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utulsa.edu

Set to launch her career, finance grad looks back on journey at TU

 

Claire Wood’s (BSBA ’16) collegiate résumé chronicles five-and-a-half years of making the absolute most of her time at The University of Tulsa.

As a finance major, Wood accompanied a full academic course load with an impressive list of extracurricular activities, a study abroad trip to France and several internships. She was even crowned Homecoming queen her senior year, a distinction she still finds extremely flattering to this day.

Looking to further solidify her career path upon completing undergraduate studies, Wood enrolled in TU’s full-time MBA program, which she will wrap up in December. As she prepares to begin the professional development program at Williams as a business analyst, Wood reflects on her TU experience.

Both her mom and dad are accountants, so Wood grew up hearing business terms like “balancing the books” and “EBITDA” during the family’s dinner table conversations. “That started a curiosity about how businesses run, how they are funded and how they become successful,” she said. She chose to major in finance because she liked its forward-looking and analytical nature. “I saw that it could give me a solid base for my career.”

Wood wanted to balance her major with creative thinking, so she paired it with a minor in art. “I found such value in being able to use both sides of my brain,” she said. “When I would be tucked into financial spreadsheets for a long time, I knew I needed to take a break to doodle and draw and think in a different way.”

Wood joined TU’s pom squad in the middle of her freshman year and loved the excitement that came with supporting her fellow student-athletes on game days. “Being part of pom and out on the field in the middle of everything is where I wanted to be,” she said. Wood also worked as an orientation leader and in between classes gave tennis lessons to young children at TU’s Case Center.

She got a range of professional experience through internships at ONEOK and Frontier Energy, as assistant orientation director at TU and working for a small business growth strategist for Prodigy & Co at 36 Degrees North, an entrepreneurial basecamp.

As she approached her senior year, Wood chose to extend her time at TU. “I had done internships, but I was hesitant to start on a path before I knew what that path was going to be. Getting my MBA was an opportunity to dive deeper into what I find most interesting and what fits best with my natural skills. I also wanted to see how my interests in finance, art and marketing fit together.”

Each MBA student is paired with a mentor from the professional community who can provide advice and guidance. Wood says the value of her mentor has proved immeasurable. “He has encouraged me and taught me about everything from networking to strategically choosing an internship. He was the first person I talked to when I had multiple offers on the table, and I now have a roadmap for a path from college to employment.”

Wood says she’s gained so much from the personal and professional development opportunities TU provides. Whether through student organizations, attending Friends of Finance meetings or participating in group projects, she has learned a great deal about herself and about working with others. “I’ve grown in my ability to learn new tasks and to be a leader within a team. In grad school, the professors give you quite a bit of leeway and because of that, I feel confident and ready to start my career.”