MBA Joseph Russomanno and his classmate Shawn Zhang during a 5K run as interns at Verizon.

MBA student makes a case for pursuing opportunities

When a spot opened on a case competition team just two weeks before an international event, Rutgers MBA student Joseph Russomanno stepped in to fill it. The team worked furiously to create a winning presentation, clinching first place in the 2021 Tepper School of Business International Case Competition at Carnegie Mellon University.

“I want to show I’m growing and doing case competitions has challenged me and helped me think better,” said Russomanno, who claimed another first-place win an RBS team in last fall’s Florida Southern College Case Competition. He recently competed at the National Black MBA Association Conference in Atlanta, and while his team did not advance to the finals, Russomanno valued the experience of doing an in-person presentation for the first time.

“Doing it live is a whole other beast,” said Russomanno, a second-year MBA who is concentrating his studies in marketing research insights and analytics as well as supply chain management. “Now I know areas I need to work on,” he said.

He started the Full-Time MBA program determined to make the most of the opportunities that Rutgers Business School offered. Through the MBA Office of Career Management, the 27-year-old has done three mock interviews with the director, Dean R. Vera, and plans to do a fourth in preparation for a job interview.

“Some people have a natural gift for interviewing, but I feel it’s an area I need to work on,” Russomanno said. “Interviewing requires a lot of practice. The mock interviews have given me a better feel for what to expect.”  He said he found Vera’s “Career Management Program” course to be key to his MBA education, getting him to move beyond his comfort zone.

Vera said Russomanno strived to be better with each session. “Joe is the kind of student who knows what he doesn’t know, and that coaching needs to be consistent,” Vera said. “He always took it to the next level,” he said. “I have no doubt Joe is going to secure the full-time opportunity he’s looking for.”

As vice president of the Black and Hispanic MBA Association and the Rutgers Association for Marketing & Strategy, Russomanno said he has been able to practice leadership skills and build personal and professional networks. Serving on the executive boards provided him first-time experience in event planning and coordinating, he said.

Russomanno has been impressed with the caliber of his courses. “Different classes have helped me develop different skills,” he said. “Project Management,” which he took last spring, was one he found to be most useful, because it’s a skill required in any job he would pursue.

“Marketing Management” and “Marketing Research,” taught by Associate Professor Ozge Turut, were among his favorites. “She is really knowledgeable in the field and uses actual research she was part of in explaining basic marketing principals and making them more relevant to behavioral economics,” Russomanno said.

Russomanno chose the Rutgers MBA program for its reputation and location, as well as the internship component. “That’s what I felt I needed to get the most out of my MBA,” he said.

His summer internship with Verizon involved analyzing the company’s locker pickup system for customers, which underwent a major rollout this year. He interviewed more than two dozen stakeholders and analyzed reams of data to determine which parts of it were working and which needed upgrades.

“It helped me get comfortable with reaching out to people and starting a conversation,” he said. “In this kind of work, you have to put yourself out there.”

Russomanno initially focused only on marketing research analytics and then added a second concentration in supply chain management. “I wanted to build that quantitative background,” he said. He hopes to land a job in marketing analytics, consulting or brand management.

- Margaret McHugh


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