September 28, 2015 by texasbbacareerservices
My College to Corporate Experience:
Do you remember the start of your freshman year? Not knowing exactly what to expect… Being anxious about “doing it wrong”…
That was me all over again as I headed into my senior year at McCombs and the last steps towards my future career, aka “The Rest of Your Life”. Truth be told, I was not one of those students who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was getting my degree in finance with a minor in marketing (thanks to a study abroad program in Paris, which I highly recommend), but I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do as a career. In combing through the job postings on the career services site, I came across Stage Stores, Inc. and their Executive Trainee Program (ET Program).
The ET Program at Stage (program options: Finance, Accounting, Internal Audit, Merchandising, Planning & Allocations, and Information Systems) is a campus to corporate program targeted towards college graduates with the potential to be future leaders at Stage. It’s a rotational program that first introduces you not only to the division that you’ll be a part of but how each division of the company fits together like puzzle pieces in the big picture strategy.
The idea of being able to rotate throughout various areas of the finance division and experience what it really means to be a Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst, a Treasury Analyst, etc. seemed like a GREAT fit. And as it turned out, the ET Program was PERFECT for me!
The biggest, immediate benefits in the ET Program are:
- Starting day 1 with a group of students just like you
- Being assigned a mentor that’s been through the program so you have a go-to person whose not your supervisor (for all the questions you feel are less than intelligent)
- Going through training classes and job shadowing before tackling the corporate world on your own
As an Executive Trainee (ET), I started in the Financial Planning & Analysis group and have worked in a multitude of roles since then. I helped create the Pricing Accuracy department, oversaw the company’s largest expense line item, store payroll, worked in Talent Development for Store Operations, and have now found a home running Corporate Recruiting & College Relations. With each new opportunity, I’ve been able to apply the analytical skills from my degree while continuously building on my diverse foundation.
I must say that I was a bit skeptical when I was told as an ET that the company’s goal for this program was for me to be a future leader within the organization. Being able to step back and see how far I’ve come as a professional and a current leader for Stage is a truly amazing feeling.
Being the person now responsible for bringing in talented, young professionals for our ET Program is so much fun! We’re out on campuses every semester looking for students with proven leadership capabilities, self-motivation, a willingness to learn, and the mindset to make a difference.
If I could give one piece of career advice to students it would be to explore your options and find the opportunity that’s the PERFECT fit for you… your personality, your lifestyle, your values. You’re going to spend a lot of time working. You deserve to enjoy it!