Business sat down with Conti to find out more about her internship, daily duties and the ways the experience has reinforced what she’s learned in the classroom.

Conti

What made you decide to pursue SnapCap for an internship?

I came to the College as a Swanson Scholar in the Honors College. That program was made possible by Steve Swanson ‘89, a generous alum and graduate of the honors program. He also happens to serve as an advisor for SnapCap. I had heard from him, as well as others, that the company was doing great things here in Charleston. When it came time to look for a summer internship, I knew I wanted to further my experience in the field of digital marketing and SnapCap by LendingTree had an open position that fit the bill.

That really worked out for you! Can you tell us a little about your day-to-day duties at your internship?

My duties vary day-to-day but typically revolve around search engine marketing. Every day I’m doing hands-on work running tests and performing optimizations. I put together weekly and monthly reports as well as ad-hoc analyses for any questions that may arise. I’ve been strongly encouraged to pursue any area of the business that I’m interested in here, which makes every day unique and exciting!

It sounds like you’re gaining a lot of real-world experience. Are there any classes you’ve taken that directly relate to what you’re doing at SnapCap?

I was enrolled in the first iteration of Professor Lancie Affonso’s MKTG 360 digital marketing class. That class helped pique my interest in the realm of digital marketing and its ability to toe the line between business, technology and data science. Around the same time, I took Professor Christopher Starr’s INFM 350 business analytics course, an offering from the new Information Management minor. That course gave me an understanding of data management that is invaluable as a business student in today’s world. At my internship, I feel confident pulling information from databases using SQL (structured query language) — a feat I couldn’t have imagined doing before taking Professor Starr’s class.

What have you learned from your internship?

I’ve been taught the incredible power of data as a decision-making tool and its prescriptive capabilities. Additionally, I’ve seen the sentiment “always be testing” in full force, which can be applied in any area of one’s life. Even the smallest .0001 percent improvement can make an impact when you’re working at the incredible scale that LendingTree is. It’s not enough to remain stagnant, one must always be looking for the newest edge or next leg up.

Summer’s quickly winding down. What skills have you gained that you will take with you into the Fall?

I hope to walk away from this internship with stronger analytical and interpersonal capabilities. I would also like to continue to pursue new trends in digital marketing and have a better understanding of how those trends can be applied to benefit companies as small as startups to as large as LendingTree.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Ruben UrquizaRuben Urquiza is an efficient guy. Or rather, he likes executing tasks in a logistical manner so that the end goal is met in an efficient and effective way. This summer, the international business major from Westminster, South Carolina, is fine tuning his logistics and efficiency skills with an internship at Mercedes-Bens Vans in North Charleston, S.C. Read full story here »

School of Business Hires New MBA Director

By Liz Monahan
Posted on 3 July 2018 | 9:42 am

The College of Charleston School of Business one-year MBA program, recently named first in the nation for job placement by U.S. News & World Report, isn’t just attracting accolades — it’s also attracting new leadership.

This July, the ranked program hired Ron Magnuson, former director of administration for the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, to serve as CofC’s new director of MBA and professional programming.

As director, Magnuson plans to provide strategic guidance and direction to enhance the MBA program and is dedicated to working closely with faculty, staff, students and the business community to develop additional opportunities for professional programming.

Dean of the College of Charleston School of Business, Alan Shao, has big expectations for the former Panther. “I am thrilled that Ron has chosen Charleston as his new home and am confident that he will continue to bolster the reputation of our world-class MBA program,” says Shao, who served as interim MBA director for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Magnuson says he’s excited to work with an MBA program that has so many strong features including a one-year cohort, a mentoring program, international trip, outstanding faculty, 100% placement, executive forums and, of course, a number-one destination location.

“My vision is to further distinguish the MBA program by providing unparalleled ROI to students and to graduate students who uniquely demonstrate the professional development skills desired by employers,” he says. “Ultimately, we plan to leverage the world-class reputation of the MBA program to offer other quality programs such as an EMBA and executive education.”

During his tenure with Katz, Magnuson worked closely with the dean, 110 staff and 90 full-time faculty to coordinate the strategic planning for the business school, which is consistently ranked in the top 20 U.S. public business schools. He also served as a clinical assistant professor (2014-2018), where his primary responsibility was coordinating and teaching the MBA capstone class. He also taught a number of undergraduate and executive courses, including business ethics, labor relations and leadership.

Although Magnuson has dedicated over a decade of his professional life to higher education, he spent most of his career in the corporate world. After receiving his Electrical Engineering degree from Bucknell University, he worked as an engineer for two different utility companies for about six years.

