Matching A Prospective Employer’s Values to Your Own
Joni Lewis MBA’11
Corporate Finance Academy
Students go through a four-phase process to help them discover the right career, improve their networking and interviewing, and prepare to perform on the job.
Joni Lewis worked in finance before she came to Kelley, and she plans to continue in finance after graduation. What she has learned in the MBA program, however, will dramatically accelerate her career. “Before I was putting together the reports that my managers used to make decisions. Now, I hope to be making some of those decisions myself.”
Because Joni already had a clear understanding of the role she wanted, she concentrated on finding out which companies were a good fit for her values and long-term goals. One top priority was international opportunities. Another was a commitment to corporate social responsibility. “These days, every company talks about it on their websites,” she observes, “but only a few actually make social responsibility a core part of their operations.”
Joni saw her internship interviews as an opportunity to research prospective employers while showcasing her skills. To make the most of her interviews, she practiced mock interviews for hours with her career coach and second-year students in her Academy. “You get the technical prep from your Academy and Kelley Graduate Career Services, but in mock interviews, you really understand how you’re portraying yourself,” she says. As a result, she was polished, prepared, and professional in interviews.
After talking to 10 companies, she chose Cummins, a multinational manufacturer that builds power generation equipment. Her internship helped her further explore her interests in finance and strategy. It also gave her the opportunity to collaborate with a local nonprofit group in a meaningful way—creating new jobs for local citizens with disabilities by helping them take over confidential paper shredding for the company. Joni completed a feasibility study and developed a pilot program that is putting people to work today. “They’re helping Cummins grow as a business,” she says, “but Cummins is also helping the community in return.”
The effort she put into finding the right internship paid off. She enjoyed her work at Cummins so much that she accepted a full-time offer from the company. The key, she says, was knowing herself.
“Organizations want people who fit. If you can’t tell them who you are, they can’t tell whether you fit or not,” she says. “When you understand what you want, it’s so much easier to find the right position.”