UF MBA students outside of the Raymond James offices in Tampa.

UF MBA students get behind-the-scenes look at Raymond James and Amgen on Tampa City Trek

UF MBA students across its Full-Time, Professional and Executive programs visited Tampa-based companies Raymond James and Amgen for an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience. Students had the opportunity to meet and network with executives, many of which are UF MBA alumni, and learn about the day-to-day operations of each company.

“At UF MBA, we greatly value the relationships we have with our alumni and are proud that so many of them want to give back to current students,” said John Gresley, Assistant Dean and Director of UF MBA. “City Treks are a great way for our students to connect with UF MBA alumni, learn about how the UF MBA experience helped shape their career and give the students special insight into how successful companies are managed.”

The first stop on the Tampa City Trek was Raymond James, the St. Petersburg-based financial services company. Students met with three company leaders who are also UF MBA alumni, including a Managing Director, a Vice President, and the President and CEO of Raymond James Bank, where they discussed the different functional areas of the company, company culture, advice on career and professional development, the importance of networking, recommendations for building the right team and gaining support, mentorship, delegation of responsibilities and relationship management.

“When I saw the opportunity to visit Raymond James with UF, I immediately got excited,” said Ryan Linsley, Executive MBA student. “I first contacted a former UF Executive MBA student, currently employed at Raymond James, and got the opportunity to contact the individuals at Raymond James ahead of the visit.

“What made this networking opportunity truly special was the common bond of attending University of Florida. This allowed the conversation flow from the initial icebreaking conversations to immediately discussing opportunities at Raymond James. As of now, I’m in contact with two of the presenters working to find a perfect fit.”

Tom Zarella, Executive MBA student, added, “The individuals we met at Raymond James were high-caliber, high ranking executives who spoke candidly about their roles and responsibilities, sharing personal advice and industry insight, as well as their own successes and achievements. As an executive myself, the opportunity to interact and network with proven leaders on these topics was a major benefit.”

The group then moved to Amgen, a biopharmaceutical and biotechnology company, which recently expanded its operations to Tampa. The students met with the company’s Human Resources Site Lead, who is also a UF MBA alumna, where they received a site tour, learned about its open-office concept, as well as heard from executives in accounting, information systems and global business services, about the company culture, professional development, and how to build and lead a team.

“Amgen, as well as several other pharmaceutical and medical companies, have opened global Shared Services branches in Florida to take advantage of the state’s geographic position, allowing them to service west coast, Caribbean, and European sites,” Zarella said. “I was impressed by the executives’ length of service to Amgen and their favorable characterization of the focus and culture that has enabled Amgen to create medicines and therapies that prolong the quality and length of human life.”

Patty Taddei-Allen, UF MBA Online student, added “The most interesting aspect was learning about how the Amgen Capability Center came to exist and its function within the organization. Also, I really enjoyed the tour of the “Next Gen” workplace, which is designed to promote cross-functional teamwork and eliminates offices.  It was interesting seeing the unique workplace in action and being able to ask questions on how they handle certain situations that might be a barrier.”

Overall, the experiences at both Raymond James and Amgen gave students an exclusive opportunity that only UF MBA can provide.

“The opportunity to visit these firms, and the high-quality interactions with their leaders, demonstrated UF Warrington’s robust ability to cultivate and maintain high-level professional relationships with alumni and other industry contacts across many industries, for the benefit of their executive MBA students,” Zarella said.

This is the second City Trek of 2018. This year, students have also visited South Florida-based companies Carnival Corporation and Citrix.


As UF MBA continues to expand its professional development and experiential learning programs, it looks to build its network of cities and companies where it can offer City Treks. If your company is interested in partnering with UF MBA on future opportunities, please contact John Gresley, Assistant Dean and Director of UF MBA, at john.gresley@warrington.ufl.edu.