Former U.S. Army Captain and West Point grad Marissa Limsiaco is flying high
Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas.
Former career: U.S. Army Captain in an aviation unit.
Future life: Starting her own digital marketing business.
Cool fact: She meets for monthly lunches with mentor Bob Bolen, the former mayor of Fort Worth.
People skills: With a systems engineering degree from West Point and five years of service in the Army, Marissa is making a total career change. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a running start. She was in charge of 105 people in the aviation unit in Iraq, dealing with arming and fueling aircraft. “That taught me a lot about leadership and project management. I’ve worked with people from all backgrounds and I’m confident in my people skills. Speaking in front of a crowd? No sweat.”
Generally speaking: Marissa’s customizable concentration gave her the management knowhow she needed for her summer internship with BuzzShift, a digital marketing firm. “I’m creating apps, managing projects and developing a business plan. With management as my focus, I absorb as much as I can about every industry. It’s great preparation for when I start my own company.”
Why TCU? TCU’s small size means personal attention, which was one of the deciding factors when plotting her next career. At TCU, she encountered the same one-on-one time with the professors and staff members that she valued at West Point. “The Graduate Career Center was integral in helping me transition out of the Army. The staff put me in touch with businesses, did mock interviews with me and even gave me fashion tips for interviews. I had no idea there was ‘stocking etiquette!’ The people here would go to the end of the world to help you to succeed.”
Real (estate) world: The Neeley & Associates Consulting program gives students the chance to test their mettle and solve business problems for major companies. Marissa’s work with Hillwood, Ross Perot Jr.’s company, showed her the inner workings of the real estate industry. As consultants, her team recommended how the company should operate for the next 20 years. Her research included hopping a jet to meet with execs and getting a first-hand view of the Stapleton development in California. “The real estate industry is constantly evolving — you’ve got to think about sustainability. And I learned the importance of the relationships between the developer, the residents and the city’s government. It’s all about long-term thinking.”
First of all: Thanks to solid strategy, good teamwork and long hours, Marissa’s team won the integrative project business simulation, an end-of-semester rite of passage for TCU MBAs. “At first, we focused on one product and invested too much on capacity. We dug ourselves into a little hole. But I knew from my Army experience that the key is to stay calm. We adjusted our strategy, took advantage of another team’s price war and came from behind to win the whole thing. I was pumped and really proud of what we accomplished.”
Straight talk with CEOs: Head honchos like Ross Perot Jr., John Garrison (CEO with Bell Helicopter) and Lauri Curtis (VP of American Airlines) dispense nuggets of wisdom at TCU’s C-Level Confidential dinners. These intimate conversations offer insight into business issues and career planning — and a rare glimpse inside the CEO mindset. “I was interested to learn how to balance a personal life and career when you’re at the top of the game in corporate America. You need to be with a partner who’s 100 percent behind you. And know when to put work away.”
Never say never: Life at TCU is more than statistical models and financial reporting. International trips, campus connections and class projects lead students to experience a lot of “firsts.” “I never thought I’d go to South Africa to study micro lending and dive with sharks. Or that I could pick up the phone and bounce ideas off Bob Bolen, the former mayor of Fort Worth for my Neeley & Associates Consulting project. Or ride in a corporate jet. And I never, ever dreamed I’d be cheering for a football team that won the Rose Bowl.”