Neeley provides MBA students opportuntity to network with executives

Neeley School MBA student Jeremy Berry had the opportunity to probe the mind of the vice president of a major company while sipping cocktails.

Berry is one of several MBA students who got to hobnob with a Textron executive.

MBA students will gain access to exclusive information with the introduction of a new program called C-Level Confidential. The program gives students rare opportunities to network with top business executives from across the country, said P.D. Shabay, Neeley alumnus and cofounder of C-Level Confidential.

C-Level Confidential allows a small group of students to take part in an evening filled with cocktails, dinner and discussions with high-level executives of global organizations.

Shabay partnered with Ed Riefenstahl, director of Experiential Learning, to bring the C-Level Confidential program to life.

Riefenstahl said it was a joint brainstorming effort to come up with a one-of-a-kind program. The session does not include a traditional lecture, but the featured guest sits down and has dinner with students in a casual environment, Shabay said. .

Shabay said he wanted to contribute to the university after his retirement as vice president of Bell Helicopter last year. He developed many personal relationships and connections while in the business world so he has access to many executives, Shabay said.

“The program tries to create experiences for our MBA’s that they can’t readily get anywhere else,” Shabay said. “I am hoping that every person in the MBA program will start fighting for opportunities to attend the meetings.”

John Butler, executive president for Administration and Chief Human Resources Officer for Textron, formally launched the C-Level Confidential program Thursday night as the first guest speaker.

“What I really like about the program and the design is it is intimate and conversational,” Butler said. “It was like a very good discussion over the dinner table.”

Riefenstahl said the program design does not just enable professional growth, but it also allows for personal growth.

“The program is a confidence builder for future executives,” Riefenstahl said.

Students must submit their resume and an essay about why they should be chosen to participate in the program. Riefenstahl reviews the applications and selects the top students to attend the event. A maximum of 12 students can participate in each session.

Butler said Neeley School MBA students are getting cutting-edge business training.

First-year MBA student Andrey Mozuliov said he gets the benefit of knowing executives and it opens up the door to the real business world.

Sanjay Jain, a first-year MBA student, said this is the first program of its kind at TCU, and he hopes the Neeley School offers more programs modeled after C-Level Confidential.

There will be four sessions this year. Ralph Heath, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, will be the next speaker Oct. 6. The third session will feature Matt Rose, president and CEO of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. will be the guest Jan. 29. The final speaker has not been announced.