August 19, 2019
“I chose Virginia Tech because of the strength and community that comes from being a Hokie,” explained Carrie Rock, a fourth-year management and marketing dual major. “I love the school spirit that the Hokie Nation possesses; the ability to meet anyone anywhere and feel an instant connection from our Virginia Tech roots, and the shared understanding that Virginia Tech is the best and most beautiful school in the world.”
The Chesapeake, Virginia, native wasted no time in making her impact at Virginia Tech, joining the Moss Arts Center Ambassadors during the fall semester of her first year and joining the Management Society during her second year. She now serves as president for both organizations. Rock is also a member of Pamplin’s Sales Competition Team, the Honors College, and she studied abroad during her second year in Lugano, Switzerland.
“The Management Society is a great organization and I’ve loved seeing the growth that it has experienced,” she said. “The friendships I’ve made in the society are some that will be lifelong. I think having the opportunity to lead my peers in organizing an entire society has been a rewarding experience. One of my favorite parts has been the opportunity to work so closely with faculty and students. I love working with my peers to set up events that bring faculty and students together.”
The leadership that Rock has shown during her time in Blacksburg – and Switzerland – is exactly what she strived to learn.
“I came into Virginia Tech as a management major because I understood that, if you are good at your job – whatever it is – one day you will become a leader and manager to others,” she explained.
Rock has been able to utilize these management and leadership skills in three different internships since joining Virginia Tech. She has served as a marketing intern for the Moss Arts Center since her second year. She has also served as a trade intern for Smithfield Foods and most recently worked as a sales planning intern for food manufacturer McCormick & Company.
“I am grateful to the management department for preparing me well for these internships in terms of technical skills,” Rock said. “The Management Department does a wonderful job of teaching students how to use organizational tools. At McCormick, I became the go-to intern and received praise on my evaluation from my manager for being highly independent and able to work well through ambiguity.”
Rock continued, “I largely attribute this to the exercises we’ve done in some of my management classes that encourage us to work through errors in projects and sift through large amounts of data in order to produce results.”
She also stated that much of what she has learned in the classroom has real-world applications.
“It was amazing to see that so much of what I’ve been learning in my classes is applied in a work setting. For example, in my Organizational Behavior class, we spent a chapter learning about personality tests and how managers used them in the workplace to help employees understand each other. At McCormick I was able to use the knowledge from that chapter to understand when, right before a meeting with one of the vice presidents, my manager tells me ‘just for reference, he’s a green,’ I can alter my presentation strategy to a more analytical approach instead of a rational appeal.
“I don’t believe I would have done nearly as well at my internship without the knowledge I’ve gained from my management courses.”
Rock said that, in her experience, now is the time for a student to immerse themselves into their chosen program as much as possible.
“If I could provide any advice to a Pamplin freshman, it would be to explore all of your options,” she explained. “Take the opportunity in college to understand what you like and don’t like about certain majors. It’s okay not to like some parts of your major because that is what helps you understand what type of career you should pursue, because there are hundreds of incredibly unique career paths in each major.”
This immersion, she said, also extends to sponsored clubs and organizations. “The networking opportunities and support you receive from those groups will be what ultimately push you to be your professional best.”
She also credited much of her success to the relationships she has with her professors. “Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors, they are your biggest asset. Take some time and get to know them. Professors hold a lot of keys that can open doors you would have otherwise had to kick down!”
Rock’s future is bright. She believes it is due, in part, to Pamplin giving her the tools needed to succeed.
“Pamplin understands what its students need,” she said. “Having briefly been in the workforce as an intern I can attest to the fact that Virginia Tech prepared me well. The theories I’ve been taught in my management classes have directly translated into the theories I’ve used in my internships. The Management Department works hard to make sure students are listened to, and course work is targeted to make students competitive in the workforce.
“The Pamplin College of Business is a great business school and I am incredibly appreciative for how prepared I’ve felt during my internships due to the quality of the coursework.”
Article written by Jeremy Norman