The Right Place: Connie Ritter, MBA’80

From the Spring 2010 edition of Vanderbilt Business

Connie Ritter
Connie Ritter

When Connie Ritter, MBA’80, was trying to decide which job offer to accept in anticipation of her graduation from Owen, she got some career advice that she has never forgotten. In her typical analytical fashion, she had created a matrix with factors that she thought should enter into her consideration, but Professor of Management Germain Böer told her to throw it away.

“He said, ‘When you find the right company, you’ll know it in the pit of your stomach,’ ” she recalls. “And you know what? He was absolutely correct. I got an offer to talk with Exxon soon after that, and I knew then that it was the right place for me.”

The right place indeed. Almost 30 years later Ritter is still happily employed at ExxonMobil. Over that time she has held a variety of financial management positions within the company, including stints with the chemical and oil and gas operations in Houston and a copper mining venture in Chile. “I know it seems old-fashioned to young people today, but one of my goals coming out of school was to be able to do a lot of different things under one corporate umbrella, and ExxonMobil has given me that opportunity,”
she says.

Since 2006 Ritter has served in a senior leadership role as the Global Planning and Development Manager for the Controller’s Department in Dallas. In this role she is responsible for both personnel development and strategic planning. The two sides of the job have allowed her to exercise different skill sets: a hands-on, operational approach for personnel development and a more thoughtful, big-picture approach for strategic planning. The latter has been particularly gratifying for her because, in some sense, she has realized a lifelong dream in the process.

“When I came out of Owen, one of the objectives on my resume was to do strategic planning, but at that time I didn’t have a clue what that meant,” she says. “Now, when I sit in my office and stare out the window, I think, ‘I’m actually doing what I thought it was I wanted to do when I was 25.’ ”

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