“My career advisor didn’t have to flip through some notebook to figure out who I was.”
A change of scenery pays off for California native Melissa Miro
Hometown: San Diego, California.
Former life: Worked with the San Diego-based non-profit International Visit Leadership Program, which brings world leaders like Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy to the United States.
Current career: Commodity manager for American Airlines.
Cool fact: She keeps a spreadsheet to track all her business contacts.
The draw of DFW: A sister living in Texas urged Melissa to move from California. After Melissa studied Dallas-Fort Worth’s solid economy, she didn’t need much arm-twisting. “The more I learned about the metroplex — and its strong, diversified economy — the more attractive it sounded. I haven't regretted my move once, and I know I wouldn't have gotten this job if I had stayed in California.”
Company store: On a Neeley & Associates consulting project for Bell Helicopter, Melissa’s team analyzed sales data, interacted with new vendors and strategized how to improve inventory for an underperforming Bell merchandise store and website. She was chosen as a principal/project leader for a second-year project to use social media to shape public debate about natural gas drilling in urban settings. “Coming from a nonprofit and wanting to move into a more corporate environment, these consulting projects gave me a small taste of what it would be like to make that transition.”
Show time: On top of delivering experience managing projects and people, the consulting projects gave Melissa the chance to pitch her best ideas to company VPs. She put those skills to work in her first weeks on the job at American Airlines. “Some people get nervous when they meet with the big boss, but I get excited. Because I’ve done these pitches before, I know it’s a great opportunity to get noticed and have your ideas heard. I can go in calmly and put my best foot forward.”
The power of small: After earning her bachelor’s from a school so big she rarely had the same person in class twice, she saw TCU’s small classes and personal attention as competitive advantages. “I liked that my career advisor is knew my name and face and not have to flip through some notebook to figure out who I was.”
Competitive spirit: For kicks — and a well-deserved study break — she played on an MBA intramural football team known as the Geriatrics. “We were old compared to the undergrads. Their ages ranged from 18-21, and ours ranged from 24-33. Think twice before playing intramural sports against the undergrads. I broke a finger, and we've had shoulder injuries, sprained ankles and a torn ACL!”
Payback time: Melissa’s TCU MBA earned a return Wall Street would kill for. She secured her dream job six months before graduation — and it paid two-and-a-half times her previous salary. “I was ecstatic about the job. I get to manage service contracts for ski towns in the United States and all American Airlines airports in the Caribbean. I have family in Peru and California, so working for an airline has some real fringe benefits in terms of travel and airline miles. A lot of my MBA friends also got their dream jobs and exactly the positions they were targeting.”
It’s about connections: From professors helping her spot open positions to alumni coaching her to on-the-job success, Melissa benefitted from TCU’s tight-knit, motivated network. At graduation, there were some misty eyes. “The feeling you get when you meet other students and professors lets you know this is a special place. When you visit campus, you’ll see how TCU is different from other business schools.”