Isenberg MBA Student Excels in Cooperative Education Challenge

December 18, 2012

Grant GigeeGrant GigeeGrant Gigee, a second-year student in Isenberg's Full-time MBA Program, is the recipient of United Technologies Corporation Aerospace Systems' (UTAS) Level 1 Award, the highest honor for individual contributions to that firm. Gigee earned the accolade in his role as Assistant Program Manager, a post that he has held since last May through a Cooperative Education arrangement between UTC and Isenberg.

In that role, Gigee has driven the development and subsequent roll-out of the I-CAN Career Achievement Network Career Development site. The on-line tool allows employees to project and evaluate their potential career paths in the organization's supply chain arena. "It's a revolutionary, application that lets employees explore career options and map their careers by bringing together job titles, competencies, training resources, and much more," observes Andrea C. Morrison, Gigee's supervisor and Manager of Supply Chain Training & Development.

"Working on iCAN has been a great opportunity to realize skills and knowledge refined over two years at Isenberg," notes Gigee. A hallmark of the Isenberg program, he continues, is the application of business and management skills through "real-world experiences at local businesses and organizations, culminating in a demanding, semester-long practicum requiring professional judgment to address challenges at partner institutions." [i.e., businesses and non- profits]

For Gigee, teamwork in UTAS's highly supportive organization was a critical ingredient of the project's success and his own personal growth. "You can imagine how proud our team has been of our work. UTAS has recognized the critical role each of us played, whether a co-op from Isenberg or a manager with years of experience," he emphasizes. "We have been thanked by many for our months of hard work and encouraged to make iCAN an even more robust tool for career development knowledge. My time has been very well spent here and I look forward to working on similar projects in the future.

"We originally hired Grant for his project/process management skills," adds Morrison. "His exceptional leadership in driving the initiative, moreover, included working closely with the developers with code to customize the tool and keep the project moving. Thanks to Grant, it launched in November ahead of schedule and under budget. Since then, the response from our employees has been fantastic-over 4,000 hits; more than 150 a day."

The project, notes Morrison, has also helped disseminate shared cultural values at UTAS Aerospace Systems, which formed last summer from a merger between two industry leaders, Hamilton Sundstrand and Goodrich. To that end, Grant facilitated meetings with former Hamilton Sundstrand and Goodrich employees that served to integrate the practices and values of both into the new tool. "The process and its outcome have helped us to create a common ground in the new organization," emphasizes Morrison, who foresees adaptation of the career development tool beyond supply chains to the organization's other functional areas.

Gigee is one of four Isenberg MBA students to have thrived in 6- to 8-month Co-ops in Morrison's organization during the past year. "They've done exceptional work for us," she emphasizes. "We consider them go-to people, whom we expose to significant challenges. For them, every day here is like going through a job interview.

"Grant and UTC both merit our highest congratulations," remarks Alan Robinson, Associate Dean of Isenberg's Full-time MBA Program. "UTC is among our longest-standing industry partners that offer experiential challenges to our students. They value our students and graduates as resilient problem solvers-not only for their intelligence but for a work ethic that embraces difficult challenges and sees them trough."