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How an internship led to a full-time position at TIAA

Jose Ortiz-Lopez

A graduating senior lands a job in a rotational two-year program at TIAA

Have you ever wondered if going to a career fair could jump-start your career? Jose Ortiz-Lopez attended the Colorado Business School Career Fair last fall and landed an internship at TIAA, which turned into an elite full-time position post-graduation. Ortiz-Lopez graduates this December earning a BSBA in Finance from the CU Denver Business School and begins his new job in June.

Shadowing at TIAA for a summer

This past summer Ortiz-Lopez interned in the institutional finance area, which specializes in business enablement. Business enablement works on process improvement and business management for a variety of teams within TIAA. Shadowing several different areas throughout his 10-week internship gave Ortiz-Lopez a broad understanding of the company.

His manager designated half of Ortiz-Lopez’s time to connect with other employees and the other half to projects. This allowed him to network as well as strengthen his more practical skills in finance like digging into the complexities of Excel spreadsheets.

A few short weeks into the semester, he received that lucky phone call with an offer for a full-time position. He gladly accepted.

Now as he prepares for graduation, Ortiz-Lopez looks back on his time at CU Denver with gratitude.

Why CU Denver?

The ease of the transfer process, the welcoming community, and the appealing location all were factors that influenced Ortiz-Lopez’s decision to choose the University of Colorado Denver. “For my future career, I thought the CU Denver Business School would give me a lot of connections here in Denver,” Ortiz-Lopez shared.

For my future career, I thought the CU Denver Business School would give me a lot of connections here in Denver.”

A career center and professor made the difference

A lot of people have influenced his time here at CU Denver including Stephanie Sindt, Career Advisor, and Sue Wyman, Business Career Connections (BCC) Director. They guided Ortiz-Lopez on his career path by helping him identify exactly what he needed to do to get there. He attended a few BCC workshops as well as the San Francisco Career Trek last year, where he was able to visit companies like Google SF, FitBit, LinkedIn, PayPal, Uber, and Merrill Lynch.

Ortiz-Lopez credits guidance from Instructor of Finance, and the knowledge gained from her classes as a part of his internship success.

A student culture of diversity and drive

It also doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by so many peers with strong drive and motivation. Ortiz-Lopez says his classmates inspired him to take full advantage of his time here at the Business School.

Working in groups in a diverse environment at CU Denver helped him develop the people skills necessary for his internship and new job. “You have a diverse group working at TIAA, even diverse in ideas. You have to be able to work in teams and with people who have different ideas than you,” Ortiz-Lopez stated.

Reflecting on his experience, he has a few words of wisdom for his peers. “Be as connected as you can with whatever it may be, like clubs or events. Try to meet as many students and peers as you can. Network with companies and really anyone you can get in touch with. It will make the transition easier when entering the job market.”

“Network with companies and really anyone you can get in touch with. It will make the transition easier when entering the job market.”

A bright future ahead

During his rotational two-year program in Denver, Ortiz-Lopez will be an Institutional Finance Associate. Ortiz-Lopez had the option of working in two other cities but chose to stay in Denver because of its lively culture. He will be working within four to six different teams to get a high-level overview of all the different departments within the organization. This job will then lead to a management or upper operational position upon completion of the program.