Regional companies to provide immersive internship experiences for IMBA students

Alan Plunket of Fastenal, left, catches up with Ted Sielatycki at the Arthur School Set Sail ceremony. Sielatycki will intern with Fastenal during the summer.

Eleven students in the East Carolina University Immersive Master of Business Administration (IMBA) pathway have been paired with North Carolina companies, putting them one step closer to completing their one-year graduate journey.

In August 2023, the College of Business and the Thomas D. Arthur Graduate School of Business introduced the inaugural cohort of the IMBA pathway. The participating students embarked on a journey that would see them complete two semesters of MBA coursework and then get paired with partner companies who would provide the cohort internship opportunities.

Those pairings were announced during the Arthur School’s first Set Sail ceremony on April 1, where Carter Cunningham (Hyster-Yale Group), Ashley Dickerson (Hyster-Yale Group), Josh Furlough (Catalent), Jewel Herlong (CAPTRUST), Andrew Kerry (TowneBank), Jenna Mallberg (Internet2), Isaiah Rutledge (Fastenal), Jenna Scott (Nordstrom), Ted Sielatycki (Fastenal), Carmen Smith (Hyster-Yale Group) and Grant Smith (ThermoFisher) learned where they are to intern during summer 2024. One IMBA student, Matt Blount, has elected to pursue a physician’s assistant degree.

Last leg of a journey

Though the IMBA students will participate in Arthur’s graduate recognition ceremony on May 3, they will have three months to complete the last leg of the IMBA pathway. The structured internship will see the students work in an environment where they can put into action what they’ve learned during the prior two terms.

When Mallberg joins the nonprofit Internet2, she feels she’ll be more than prepared to close out her experience successfully.

“The IMBA teaches you the true definition of Pirate grit and resilience,” said Mallberg. “The program, while very opportunistic for networking and your career, comes with a challenging course load, much travel, a graduate assistantship and professional leadership development. All of these combined might seem daunting, but it pushes your limits and lets you expand your perspective on what you can and can’t handle.”

“The cohort-based nature of the program has enhanced my teamwork capabilities to a higher level than I could have ever predicted,” said Sielatycki. “The ambiguity of the IMBA has given me a keen ability to pivot and consider alternatives when things go awry … preparing me for any challenge or adversity that arises in both the summer internship and the rest of my professional life.”

“Before this (IMBA Pathway), I was unsure how a small-town kid like me would make an impact,” said Rutledge. “At this very moment, I have an opportunity to do that within a company that will give me a new experience.”

What’s expected

Hyster-Yale Group will host three IMBA students — Cunnigham, Dickerson and (Carmen) Smith — in what Ruth Anne Harrell calls an immersive experiential learning opportunity. Harrell is the talent acquisition manager for the Hyster-Yale Group. She says the students will engage in diverse projects like price segmentation and sales, aftersales customer analysis, and HR compliance, all with the goal of giving the new interns “broad exposure to our organization,” which will include professional development opportunities led by the company’s talent management team.

“We expect them to bring innovative ideas, passion and that Pirate Pride to these projects while enhancing their professional network,” said Harrell. “Their summer will conclude with a presentation summarizing their learning and journey at Hyster-Yale Group.”

“After speaking with both Isaiah and Ted, I am excited about the perspectives they will bring to our company,” said Alan Plunket, regional recruiter for Fastenal. “It has a culture where innovation and new ideas are celebrated, and I believe that with both interns going through the IMBA pathway, they will bring a level of knowledge and professionalism that, with the right direction, will allow them to become future leaders within the company.”

Moving forward

Dr. Linda Quick, assistant dean of the Arthur School, said the IMBA pathway was established for two reasons: to provide companies with talent committed to leadership and sustaining growth in eastern North Carolina and to give high-achieving, less professionally experienced students an accelerated route to substantive work experience. While most of the Arthur School’s MBA students are in professional jobs taking classes 100% online, another advantage of the pathway is to provide a strong network when the students’ careers begin upon pathway completion.

“The first class of the IMBA students helped us shape this new pathway and blazed a trail for the 2024-25 cohort,” said Quick. “It has been a joy to watch them grow and develop through their coursework, travel, networking events and other co-curricular activities. I’m excited to see them launch their professional careers in fantastic internships with our partner companies, and I trust they will represent the Arthur School well in all their future endeavors.”

According to Quick, the next IMBA pathway cohort will be named later this year. After the inaugural cohort completes their internships, they have one last event: a session to present their experiences to Arthur School leadership and the incoming cohort.

“Your time is limited and is better spent being thankful for where you are now and where you are going,” said Mallberg, who has words of advice for the second cohort. “Soak up every moment you can and find learning opportunities during your time in the program.”

The first cohort of the Arthur School’s Immersive MBA pathway will move on to the internship part of their IMBA experiences. From left front row, Carmen Smith, Jewel Herlong, Jenna Mallberg, Matthew Blount, Ashley Dickerson and Andrew Kerry. From left back row, Ted Sielatycki, Jenna Scott, Isaiah Rutledge, Grant Smith, Joshua Furlough and Carter Cunningham.