He then earned an MBA and was appointed to various management positions at Allegheny Energy. His two key executive positions were the Executive Director of Human Resources and Vice President of the Customer Business Unit.

As part of Allegheny’s management development program, Ron participated in a number of external professional development programs including the Advanced Management Program at Wharton.

Magnuson has always been very involved in community and industry organizations and was a member of several Boards of Directors. He was the chairman of the Energy Association of Pennsylvania, the Marketing Executive Conference and the Pitt Greensburg Advisory Board. The latter gave him the opportunity to be a member of the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees.

A father of five children and grandfather to three, Ron is a resident of Daniel Island, where he lives with his wife Charlene.

The College of Charleston School of Business MBA program has ranked first in the country for job placement, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The College’s accelerated one-year MBA program tied for first place with Northern Arizona University for job placement three months after graduation. Every MBA graduate from the Class of 2017 from both institutions had jobs just three months after they earned their degrees.

The College’s 2017 MBA cohort had a 100 percent job placement rate — 16 percent higher than the average placement rate for ranked, full-time MBA programs that year.

U.S. News & World Report also recognized CofC’s MBA program as one of the best MBA programs in the United States, ranking the program No. 95 on its Best Grad School Rankings list. The College is just one of three institutions (including Drexel University and Northern Arizona University) ranked in the nation’s top 100 MBA programs with an annual enrollment of fewer than 50 students.

The exciting news comes on the heels of last year’s accolades, when the MBA program was ranked No. 8 in the nation for MBA programs with the most women.

Alan T. Shao, Dean of the School of Business

Alan Shao, dean of the School of Business and interim director of the MBA program, is not surprised by the latest rankings.

“Despite being a newer program, our MBA offers something many others do not — an immediate job network,” Shao says. “The school has an unparalleled relationship with local business leaders who offer their expertise not only as mentors and lecturers but as employers, often providing MBA students with career and internship opportunities.”

Michael Balke, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans

One such leader, Michael Balke, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, has had many positive experiences working with and hiring College of Charleston MBAs.

“The College of Charleston’s MBA program has provided Mercedes-Benz Vans (MBV) with a valuable pipeline for emerging local talent in the business field,” says Balke. “MBV continues to foster a strong relationship with the College of Charleston and looks forward to bringing in more promising MBA alumni in the future.”

Last year, two College of Charleston MBA alumni were hired by Balke and currently work for the Mercedes-Benz Vans Charleston team — one as a product controller and the other as a financial analyst.

The College of Charleston MBA is a one-year, fulltime program for high-achieving students. Accredited by AACSB International, the program offers a personalized academic experience and positions students for careers in diverse fields and industries.

The College of Charleston School of Business recently hosted a fireside chat with local businessman Tommy Baker and retired vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina Jack Jones during the Fifth-Annual Tommy Baker Entrepreneurship Hour.

At this year’s event, hosted by the business school’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Carter Real Estate Center, Baker interviewed Jones in a sit-down that highlighted his professional journey, as well as his time at the Boeing South Carolina site.

The Tommy Baker Entrepreneurship Hour is named after the well-known Charleston philanthropist, owner and president of Baker Motor Company. The annual event seeks to connect budding and seasoned entrepreneurs alike on hot topics in the industry. A prominent figure at the School of Business, Baker taught a senior-level entrepreneurship class at the College for 22 years before retiring from instructing in 2013. He currently serves on the School’s Board of Governors where he’s been a member for more than 20 years.

“Here at the School of Business, our close ties to the business community allow us to host some of the most distinguished business leaders, such as Jack Jones,” says Alan T. Shao, dean of the School of Business. “During the span of his career, Jack has established himself as an outstanding global business leader, one that our students can look to as a source of inspiration.”

A retired VP and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, Jones oversaw Boeing’s operations and facilities in North Charleston before retiring in 2015.

Prior to joining the Boeing South Carolina team in March 2011, Jones served as vice president of its Everett Delivery Center, overseeing Airplane-on-Ground, Paint, Pre-Flight and Delivery operations for the Boeing wide-body models (747, 767, 777 and 787) assembled in Everett, Wash.

left to right: Tommy Baker; Chad Ross ’18; Jack Jones; and David Wyman, Ph.D.

Jones’ history with Boeing spanned many years. The ops expert began his career with the company as an industrial engineer in 1980 on the 757 Program. He spent time working on several commercial and military programs, including B-2 Stealth Bomber and Air Force One prior to his assignment in Everett.

