Top Firms Come Calling for Howe School's Graduate Students

When Esther Egbo decided to enroll in the Howe School to pursue her graduate degree in Information Systems, she knew she’d develop the technical training required to help her fulfill her dream of becoming a business analyst. And while she has also learned business skills like collaboration, critical thinking and communication, she took it a step further than most.

“I became an orientation leader at Stevens during the fall and spring semester,” Egbo said. 

And she credits that training and experience — helping integrate new students into the campus lifestyle and preparing them to succeed at Stevens — with helping her land an internship this summer with Sungard.

“It helped me during my interview, because they wanted somebody who was a great communicator,” Egbo said. “So that was an advantage for me.” 

An increasing number of graduate students at the Howe School are offered internships at high-profile companies as the school aims to provide more opportunities and learning experiences to students like Egbo, whose internship involves doing technical documentation for Sungard. 

Egbo said her internship is the foundation for her dream job, to work as a business analyst. But so is her work in the classroom as she pursues a degree in Information Systems — three or four of the classes she’s taken so far will directly apply as she works on her internship, including those in business process management and innovation. 

Her first interview, with EY, left Egbo feeling there was room for improvement, so she went to Stevens’ Office of Career Development: “Before every interview I had, I would go there and have a pre-interview, so I became more comfortable.” She also got help with her résumé: “After I tweaked the résumé, I started getting more calls for interviews,” she said.

MORE: Stevens ranked 13th in U.S. for career development services

Here are a few other stories from Howe School graduate students.

Abirami Pandiyan, Barclays Capital 

Pandiyan was pursuing interviews with a number of companies, but once she got an offer from Barclays, with its history and prestige, that was the end of her search.

“I like the work culture. It’s very different from what other companies have,” said Pandiyan, who will work as a junior business analyst, assisting colleagues in collecting and coordinating client information. She said she felt confident in her job interviews because of her project management classes with Howe Professor Alan Maltz. 

“He taught us so well,” she said. “The person who interviewed me had maybe 30 years of experience, she asked me so many questions — and I was able to answer almost everything, because my professors taught me very, very well.” 

Pandiyan has a bioinformatics background, rather than computer science, and chose Stevens to study information systems “because I was looking for was management and computer science together. I really liked what they had here.”

Priyanka Srivastava, Bank of America 

Stevens’ location near the financial capital of the world steered Srivastava to Hoboken when she was looking to gain technology management experience to complement her computer programming background.

“This program is perfect,” she said of the Information Systems degree she’s pursuing. “A friend of mine had already graduated from Stevens, and she gave such great input on the value of the program.”

She credited Howe Professor Michael Parfett, who taught her in the Strategic Issues in IT Management course, with preparing her to ace her interviews with BoA: “During my interview, I was asked so many questions that the professor had really prepared me for.” 

At BoA, she’s handling management duties for a high-visibility project in the finance area — right where she wants to be. “I’ll learn a lot, and it’s very close to what I want to do, to get into project management,” she said. “I had courses in finance at Stevens that gave me a general idea of how it works; now, I want to develop a deeper knowledge. That’s why I picked this internship.” 

Hao Han, AppCard

The bread and butter for AppCard — a service that recommends offers, rewards and discounts from favorite shops or shops you’d like — is the kind of coding that connects people to the stores they’d like. But that recommender system was causing headaches for the AppCard team, Han learned in his interview. 

“They said, we have this problem, and they right now need someone who knows this and can fix this — so I told them how to fix it,” said Han, who is pursuing a master’s in Business Intelligence & Analytics (BI&A).

Han, who aspires to be a data scientist, said he’s doing fraud detection and visualization work, and is getting a sense of how his classes translate to actual company needs. “In real life, you have to decide what is the problem is, how to solve it, what data you need and which algorithm you need to use,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from this internship.” 

Priyam Mishra, NasdaqOMX

Like her colleagues, Mishra credits her professors with helping her land her summer internship. She’s working to analyze the best strategies across different kinds of projects to see how they can be implemented on a wider scale. 

“I feel prepared because of the subjects I’ve been taking at Stevens, in project management and information systems,” she said. 

Mishra has four years’ experience in IT, and saw at the Howe School a chance to learn more about innovation, software engineering and financial decision-making. She spoke with Howe Professor Michael zur Muehlen before committing to Stevens, and “he gave me a good idea of what I could expect and what I’d be learning,” Mishra said. “The professors are very inviting, and they’re always welcoming students in to discuss their career goals, and are happy to give advice and suggestions.”

Ultimately, she wants to get into project management, she said. 

“It’s a natural move for me, having worked as a business analyst and a quality assurance analyst, to move toward the role of project management,” she said. 

The Stevens advantage

Internships are a point of pride at Stevens and within the Howe School. Faculty cultivate close relationships with industry, to create opportunities for students, and students work closely with advisers in the Career Development Office to polish résumés and prepare for interviews. This emphasis is well recognized — U.S. News & World Report has ranked Stevens among the 10 colleges that produce the most interns, and Payscale puts Stevens at No. 5 in the nation for return on investment — a testament to the real-world training Stevens offers both in classes and on internships.