To Grad School or Not to Grad School? Ask Yourself the Question.

If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Are you asking yourself if you need a break post-Davidson before you pursue your next course of study?  Deciding on a program and when to enter is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.


The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.  Gap years are increasingly common for students and a great year to gain more experience, sharpen your professional skills and supplement your academic pursuits before pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

As you explore your options, you have many questions. Visit with faculty advisors to discuss your areas of interest and strategies to identify the programs that would best suit your interests.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies, by visiting the Center for Career Development.  Take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you now – or in the future.

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Staying Sane in the Insanity

itf294081I have worked at Davidson now for exactly 48 days.  In that time,  I have found that the Davidson work ethic that was rumored to me is definitely real.  I actually heard there is a term for this specific time period, “Hell Week” – when everything is due at the same time: papers, projects, research, and more.

In the midst of it all, graduating Seniors are also eyeball deep in the job search process; especially if they are interested in consulting and banking.  But guess what?  It is all manageable.  And as difficult as these few weeks seem, thousands before you have survived the journey and are now living wonderful lives and working in professions that make “hell week” look like a walk in the park – and they love it.

So here are just a few tips to keep your job/internship search on the forefront as you are battling the demons of almost mid-semester:

  1. Come by the Center for Career Development for a walk-in appointment to have your resume reviewed.  It will only take you 15 minutes and you’ll be glad you did it.  Hours can be found on our website.
  2. Organize an application, interview, info session calendar so you don’t miss something you are really interested in.  Set reminders on your phone.  Follow @DavidsonCareers on Twitter for additional reminders.
  3. Don’t have time for a mock interview in the CCD?  Check out the new online interview practice system, InterviewStream.  You can practice at 2am, in your bed, in your pj’s and everyone will be amazed at how much you’ve practiced.
  4. Set goals for networking.  Even if it’s just online networking through LinkedIn or Alenda Links, connecting is important.  Typical rule of thumb…if you don’t know someone at the company, you’re unlikely to get an interview.

With all that said, try to get SOME sleep.  And if that’s just not an option, visit Summit on campus for a little extra caffeine and a relaxing atmosphere to get all that work done.

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Red Ventures – Disrupting the Process

Ricky Stephens '12; History Major; Business Operations Analyst @ Red Ventures

Ricky Stephens ’12; History Major; Business Operations Analyst @ Red Ventures

It comes as no shock that Red Ventures has decided to go against the norm and to hold their Information and Networking Session at the on-campus location of Summit Coffee on Monday, September 22nd, from 6:30pm-7:45pm. A week ago, the College announced a 10-year partnership with Red Ventures, aimed at placing more Davidson graduates at career paths at the company. Anticipating their return to campus, we interviewed Ricky Stephens’12, an analyst at the firm, about his experiences so far.


Q: What attracted you to the company and role?

A: Before my senior year, I had my first internship in anything related to business, working for a search fund in Charlotte (essentially a one-man private equity fund).  I enjoyed the experience but still felt overwhelmed with the looming job search.  What company or industry did I want to launch my career with?  What type of role was I looking for?  I received these questions often, but I didn’t even know if a business job was necessarily what I wanted straight out of school.  So my boss at the time had me go through an exercise to brainstorm ideal characteristics and responsibilities that I would want in a job, rather than try to nail down a specific company or industry right off the bat.  I wrote down things like “working with a team to solve problems”; “ability to speak openly about and enact my own ideas”; “fun and cordial work atmosphere.”  It’s funny because I don’t think it even hit me fully during my interview process, but a few months after I started I thought back to that exercise and realized that so many of those core characteristics I had highlighted were very present in my job at RV.  That’s when I knew I was at the right place.


Q: What is the culture at Red Ventures like, and how is it conducive of a liberal arts background?

A: If I had to sum up the culture in 3 words, I would say: curiosity, ownership, and GO!  Curiosity in that questioning the way things currently operate here is a requirement.  This is probably the aspect of RV’s culture that parallels the liberal arts education most closely, and I think it was the easiest one for me to pick up and run with.  Ownership in that when you have a new idea that you want to test, it is up to you to implement it.  There are plenty of people around to help guide you, and many will go out of their way to do so, but it’s completely on you to see your own tasks or ideas through to fruition.  And GO in that when you do take on a new project, you’re expected to start learning from day one and make impactful changes quickly.  I see a ton of ways for Davidson students to take on ownership across a variety of projects, organizations, activities, etc., and it’s been very cool to see more opportunities arise just in the couple years since I graduated – the Entrepreneurship Initiative definitely comes to mind.  But some of that intensity and knack for driving ideas forward at a rapid pace is tough to learn when you are balancing 4 classes with other responsibilities; I know at Davidson it is easy to get involved in more activities than people truly have time for.  One of the things I’ve taken away from this job is that narrowing your scope to allow for a greater focus on fewer things can be positive (so can asking for help).


Q: What resources at Davidson helped you prepare for your current role?

A: The ascent of Career Services during my time at Davidson is a major reason I was able to find Red Ventures and prepare myself well for the case interviews.  They have so many more resources than I think a lot of students necessarily realize, and the biggest one might be Alenda Links.  Davidson alums never fail to impress me in their loyalty and their willingness to go the extra mile to help out a fellow Wildcat.  Use us to be curious and establish worthwhile connections.


Q: What do you love the most about your job?

A:  The ability to implement my own ideas practically on the spot, and the people I work with – they are extremely smart and driven, but at some point in time, you will laugh at every single one of them.


Q:  What is the most differentiating quality of Red Ventures?

