Immersion Learning

How the SSO Immersion Helped Prepare Me for My Consulting Career

by Michelle J. Drevet, MBA ‘11 (12/17/12)
Michelle J. Drevet, MBA ‘11

The Immersion Program at Johnson truly helped prepare me for my career switch to consulting. It provided real-world experience that I could talk about in interviews, it reaffirmed course learning so I was better prepared to solve organizations’ most pressing strategic issues, and it brought me closer to my classmates, which proved to be a strong network post business school.

Before entering the Strategic Operations Immersion I was hesitant to consider the program, as I feared it would be solely focused on manufacturing and production. But after speaking with fellow alumni, I learned it was much more than that. During my time in the Immersion we visited a broad depth of organizations including a hospital, medical lab facility, hotel chain, food company, and manufacturers of commercial glass, knives, fire hydrants, and trains, just to name a few. This exposure helped me understand how supply chain operations affect the strategic goals of every type of business. 

I learned the struggles a fire hydrant manufacturer had with forecasting demand, the issues a chip manufacturer had with dealing with changing prices of their inputs, and the concerns of a food company in optimizing a schedule for the truck fleet. I was able to discuss all of these experiences in interviews, and it showed my ability to think as a leader.

In my summer internship at a consulting firm, I was tasked with helping a high-tech telecommunications client negotiate the price of a critical component of their operations. We worked through understanding the current supply base, technological shifts of the part within the industry, and historic purchasing patterns. We were able to help the client determine which models were the best for future purchases and negotiate reduced prices by consolidating purchases to one global hub as well as building a product depreciation/cost model to argue the true value of the part. To me, the internship was an extended visit to one of our company tours. I was able to leverage the many skills I gained to build a framework to approach the client issue methodically and strategically. I am grateful for all that I learned, and I still apply a great deal of it to my consulting work every day.