May 26, 2021
Oskar Skrzeszewski is a recent Virginia Tech graduate from Haymarket, VA who received a dual degree in Management, Management Consulting and Analytics (MCA) option and BIT, Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSM) option.
This summer, Oskar will be working as a CIO Advisory Intern for KPMG in their Dallas office, where he will be working closely with IT strategy and cloud transformation. He will be returning to Virginia Tech in the fall to pursue a Master of Science in Business Administration and Business Analytics (MSBA-BA).
We recently asked him to share both his Virginia Tech and Pamplin journeys with us.
Why did you choose Virginia Tech? When and why did you choose MGT?
I chose Virginia Tech because of its reputation for sports, a beautiful campus, excellent academics, and great food. Growing up, I was inspired by my parents’ entrepreneurship and passion for business. Therefore, I chose MGT because I believed it would help me pursue my goals and follow in my parents’ footsteps.
Were there any specific classes that you remember as validating your major choice to date?
Last semester, I took Careers in Management (MGT 2104) with Professor Dave Bluey. While the class was only a one-credit course, it helped validate my MGT major. Throughout the course, I was able to meet and hear from different alumni with similar degrees who had very interesting and successful careers.
This past semester, I took Managing Human Resources (MGT 3334) with Dr. Jeffrey B. Arthur. Taking this course helped me understand exactly how companies hire employees and gave me insight on how to perform well in interviews. During an interview with KPMG, I was asked to create an organizational pay structure for a company, and since I had completed a similar project in Dr. Arthur’s class, I was able to nail the interview and get the job.
Has there been a faculty or staff member within Pamplin and/or the MGT department that has served as a mentor or source of inspiration for you during your journey?
One faculty member who has served as a mentor and source of inspiration during my journey has been Professor John Travers. I was his Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for Ethical Leadership during the fall semester. It was my first TA position, and it was Professor Travers’s first semester teaching at Virginia Tech. Helping Professor Travers teach Ethical Leadership was a rewarding and insightful experience. We were both new to Zoom classes, and it was a great experience learning it together. Professor John Travers not only served as a mentor and source of inspiration, but also as a friend during my first semester back after COVID-19.
This past semester I got the opportunity to work with Professor Margaret Deck teaching Productivity and Quality Leadership. Working with Professor Deck has been an amazing experience. I was able to talk about my experience at Amazon during one class, which was really rewarding. Professor Deck serves as a source of inspiration for me, and it has been a great pleasure getting to know her.
What advice would you provide to an incoming Pamplin freshman?
Focus on your academics. Speaking from personal experience, it is very exciting to start your first year of college, but it is also easy to lose track of why you are here. Have fun, meet new people, and join different clubs and organizations, but remember that the most important reason you are here is to learn and study.
What/who is your inspiration for leadership?
My parents are my inspiration for business leadership. They are Polish immigrants who owned many successful businesses abroad. After the fall of the communist regime in Poland, my parents opened many different businesses, including furniture stores, restaurants, and car dealerships, all of which were very successful for many years. Fifteen years ago, they moved to the U.S. and opened a grocery store in Vienna, Virginia. My parents’ drive and passion for entrepreneurship have been my inspiration for leadership within the business world.
Name some of the internships, if any, that you had during your Virginia Tech and/or Pamplin journey. How did you approach the process?
I have had four internships over the course of my four years at Tech. Freshman year, I was fortunate enough to work as a Business Analyst Intern at the World Bank Group. My experience at the World Bank exposed me to new cultural and global perspectives, as my coworkers were all from different parts of the world. In this position, I worked exclusively on international projects.
Sophomore year, I interned at a small data analytics company called Apollo Interactive in Los Angeles. I was able to secure an interview by contacting the company’s founder, who I had met at the TKE Leadership Academy in Colorado during the summer after my freshman year. The internship allowed me to apply the data analytics tools I was learning in class to a real-world environment. The internship was a great experience, and the work atmosphere was similar to that of a start-up. It was also amazing to live in Los Angeles for the summer.
Junior year, I accepted a position as an Operations Intern at Amazon. Although virtual, I still gained valuable experience during the summer and learned about what makes Amazon successful. At Amazon, I learned more about diversity and leadership principles, which showed me what it takes to be a driven and impactful leader.
Lastly, I will be working as a CIO Advisory Intern for KPMG this summer.
If you could give a testimonial about Pamplin and/or the Management Department curriculum, what would you say?
I would say that the Pamplin and MGT curriculum is both challenging and rewarding. The classes within the Management Department have not been easy, but they have prepared me for a successful career. My fall semester, I worked on an Aerospace consulting project for my Management Consulting class with Professor Dirk Buengel. The project was very challenging, but I learned a lot from my mistakes. The experience enabled me to land an internship with KPMG for the summer.
Do you have any other words of wisdom or insights about Virginia Tech, Pamplin, Management, or your broader college journey? Describe your role within any other student organizations.
During my sophomore year, I was elected president of Tau Kappa Epsilon, a fraternity here at Virginia Tech. I oversaw the operations of a 117-member fraternity and worked with 10+ committees to guarantee the success of our chapter. My fraternity is credited with raising over $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Hospital over the past five years. Last year, we were able to raise over $162,000 in one week during the COVID-19 quarantine. Under my leadership, we were awarded the Virginia Tech 2019 Impact Award for Philanthropy, the Highest Fundraising Chapter Award in the nation from St. Jude Research Hospital, and the 7th Top TKE Chapter Award from our national headquarters. I have been to multiple Leadership Academies and National/Regional Conferences where I received leadership and diversity training, and I have visited the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN three times. Currently, I serve in an advisory role for the chapter.