Summer Clayton is a senior from McLean, Virginia double majoring in Management, with a concentration in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology (EIT), and Business Information Technology, with a concentration in Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSM). At Virginia Tech, she worked as a Lead Peer Career Advisor at the Smith Career Center and served as the Vice President of Programming, Vice President of Engagement, and then the Student Representative to the Mid-Atlantic Advisory Board of Directors for College Mentors for Kids. She is the recipient of the L.J. Moore Outstanding Achievement Award and will be graduating with distinction, Summa Cum Laude, on May 15. She will be beginning her career with Capital One as a Management Rotation Program (MRP) Associate and will begin her graduate education at Virginia Tech in the Master of Information Technology program this summer.

Why did you choose Virginia Tech?  When and why did you choose MGT?

I came to Virginia Tech in the fall of my sophomore year as a transfer student. I was drawn to Tech because of the overwhelmingly positive things I had heard about it from my friends that went there. The variety of opportunities available to students, the quality of education, and the desire of every Hokie to live out Ut Prosim was something I wanted to be able to experience for myself. When I arrived on campus, I felt immediately welcomed and was so happy to be able to call this place home for the remainder of my undergraduate career. While I wasn’t completely certain as to what I wanted to study, I was encouraged by my advisors to explore my interests and passions in and outside of the classroom and was able to ultimately discover my love for community service, problem solving, and working with others. I chose to study BIT and Management as I felt they would help provide me with the foundational knowledge needed to pursue my passions as well as apply them to my professional work. The combination of technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills that my coursework has provided me with has proved invaluable to my personal and professional development.

Were there any specific classes that you remember as validating your major choice to date?  

The management classes that have been the most impactful on my college experience were Ethical Leadership (MGT 4334) and Product and Quality Leadership (MGT 4344). Ethical Leadership challenged me to think differently about the role a business organization can play in the communities it serves and society at large. The various cases, discussions, and debates made it an extremely unique and thought-provoking experience that allowed me to explore various viewpoints and ethical frameworks. I was also inspired by the concept of servant leadership and the important role that managers and leaders must play in promoting ethical decision making, corporate social responsibility, and the development of a positive company culture. Product and Quality leadership was especially influential in confirming my passion for continuous improvement. My classmates and I were able to apply what we learned in class to help provide real improvements in local businesses in the Blacksburg community. While this project was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a great learning experience to analyze real business processes, gather data, and come up with creative and workable solutions to the problems our partner organization was facing. I was able to learn how the knowledge I gained from this course can be directly applied to a variety of businesses and industries and I can’t wait to take them with me as I enter the workforce.

Name some of the internships, if any, that you had during your Virginia Tech and/or Pamplin journey

During the summer of my junior year, I worked as an Operations Analyst Intern at Fannie Mae. I was able to apply what I learned in my management classes to identify, research, and resolve problems involving data, processes, and systems. One of my major projects over the summer was to redesign my team’s Confluence site, an online tool used to facilitate collaboration among and between teams. In order to accomplish this, I had to take the initiative to talk with my teammates about what did and did not work with the current format of the site and what they would like to see implemented in the new version. With this information I was then able to develop, test, and implement updated macros and tools to improve communication, reporting on production issues, and ultimately create a web page that fulfilled the team’s current and future needs. The leadership, process improvement, and project management skills and tools that I learned in the classroom were essential to my successful completion of the project and allowed me to add value to my team in the short time I was with the company. 

“The combination of technical, interpersonal, and leadership skills that my coursework has provided me with has proved invaluable to my personal and professional development.”

What advice would you provide to an incoming Pamplin freshman?  

There are 3 pieces of advice I would give to an incoming Pamplin freshman:

  1. Get involved! There are so many amazing clubs and organizations at Virginia Tech that can truly enrich your time here. While it can be helpful to get involved with business-related organizations, having a diversity of experiences and involvements is also a great way to explore your interests and will help you decide what path you want to pursue after graduation. College is the best time to find out what you love to do!
  2. Go to Business Horizons! While it can be super overwhelming the first time, you will gain so much from the event. Often times the same recruiters will come back year after year so building relationships with them early on can make a massive difference in your job and internship search process.
  3. Enjoy every moment. This is so cliché, but your time here really will go by so quickly! Live in the moment, try new things, and be yourself. Your time in Blacksburg, the people you meet, and the things you do will shape who you are and who you grow to be. Don’t let yourself graduate wishing you had done more with your time here.

I am so grateful for the time I had at Virginia Tech, it was a truly incredible and challenging journey that allowed me to grow to be the person I am today. I have gone outside of my comfort zone and tried new things because of the confidence I’ve built as a Pamplin student. The experiences I’ve had, both in and outside of the classroom, have allowed me to develop as a student, professional, and leader. I’ve met so many amazing people and have experienced so many wonderful, unforgettable things because of my decision to come to Tech. Blacksburg truly has become a home to me and it will always have a special place in my heart as I transition from student to alumna. Go Hokies!