The Entrepreneurship Hour also included its annual one-minute elevator pitch competition, featuring the finalists for the 2018 Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Biology major and entrepreneurship minor Chad Ross ’18 won the $1,000 prize for his business pitch on Chuck Waters Apparel—a clothing line dedicated to providing simple and comfortable clothing while donating proceeds to vulnerable communities everywhere.

How does the Cuban economy differ from the United States?

That was the question of the hour during the latest BB&T Free Market Speaker Series event put on by the Center for Public Choice and Market Process. The lecture featured Bill Trumbull, Ph.D., a professor of Economics at The Citadel and an authority on socialist and post-socialist economies.

The event, which dove into the complexities of the Cuban economy, incorporated Trumbull’s firsthand experiences in Cuba — where he takes his students on a 10-day fieldtrip each year.

Will McEwen ’20, one of the Center’s scholars, found the talk to be “thoroughly engaging” and pertinent to the discussion that is currently taking place about socialist economies.

Another scholar, Rachel Bradley ‘19, felt that the talk heightened her understanding of the Cuban economy and left her “more interested in the political factors behind the rise of [socialism] in Cuba and other nations.”

The BB&T lecture was hosted in conjunction with the College of Charleston’s Cuba on the Horizon program. An interdisciplinary initiative, Cuba on the Horizon investigates the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba and explores the rich history and culture of the Caribbean island nation.

About the Center for Public Choice & Market Process
The Center for Public Choice & Market Process was created in 2015 following the growth in programming of the Initiative for Public Choice and Market Process, which was founded in the fall of 2008. The Center advances the understanding of the economic, political and moral foundations of a free market society. The Center supports the growth and development of teaching and research at the College of Charleston School of Business while engaging students and the Charleston community. Visit the Center’s website or Facebook page, or contact Peter Calcagno, Center director, at ipcmp@cofc.edu or 843-953-4279 to learn more about events, programs, and funding opportunities.

 

The College of Charleston School of Business has partnered with local impact investment firm In Place Impact to host Impact Day, an educational event tailored for entrepreneurs who are interested in making a difference while making a profit.

The event will feature discussions around impact investing and corporate social responsibility from some of the biggest names in business, including Anita Zucker, CEO of The InterTech Group, and former Wall Street investment banker Darla Moore.

The CEO and financial industry leader are teaming up with In Place Impact founder and Impact Day organizer, Stuart Williams, to inspire other business leaders to think critically about how they invest their time and money.

But the day-long affair isn’t just for high-profile executives. A select group of CofC business students will participate in the event as well, showcasing the high-impact business models they have created through the School’s Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Technology (ICAT).

Williams, who serves as an ICAT instructor and School of Business Impact Entrepreneur-in-Residence, says his ultimate goal is to cultivate the next generation of impact entrepreneurs.

“By introducing impact entrepreneurship and investment curriculum into the classroom, we’re giving students the tools they need to build a more sustainable future for humanity and the environment that supports it,” says Williams. “Impact Day is purposed to expose Charleston to the incredible work being done on Impact at the School of Business, and to the exciting genre of impact investing in general.”

Dean of the School of Business, Alan Shao, is equally committed to fostering a culture of impact entrepreneurship at the College.

“Here at the business school, we strive to equip our students with the support they need to become successful and socially responsible business leaders,” says Shao. “Through initiatives like Impact Day, we are able to simultaneously reinforce that commitment and showcase the incredible, impactful work of our students.”

Impact Day will be held on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, and includes events at both the School of Business and the Gaillard Center. Platinum sponsors include Wells Fargo and Greystar; gold sponsors include The Montford Group; and participating sponsors include Be Earth Foundation Coastal Community Foundation, the College of Charleston Center for Entrepreneurship and the College of Charleston Carter Real Estate Center.

To learn more about this event, purchase tickets or become a sponsor, visit the Impact Day website. The deadline is March 14, 2018.

PVBLIC Foundation chairman and co-founder, Sergio Fernandez de Cordova will speak to the College of Charleston School of Business and members of the community on March 28 as a part of Impact Day.

De Cordova, an internationally renowned entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, will discuss the intersection between social impact and financial prosperity, highlighting successful business models that align with the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

De Cordova has led a variety of private-public, impact-driven partnerships with leaders across the globe and currently serves as a delegate in the U.S. State Department’s entrepreneurship program. He is also a member of the Global Entrepreneurs Council of the United Nations.

