Capital One Senior Business Manager Merideth Girardi Discusses Rotational Programs, Internships, and Acing Your Case Interviews

Merideth Girardi works as a Senior Business Manager at Capital One.

Here is what Merideth had to say when we asked her about career best practices:

GenHERation®: What are three steps you should take to prepare for a case interview?

Merideth Girardi: The company you are interviewing for will send you cases, key terms, and formulas, so you should first review these documents. Then, you should review basic business concepts outside of what the company provides. A few examples include break-even analysis, revenue, cost, and profit. Lastly, you should do a practice case. If the company doesn’t provide you with any you can find several online. You can even practice with a friend.

GenHERation®: As a student, what actions should you take to make the most of an internship?

Girardi: Internships are very short, so you don’t have a lot of time to develop new skills. The most important thing you can do during an internship is network and build relationships. Connect with people across different departments for informational interviews or coffee chats. Ask people about their professional experience and learn from them. I personally would love to hear from previous interns, so follow up with the connections you made even after your internship is over.

GenHERation®: What is a rotational program, and when should you pursue one?

Girardi: Rotational programs are awesome! They weren’t as widely available when I graduated, but now they are becoming more prevalent, and they really give you an opportunity to more fully experience a role across a variety of teams at a company. Capital One rotational programs are nine to 12 months, and you spend time in two different roles. You work in two very different teams across the company. You learn different skills and can really find what you are passionate about. You also usually get skill development trainings and networking opportunities when you participate in a rotational program.

GenHERation®: How can you build a strong professional relationship with your manager when you join a team?

Girardi: Be open in general. If you know things that help you work more effectively, share them. Your manager wants to know how to make you a more effective employee. Receive feedback as constructive advice. Don’t be combative and feel like you are being criticized. If you don’t understand the feedback, ask to clarify. You want to learn and grow from feedback.

GenHERation®: What strategies do you utilize to be an effective leader?

Girardi: In general, the most important thing is to listen. People will tell you what they need either explicitly or implicitly. As a leader, giving consistent, constructive feedback is incredibly important. If someone is doing something you don’t like they won’t know unless you tell and help them improve. Sometimes the best way to help people is to sit down with them and work through roadblocks rather than working in silos.

GenHERation®: How do you structure your day, so you can achieve your goals?

Girardi: First off, I chose to work in fraud because I don’t want to have a standard day. I enjoy working in a constantly changing, challenging environment with lots of interesting problems to solve. I always start my day by seeing what is happening today and the next day. I know what is important for me to go to and what I could miss if a fire drill happens. I always end the day looking through my emails. If there are emails I haven’t read, I skim them to know if I owe somebody something. I find organizing my inbox to be really crucial. I have probably 100 different folders in my inbox. If an email is only informative and doesn’t need action, I put it in a folder. I have a folder for every single project. This also cleans out my inbox. What’s in my inbox requires a response or action.

GenHERation®: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Girardi: The thing I have taken to heart the most is that there are no dumb questions. I try to remember at some point everyone in the room had to learn something I was asking whether it was 10 months ago or 10 years ago. Ask the question rather than assume the answer.

Merideth Girardi works as a Senior Business Manager at Capital One and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Finance from James Madison University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her kids, cooking, and playing tennis.

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