Brandon Pollock ’19: Make-a-Wish Foundation

Jason Lee MillerLeave a Comment

Brandon Pollock '19 with Make-a-Wish Foundation poster

Brandon Pollock ’19 opted to do two DFEs, one between his sophomore and junior year with The Resource Group, a hospital supply chain solution company, and another with the Make-a-Wish Foundation this past summer.
(Photo: Desiree Dunn ‘21)

Brandon Pollock grew up in Knoxville, Tenn., never having a clear idea of who he wanted to be. He just resolved to work hard and follow his passions, and it’s always just worked out for him. A business major set to graduate in May, Brandon now looks five years down the road and sees himself pursuing his MBA, even if it’s unclear where he’ll end up working after college. This is just part of the reason he opted to do two DFEs, one between his sophomore and junior year with The Resource Group, a hospital supply chain solution company, and another with the Make-a-Wish Foundation the following summer.

At The Resource Group in upstate New York, Pollock learned the ropes of group purchasing, economies of scale and financial analysis. He made a significant impact that summer by reviewing contracts and discovering about $20,000 in savings for the company. Pollock came to view a financial statement as “a piece of art” that pushed him to use his foundational knowledge to look deeper and discover the reasons and meanings behind things.

Headshot of Brandon Pollock“I thought it was a lot of fun,” Pollock said. “It really lays the groundwork for going deeper into corporate finance, which is what I am interested in, trying to solve problems for businesses and looking at the bigger picture. It helps you to take a critical-thinking lens to all the fundamentals of business.”

His second summer, though, added some feeling to the process. Interning with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Pollock says he became emotional a number of times as the organization worked to fulfill the desires of terminally ill children. There were four typical wishes, he said: the wish to be, to have, to go or to meet—with the wish to go being the most requested. Most wanted to go to Disney World, though many could not due to physical limitations. In those cases, Make-a-Wish made an effort to bring Disney to them. Brandon’s job wasn’t to make those things happen, but to analyze the organization’s volunteer database and identify critical points where volunteers become fatigued and leave.

The typical volunteer, Pollock said, made it about three years before diversifying their involvement, perhaps by giving more and volunteering less.

“It started making us wonder how to get them to give of themselves a little longer.”

By the end of the summer, the answer wasn’t any clearer, but Brandon left with the accomplishment of identifying the stress points and getting the conversation going.

“Field experience internships in general are pretty important,” Pollock said. “It’s taught me more about what I’m looking for in a job and what it means to work. Those two DFEs helped me see a path for the next three to five years so I have a better idea of the skills I want to work on, what I want to be and what I don’t want to be.”

The most valuable thing Brandon says he’s learned through the experience is the type of place he wants to work.

“I want to work in a place with a fast-paced, numbers-driven environment where emotions are not really tied into it, where at the end of the day the business is serving the customer.”

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