Neeley Connections

Think on your feet — and like a CEO

Peer into the minds of CEOs. In the Neeley Connections program, you’ll experience the challenges they face every day and learn about the thinking process that guides their decisions.

You’ll travel to corporations like IBM and Southwest Airlines, meet business leaders from a spectrum of industries and bust your brain solving problems alongside top executives. You’ll break into teams to brainstorm solutions to the company’s current challenges. It’s a chance to hear how execs frame problems and weigh options — and to show off how well you think on your feet.

What can Neeley Connections mean for you? It’s face-time with DFW’s top business leaders. It’s a rare chance to see behind the scenes of corporate decision making. And it’s a perfect way to make connections for future employment. Almost a third of students who participate in Neeley Connections are hired for internships or full-time jobs.

The problems are often ripped from the headlines or plucked from the latest corporate board meetings. Here are some recent challenges that put TCU students to the test:

  • Frito-Lay: What’s the competitive threat when rival Snyder’s of Hanover (the nation’s #1 pretzel company) buys out Utz Potato Chips? The merger happened just days before, and TCU students brainstormed with Frito-Lay VPs about how it would affect market share in the multi-billion-dollar chip industry.
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics: How can you control the media frenzy following a leak about a technical problem that will force the redesign of several components? TCU students worked through the entire process from managing the media to fast-tracking manufacturing changes.
  • DFW International Airport: How can one of America’s busiest airports adapt to future passenger needs and increase overall revenue? Students reviewed demographics, existing passenger amenities, on-site advertising options and gross sales before making on-the-spot recommendations about what the airport should stop, start, continue and change.
  • IBM: What methods work best to build consumer brand awareness for an established company? TCU students fired off ideas, and then IBM reps gave instant feedback on how those ideas fit with the company’s overall marketing strategy. It was a win-win situation: IBM got fresh ideas that affirmed their internal business decisions, while TCU students discovered that they were thinking in the right direction.

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