Among several notable achievements, De Cordova was recently honored by the United Nations with the Global Social Impact Award, and was named one of Dell’s #Inspired 100 leading global influencers in entrepreneurship in 2012. The entrepreneurial pioneer has served on more than 20 boards and has been featured on CNN, ABC, Bloomberg TV and several other major news networks.

His lecture will be a part of the School’s George G. Spaulding Distinguished Executive Speaker Series — one of the many events slated for the inaugural Impact Day, presented by In Place Impact and the College of Charleston School of Business.

A day-long affair, Impact Day seeks to challenge local entrepreneurs to make Charleston a hub for businesses purposed to make a difference while making a profit. Participants will gain an understanding of impact investing, as well as the role the College of Charleston School of Business plays in creating the next wave of impact entrepreneurs.

De Cordova’s talk will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28 in the School of Business Wells Fargo Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Those interested in attending are required to RSVP here.

Studies show that companies do most of their hiring during the first two months of the year. With businesses eager to bring on new talent, there’s no better time to spruce up your resume than now. That’s why the College of Charleston School of Business Student Success Center (SSC) is launching Resume Month this February.

Enter SSC’s Cory Werkheiser: assistant director of career and professional development and the man who’s making Resume Month happen. Poised to take students’ professional skills to the next level, Werkheiser wants to make sure all resumes from our business students are blunder-proof.

We sat down with the career guru to talk a little about the do’s (and don’ts) of a well-done resume.

 

Q: Being the assistant director of career and professional development, I’m sure you’ve seen a ton of resumes — the good and the bad. Is there anything you wish students would leave off of their resumes?

A: Coffee stains. Actually, most of the time I assist students with adding things they never thought of including like volunteer experience or details about study abroad programs.

Q: What’s the best funky font to include on your resume?

A: If you are using the word funky to describe your resume font you’ve already failed… Keep it simple Calibri or Arial. Times New Roman if you insist on having letters with serifs.

Q: Some students are discouraged by the brevity of their resumes. What advice do you have for Cougars with less professional experience?

A: Get involved! Join clubs and professional organizations related to your major/minor. Volunteer with organizations that support your interests or hobbies. Look for opportunities to job shadow or intern to gain experience, and seek out leadership positions whenever possible. All of this enhances your resume and expands your professional network.

Q: We all want to secure our dream job. What’s a major resume DON’T? On the flip-side, what’s one thing students should never leave off of their resume?

A: Don’t add any kind of picture or clip art. Always include accurate, up-to-date contact information.

Q: Is it okay to include jobs and extracurricular activities from high school?

A: Rarely, but I review that with the student on a case-by-case basis.

Q: So, your killer resume just got you an interview. What should you never leave home without when meeting with a potential employer for the first time?

A: A hard copy list (don’t trust your phone!) of the following details: When you are meeting, where the interview is located, and with whom you are meeting. And a breath mint!

Q: Any last words?

A: Using statistical data that I just made up, 98.3% of resumes have something that needs to be corrected, added, or removed. Simple spelling or grammar errors can be the single factor that removes you from consideration. Get the resume reviewed, reviewed, and reviewed!

 

Stop by the Student Success Center (Beatty Center, Suite 100) anytime this month to  have your resume revamped for success. And, be sure to follow the SSC on Instagram, at @cofc_sb_ssc!

The College’s former president, P. George Benson, Ph.D., who currently teaches supply chain classes at the College of Charleston School of Business, has been re-elected as chairman of the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award for the third consecutive year.

Hailing from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania — home of his alma mater Bucknell University — Benson has an impressive background in higher education.

During his tenure as the 21st president of the College of Charleston, Benson launched the R.E.A.C.H. program, hired a chief diversity officer and established a North Campus to accommodate the growing campus community, among several other achievements.

Ever caught a ride on the Cougar Shuttle or received a Cougar Alert on your phone? You can thank Benson for that. He also acquired state approval for our one-year MBA program, now playing a definitive role in taking business professionals to the next level.

In addition to serving on the board of directors of several companies, including the Baldrige Foundation, he has served as the dean of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business and Rutgers University Business School.  Benson will also be the master of ceremonies for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Ceremony during the 2018 Quest for Excellence Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on April 8, 2018. This is his sixth and final year as chair of the Foundation and master of ceremonies of the award ceremony.

Benson currently serves on the board alongside William Troy, CEO of the American Society for Quality; Scott McIntyre, president and CEO of PwC Public Sector; and Tony Scott, former CIO of the United States government, among several other industry powerhouses.

Skip to toolbar