When Tim Kuennen was admitted to the Eli Broad College of Business, he had just received a full-time job offer from Deloitte, where he was an intern in the audit practice. He told the company he’d have to turn it down so he could pursue his MBA.
Instead, Deloitte suggested he focus on developing his consulting skills with the goal of rejoining the company after graduation.
“That was where I wanted to see my career go anyway,” says Kuennen, a Grand Rapids, Michigan, native.
Kuennen earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from MSU, experience he says comes in handy now that he’s focusing on human resources.
“A lot of human resources is driven by understanding a company’s financials,” he says. “That can really help you make a case for why an HR project is needed and how that project can help drive the organization’s bottom line.”
Kuennen cast a wide net when it came time to apply to graduate school. His experience while applying to Broad convinced him it was the right choice, and he enrolled in August 2012.
“When I was going through the interview process, I really noticed the close-knit culture of Broad,” he says. “And it was a well-established program, very highly ranked, and therefore highly ranked with recruiters. I knew it could take me where I wanted to go with my career.”
Kuennen has taken advantage of several of Broad’s learning opportunities since enrolling, including a study abroad program in central Europe last summer. He visited Budapest, Vienna, and Prague over the course of about two weeks.
“It was an opportunity to gain knowledge on how companies operate in different regions of the world,” he says. “It was definitely enlightening to see how businesses operate elsewhere and also to see how culture affects how those businesses operate.”
Kuennen also works with Spartan Consulting as a vice president of business development. The for-profit consulting firm at MSU helps incubate and develop business ideas. Kuennen’s job requires him to attract new clients and assess their projects, helping them determine the project’s scope, cost, timeline, etc.
As part of his job, Kuennen is working on a culture-change program for an intermediate school district that approached MSU to help it improve employee satisfaction. Kuennen and his colleagues helped the district identify issues in communication and training and then worked with the district to implement changes. The project’s advising professor has encouraged the team to publish its results, Kuennen says, because the information gleaned could benefit other ISDs.
“It’s a great opportunity to get that exposure and visibility,” Kuennen says. “It’s awesome that one day you’re in class, learning all these theoretical concepts that are useful, and then you’re applying them to a real-life problem and you’re seeing results. It’s very fulfilling.”
Kuennen says the experience with Spartan Consulting was key to getting a full-time job offer from Deloitte, in its human-capital consulting division. The offer followed a summer internship in the company’s risk management advising practice.
“What you’re going to get out of this program is the same opportunity of any Top 10 MBA program–a network with large fortune 500 companies, and the opportunity to interview for the jobs at those companies,” he says. “But at the same time, you get a close-knit MBA program. You get to know every single student in your program and have a very thorough network. I think that’s definitely something Broad is known for is that support network that develops. The quality of the relationships you develop in this program can take you a long way.”