Siobhan Skizim, MBA '14
After graduating from college with a degree in foreign affairs, Siobhan Skizim went to work in the not-for-profit sector, doing everything from public policy work to event coordination to marketing and public relations.
“I was able to grow my leadership skills to some extent, but I knew I needed an MBA to get to a position in which I could set the agenda and drive change,” she says. “So I started looking at graduate schools.”
Skizim chose Boston College because, she says, it embodied everything she was looking for in an MBA program. “BC challenges students to push themselves to the next level and own their future, but at the same time there’s a strong sense of community and a collaborative spirit,” she says. “I didn’t get that feeling from the other schools I looked at.”
Shortly after starting classes, Skizim got involved in the Graduate Management Association (GMA), the Carroll School’s student government body. As the organization’s social chair, she worked closely with administrators throughout her first year in the MBA program.
“The Carroll School’s administration encourages students to get involved and help make the graduate experience the best it can be,” she says. “The GMA offers a great opportunity to collaborate with classmates and administrators and develop strong connections. It’s also an excellent training ground for leadership roles in a business or a nonprofit.”
At the end of her first year in the program, Skizim was elected president of the GMA. In her new role, she’s working with the administration to restructure how student clubs operate. She also has launched a new program that matches incoming students with mentors in the second-year class.
“The admission office does a fantastic job of connecting applicants with current students,” she points out. “Our program will build on that once the school year has begun by providing a formalized touchpoint between first- and second-year students.”
Skizim points to the program’s small size as a key component in her experience at BC. “Starting this mentor program wouldn’t have been possible in a bigger school,” she says. “But with only 100 full-time students in each class, the Carroll School offers a personalized experience. The administration was willing to listen when we presented our idea about starting a mentoring program, and we were able to make it happen.”
After her first year in the MBA program, Skizim landed an internship with Fidelity Investments’ summer leadership program.
“I didn’t expect to end up in a finance role,” she admits. “But my career advisor suggested that I look at Fidelity because she knew I wanted to be in a role where I had a seat at the table. She had a very clear understanding of me and my goals.”
With her nontraditional background, Skizim wasn’t sure that she would be a viable candidate for the leadership program at Fidelity. “I spent a lot of time with Career Services, working out how to position myself as an attractive candidate,” she recalls. “And I ended up getting the internship.”
At Fidelity, Skizim engaged with senior-level finance professionals, managed a project that directly related to the business unit's multi-year planning process, and presented her findings to senior management. When the internship ended, the company offered her a full-time job.
“I learned a ton in the internship. I stretched beyond my comfort zone and really grew as a result,” Skizim says. “And now I’m looking forward to working with Fidelity after graduation.”