Tag: AT&T

Part of a series about summer internships from Olin MBA ’20 students. Today we hear from Abraham Kola-Amodu, who worked at AT&T as a finance intern.

I spent 13 weeks of the summer as a finance leadership development program intern at AT&T corporation. Before landing this opportunity, I harnessed available resources within and outside of Olin. I attended conferences, browsed company websites, job search websites and finally, the now disengaged MBA Focus.

The latter was where I’d found the job posting, as AT&T has some partnership with Olin Business School. I applied and was invited to perform a personality test online, which led me to the next stage.

Before my first interview, I recalled that the last interview I’d had was over a month prior. I knew I was rusty and not smooth, so I engaged Jeff Stockton, a career coach with the Weston Career Center, who gave me a solid prep one hour before my interview. The rest is news.

My work at AT&T, even though it was in finance, entails a lot of project and team management. Luckily, a lot of team activities, people, time and project management skills were taught in the first year, and that was what helped me the most in the period of my internship.

For the remainder of business school, I intend to brush up more on some aspects of finance, because there were some topics that I saw a few other interns discuss and I was totally blank on. This is not to say there were no topics I knew that were alien to them also.

My typical day at work is very unlike many others. I spend about three to four hours a day on meetings. Why? Because my role is heavily strategy based and by reason of that, I must meet with different teams on what to do next, appraise what was done and decide how to make improvements to the existing ideas and concepts we have.

Another hour or so of my day is spent networking—coffee chats or meet-and-greets with the top-level management company officials. Also, in many instances, an hour is spent on events or programs organized specifically for the interns, which ranges from volunteer activities to trainings and happy hour. The remainder of the day is my “me time” to do my actual work.

The finance leadership development program is geared at getting MBAs to lead the company, which is why it is structured in a way that we always meet with the executives. Networking is very vital in climbing the corporate ladder here at AT&T, thereby helping me get set of achieving my C-suite goal.

In the past week, we have been lucky enough to visit a number of very well known companies.  Two of my favorite visits have been to AT&T and to Microsoft. While I expected to have very formal lectures at both places, I was pleasantly surprised by the laid back nature of the discussions. We were graciously welcomed into both establishments.  The presenters were wearing jeans and seemed very excited to talk to us. I did not find out until later that one of the speakers at Microsoft was actually a very senior executive who is responsible for running a large part of the Israeli firm. This is more evidence of the casual, and humble nature of many people in Israel.

Guest Blogger: Jessie is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis

Aside from the welcoming atmosphere, I was impressed by the topic of discussion. At both places, we talked about the role these companies are playing in fueling Israel’s startup culture. Both AT&T and Microsoft have programs that encourage young entrepreneurs who have valuable ideas.

More specifically, the AT&T center has its International Innovation Center in Ra’anana, and Microsoft funds a start up program called Microsoft Ventures. The innovation center is a place where a number of innovators collaborate, share ideas, and think of ways to better the experience for an AT&T customer. It is interesting to note, however, that AT&T has no ownership over these companies and they can scale, grow and shift market in whichever way they please.

Arch grants signI found the Microsoft Ventures program particularly interesting because it is a program that pairs a startup with a mentor company in order to help the business grow. This semester, I did a presentation on Arch Grants, and had the pleasure of learning about their entrepreneurial competition. Just as Microsoft Ventures aims to foster the entrepreneurial spirit of Israel, Arch Grants aims to do the same for St. Louis. Just as Arch Grants funds a number of companies located in T-Rex, a center for entrepreneurs to collaborate, both Israeli accelerators give different entrepreneurs a physical space to exchange ideas.

I saw many other parallels in the programs, but he most astounding one was that neither Microsoft nor Arch Grants took any equity in the companies they helped. Although Arch Grants does not currently pair a start up with a mentor company, my team suggested they should. As proven by Microsoft, having a mentor company can give the startup a number of extremely useful resources. They are also both competitions, funding only the winners of extensive rounds of selection. Picking the finest companies and assisting them does great service to both the startup culture and the innovative spirit of both regions.