Los Angeles Study Tour

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This past spring break, some of our students had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles to network with Eller alumni and to visit numerous companies in the city. Over the course of four days, the study tour exposed students to Macy’s, DreamWorks, Northrop Grumman, Deloitte, and other companies. This experience not only enabled the students to gain insight on businesses across a wide variety of industries but also what it would be like to work in the LA area. Here are several excerpts of what some of the students had to say about their experiences on the trip:

Macy’s

“The very large retail company has been very successful because of their dedication to customer service, talented staff, and use of technology… A particular area that I am very interested in is how every department store is structured differently based on the customers and location. I learned that the customers in Beverly Hills have a demand for different products than the customers in other locations, so the managers have to analyze that and structure their stores accordingly. It was very interesting to learn about why each product is placed on certain shelves, and it showed that there is much more that happens behind the scenes of a department store than I previously assumed!” – Kelly Shearon 

DreamWorks Animation Studio

“What was impressive is that DreamWorks management has taken extraordinary steps to both motivate and satisfy the most basic needs of its employees; they serve free breakfasts and lunch to all. This is not some high school cafeteria-style menu, but an extensive menu with entire stations devoted to entrees salads, sides (hot and cold), beverages, desserts, and an open barbeque pit sitting atop a waterfall…We had the chance to speak with Jason Skar, head of the finance department. I thought that was interesting being able to apply knowledge from just the last few months to the real concerns and challenges of keeping an enterprise, that exists within a very competitive environment moving ahead and being productive.” – Robert Ewald

Northrop Grumman

“Knowing my grandfather worked at this prestigious company made the trip exciting, but seeing how it all comes together really opened my eyes… The lean system in place takes you from one end with a couple parts to the half-mile long plant on the other side where a jet is finished.  It takes roughly 54 days to complete a quality F-18 Super Hornet and if there is one ‘FOD’ or faulty part the entire jet is brought back into the plant.  This really shows the focus on quality the company and how much they emphasize how things are done properly.” – Dylan Hunt

Deloitte

Deloitte

Deloitte

“The company I enjoyed the most was Deloitte because of how well they treated their new hires and how they spend time mentoring each of them. Each new hire (assistant) has a Senior Assistant mentor, and a Manager mentor… After talking to Rosie and Taylor about their experience at Deloitte University, it really excited me about starting a career with Deloitte… Each person was very positive which makes for a great company environment.” – Patrick Guthrie

Sprinkles Cupcakes

“What I truly loved about Sprinkles Cupcakes was the atmosphere. The shop was so small but the people were so friendly and the cupcakes were worth every single bite. Getting to know Charles on a personal level was incredible. He is such a humble man who believes in his business and only wants it to continue to proper. This company’s growth should inspire all entrepreneurs to take a risk in something they truly believe in because they have no idea how much they might succeed.” – Sivan Shahmoon

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes

“Sprinkles Cupcakes was a visit I really enjoyed. Opening a coffee shop is my dream retirement goal, so hearing Charles talk about the challenges of starting a business was really insightful. There is so much that goes into running a business like having a finance plan, knowing all the different operations your store will need, and meeting regulations from the city that people don’t really consider when opening a store. It took them some time to get the logistics down, but mixing Charles’ financial skills with Candice’s creativity has helped their business to thrive.” – Misi Cummings

Oppenheimer Financial

“The head of asset management, John Blau, shared a personal story that hit home with me. John explained how he was doubted for a number of years until he finally got an opportunity to shine at Oppenheimer Financial. John has achieved indubitable success by building the asset management number to 25 billion dollars. He explained that having a mentor that believed in him was all he needed to create his empire. It was truly inspiring.” – Adam Ali

AOL/Huffington Post

“AOL/Huffington Post was one of the most down-to-earth and innovative companies that I have ever had the privilege to visit. As a marketing student, it was exciting to see all of the different vehicles that can be used to drive a brand in action, and the way this company is using them to help all of its clients, is incredible. With all of your favorite brands moving to online platforms and social media sites, it is becoming so important that these companies implement the right tactics to maintain a culture of people who consume those brands. AOL/Huffington Post certainly knows how to do just that, while also maintaining the best community culture that I’ve ever seen.” – Lindsey Burton

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