Information technology: Is it in You?

J.J. Foley Class of 2009, Financial Management Program Intern - General Electric Company

This summer I am working for GE Transportation in Erie, Pennsylvania as an Intern in GE's Financial Management Program (FMP). After working at GE for around two weeks it was next to impossible to have day go by without using MS Excel, OFA (Oracle Financial Analyst), and MS Access. Daily, the business world depends on these software products to delivery results and conduct business. Coming into the internship I knew that I would be working with Excel for financial modeling and analysis, but never thought that I would have to remember how to work in Access.

I took Prof. Ow's MANA 120 Class my second semester sophomore year and this was really the first time I had ever been required to work in Access and Excel doing worthwhile projects. Although all college of business students work in MS office with LEAD 101 and sparingly in other introduction courses, the use of MS Office in these classes are limited to basic exercises. MANA 120 with Prof. Ow took Excel and Access to a new level. Having the exposure to pivot tables, graphs, VLOOKUP and other useful Excel functions played a role in quickly excelling in the summer intern program. Looking back, I would have used the exercises for Excel and more importantly Access more extensively. Overall, the exposure to the software lead to a much less frustrating summer and the ability to crank through projects in half the time of other interns and often even some first year analysts.

I also want to mention Wall Street Prep, the seminar that I participated in at MU with FMA (Financial Management Association). The seminar was a two day 8-5 Excel financial modeling course that taught everyone how to navigate in Excel with out using the mouse and ultimately how to save innumerable amounts of time over the course of projects. Wall Street Prep along with MANA 120 have led to strong Excel and Access background that have helped pave my internship success.

Although I am majoring Finance and Accounting as an undergraduate I cannot stress the importance of a strong IT background. The IT job market is always growing, as well as the starting salary for these positions. The hardest thing to understand is that IT has changed from a "computer programming" type job to a whole level of positions that lead the business into the future. IT professionals are used at every level of business and their roles continue to grow.

In the end, if IT is not something you have considered and you are struggling to choose a major, consider IT and take the leap beyond the image of the computer programmer. IT, whether its something you like or not, will be integrated into your future career path, as it is technology, which takes us to what's next.