Eller College / Mission Partnership Exceeds Expectations

When it comes to exceeding clients’ expectations, Mission Management & Trust Co. has found it is not alone.

Interns from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management are successfully engaged in special projects at Mission, and are delighting everyone with their acumen, ability and attitude.

Initially, Mission viewed the partnership warily, according to Carmen Bermúdez, Mission’s Chairman and CEO.

“I didn’t have a very good impression of some MBA students we interviewed from the University of Arizona. They seemed to feel that they should be making six-figure salaries immediately. I thought they should be more realistic.”

That’s when Faculty Fellow Suzanne Cummins stepped in. Cummins, who oversees Eller College’s internship program, asked Mission to give the students another chance.

“Great magic happens when we bring our product—students—to show what they can do,” said Cummins.

“My experience with Mission was amazing. Not only did I gain valuable knowledge in Finance but I also learned the importance of the mentor-protege relationship. I had an internship before Mission where my boss was more interested in the day-to-day tasks that I was assigned rather than focusing on the knowledge that I could take away from the internship for future purposes. With Mission I learned that you have to “send the elevator back to the first floor” (as Carmen Bermudez always says) for other people behind you to get where they want to be. That is what Mission did with me. They sent the elevator to the first floor and encouraged me to think that it is up to me which button to press inside that elevator. I know that I want to get to the last floor and that it will be a long and challenging trip, but I also know that when I get there I will send the elevator to the first floor to help those behind me just like Mission did.”  – Juan Peraza, Student, Eller College, Finance and Economics.

The interns’ workload is far from light. For example, Karen McCutchin (along with several other students) spent two months poring over 10 years of securities transactions to prepare Mission for new global investment performance standards.

“I love puzzles, and I saw this as an opportunity to make all the pieces fit—particularly when you didn’t have the box with the (completed puzzle) picture to go by,” said McCutchin, a junior Accounting major.

Intern Steve Pentland sees the benefits for both student and employer.

“From my experience, internships are truly symbiotic relationships between employer and intern. The organization gains an effective, enthusiastic team member, and the student acquires an early understanding of the business world.”

“In an innovative and challenging environment, Mission has provided me with the opportunity to expand my career goals and develop as a young professional”, says Marie McGee, a junior Finance major.

By all accounts, the partnership is working exceedingly well.  Chairman Bermúdez explained: “We are being introduced to some extremely bright and ambitious young men and women. At the same time they are being exposed to real work situations to supplement their academic education.  I’m very, very impressed with the interns’ progress.  I’d like to see more Tucson businesses give students these opportunities. I want to share this ‘diamond in the rough.’”

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