Anthony is a great example of how our collaborations with outside organizations can help students land entry-level positions in their field. These are some of the reasons why he stood out to me during the preliminary phone interview:
- He did an excellent job relating his past experiences to the position he was interviewing for.
- He had good working knowledge of Excel and was very familiar with statistical analysis.
- He mentioned he loved math and had taken more advance math classes that were required for his degree.
- He researched the organization and showcased an excellent level of professionalism.
Following our conversation, he was recommended for the position at Foundation Partners Group and after two interviews with the company he was offered the job.
Keep checking your inbox for opportunities available to Fall 2014 graduates! Verizon, Franklin Square Capital Partners, Bernstein Global Wealth Management (just to name a few!) are already looking for outstanding Finance and Economics students!
Name, major, and hometown:
My name is Anthony Mazzotta, Economics B.A. (Statistics minor), and I was born in Orlando, Florida. I grew up a little south in Kissimmee, and started at UCF straight out of high school.
What is your job and why do you think it is interesting?
My official title is Business Optimization Analyst at a company called Foundation Partners Group. We are a funeral home consolidator with over 40 locations in 13 states. My job is interesting because I use many of the skills that I learned in school every day, and I get to work with a lot of talented, intelligent people.
Describe your duties, where you work, who you work with, etc. Give us a “picture” of what you are doing.
I work directly for the VP of Business Optimization, whose job is essentially to use analytic rigor to improve both the efficiency and profitability of the company. Now I have only been working here for about two months, but so far my job has consisted of conducting market research (including demographics, competitors, mortality trends, etc.), labor analysis, budgeting, and more. Basically my boss points me at some data and asks me to get something meaningful out of it. I am always busy at work, but I never feel overwhelmed. My department consists of me and my boss, and there isn’t really anyone else at the company that does my job. I should make it clear that I work not in a funeral home but in our cozy corporate office in the Millenia area. There are are a little less than 30 people in our home office, and hundreds more across our various locations. At 22, I am the youngest person in my office, with only 2 other people younger than 30. My age has hardly been a hindrance, however, as everyone has been more than willing to work with me.
How did you find your job?
My Career Coach at UCF, Laura McDonough, informed me that Foundation Partners was looking for an analyst. I sent my resume to Laura, and, following a preliminary interview with her, she sent it over to Foundation Partners. I interviewed twice with them, and submitted a case study they prepared to show some of my skills. Two weeks later, I was walking in on my first day. It honestly felt like the job fell into my lap.
Was this something you ever thought you’d do (why/why not). If so, how long did you know you wanted to do this?
I knew for over a year that I wanted to move into an analyst position. I looked at positions like research assistants, consultants, etc. before I landed an interview here. Whenever I describe my job to my friends or family, there is always a shift in disposition when I mention “funeral homes.” I had the same reaction when I first read about the position, but even after working here for only a month, I can honestly say that I couldn’t have asked for a much better position. First and foremost, we seek to provide a superior service just like many other companies. Everyone is touched by loss at some point in his or her life, and we try to be the best at helping that process be as easy as possible. It is very gratifying doing work that I feel like I can own, and knowing that it is for a good cause.
How does this opportunity fit into your long term career goals?
My ultimate goal is to go back to school and work either as a policymaker or as an executive. Whether I go back for an MBA or a PhD, I know that the experience I gain here will be extremely useful, as I continue to learn new skills every day.
What have you learned about yourself in this role?
I have learned that I don’t know as much as I thought, and that school was a lot like riding a bike with training wheels. This job has shown me that hard work is key to solving any problem, and that it is important to try to learn more at every opportunity. My only regret now is that I didn’t pay attention more in class, because I am now relearning a lot of the things that I was taught in school. It’s a very different beast, though, knowing that the work you are doing is real and affects things aside from your GPA.
What skills, tools, etc. have you had to learn in this role?
My biggest tools are Excel and Access, and my background in statistics has proved invaluable. I have had to learn a lot about database management, and spreadsheet manipulation. I have also had to learn many industry terms, and revisit accounting and finance principles that relate to my work.
What keeps you going back every day?
Every day is different here, and I feel both challenged by and recognized for my work. I get to tackle problems that require the input of many different departments, individuals, and other resources.
What challenges do you face?
My biggest challenge is lack of knowledge. It’s tough coming into a big company in an industry you know next-to-nothing about.
Did you get any advice while you were in school that helped? From whom?
Dr. Michael Caputo served as a sort of mentor for me while I was in school and guided me in some important decisions afterward. He really helped me better understand my strengths.
What advice would you give a student just coming into the college regarding making the next two years productive and resulting in success?
Take challenging classes. You can breeze through your stay at this school, or you can challenge yourself and make your resume stand out. It’s not enough anymore to just get that piece of paper. I was able to land this position not because I had relevant work experience, or because I am particularly smarter than some of the other people that applied (including some MBA’s). I got this job because I showed during my education that I can work hard and take on challenges. How is your resume going to look next to not only your peers at this school, but around the country? Take more math classes, more stats classes, more HARD econ/finance/business classes.
Thank you, Anthony, for making your Career Coach proud! 🙂
Laura G. McDonough
Career Coach – Finance & Economics