A: I’d have to point to the accessibility.  That doesn’t just mean access to senior leaders, who are usually sitting at another cube around the corner from yours, but also access to all the different people who can help you bring an idea to completion – that means designers, writers, coders, most specifically.  The more I’ve been able to see how other companies our size work, the more I’ve realized just how unique it is not to have to pass your work off to 10 other people and never see the end result.


Q: Are there any myths about your role that you would like to debunk?

A:  If there is one myth I’d like to debunk it’s that a liberal arts education – or for that matter, a non-quantitative degree – can’t compete in this role with an undergraduate business or another more technical/quantitative degree.  Curiosity and a desire to learn will go further here than any combination of degrees.


Q: What advice would you give to people interested in working for Red Ventures, and how should they prepare for the interview?

A: We are as close to an open book as you can get.  If you think RV is a place you could see yourself working at, ask questions and find out as much as you can about the specifics of the analyst role and what it takes to succeed in it.  For interview prep, Case in Point – although it is geared more toward traditional consulting-style cases – helped me at least gain a general understanding for some of the concepts and approaches to solving business problems that come up in our cases.

If you are interested in learning more about Red Ventures, you are encouraged to attend the Information and Networking Session on Monday, September 22nd at 6:30pm, hear from a panel of speakers, ask as many questions as possible, as find out how Red Ventures disrupts the way business is done.

Please submit any questions that you would like Davidson Alumni to address during the panel to

Both internship and entry-level positions are available, check  WildcatLink  for more information!

Find Ricky and other alumni at Red Ventures on LinkedIn:

Ricky Stephens ’12     Katherine Wood ’13     Sydney Schreiner ’14     Jaime Dybuncio ’13     Benjamin Jackowitz ’12     Tom Polak ’14     Lucy McMurry ’13     Thomas Noel ’11       Robert Lorenzen ’13     Brian Sachtjen ’12     Abby Perkins ’14

Posted in Alumni and Networking, Arts, Media, Communications & Marketing, Consulting, Management, Sales & HR, Internship & Job Challenge, Internships, Job Search | Leave a comment

EY Financial Advisory: Not just another consulting company

EY Logo

As today is the final deadline to apply for EY Financial Advisory’s Business Advisory Program for internship and full-time employment, we thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight some of the things that makes EY Financial Advisory stand out.

On the consulting side of the business, EY strives to improve business performance while managing risk.  They focus on business-led and technology-enabled transformations.  While that may not seem much different than other consulting firms, some of the industries they are working with might.

Consulting Industries:

  • Automotive
  • Government & Public Sector
  • Consumer Products
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Oil & Gas
  • Power & Utilities
  • Technology

The major difference with EY is their dominant position in financial services through their Financial Services Office.  Interns and full-time employees may get experience on the financial side through the Business Advisor Program.

The Business Advisor Program introduces interns and new associates a multi-layer experience.  “With each engagement, you can expect to build leadership, communication, and client-management skills, as well as sharpen your problem-solving capabilities.”

On Monday, representatives from EY, including Anna Blair Bullock, Class of 2015, spoke with students about the Business Advisory Program (BAP) in the Financial Services Office (FSO).

The BAP is a three-year long program that involves multiple projects ranging from six to nine months in length.  The projects will focus on financial services risk management and performance improvement. The presenters emphasized that people who fit well in this program love financial markets, working in teams, and will make the most of opportunities given to them.

The BAP internship program is a shorter version of the BAP and includes many similar aspects. The goal of the internship is to prepare interns for the possibility of returning after their senior year and offering interns great training that can help them further their careers.

Important application information:

  • Deadline is September 18th at 11:59 PM for both internship and staff positions
  • Must apply through WildcatLink and the EY website
  • Application includes resume and city preference
  • On-campus interviews are September 29th and are only behavioral interviews; you will be asked to complete a writing prompt before your interview
  • Second round interviews are on-site and include case studies
Posted in Alumni and Networking, Career Exploration, Consulting, Management, Sales & HR, Finance, Real Estate, & Insurance, Internships, Job Search | Leave a comment

The Bain Community: “A Bainie never lets another Bainie Fail”

DSC_0884Walking into the Bain & Company Information Session, I knew only two important things about the company. I knew that Bain & Company is a Global Management Consulting Firm, and I knew that for a reason unbeknownst to me Davidson students seem to get very excited about this particular job posting each year. As a student who knew very little about the consulting industry, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the presentation other than basic information about how the company functions, and how to apply. And while the representatives did share that important information with attendees, the element of Bain & Company that truly shown through was their deep sense of commitment to community.

The presentation began with a brief run-down of what it is exactly that Bain & Company does. Bain helps CEOs and companies address their most important questions with the primary focus being on results. So, when a company wants to know how it could position itself to be more successful with mobile customers, they call Bain to get an answer. According to the statistics, their clients out-perform the market 4:1 and their return customer rate of 85% is a testament to their success as a company. Then the presentation moved to what one would expect to be doing as an Associate Consultant. The representatives were sure to emphasize that while there is no “typical” Bain experience, an employee can expect to gain case experience, meet with clients, work as part of a team to solve difficult problems, and undergo several rounds of training. However, the final part of the presentation, “Why Choose Bain,” put the rest of the event into context.

In this portion of the presentation two important themes seemed to emerge. Bain & DSC_0882Company is a community dedicated to the personal and professional development of each of their employees. The representatives mentioned the Aprenticeship Learning Model where new employees are taught all the basics of finance and how to think about strategy. When Bain employees want to go to school to get their MBAs, the organization is supportive and in some cases will even pay the tuition and fees. And office events like the holiday party or the Bain World Cup (where offices from around the world compete in a soccer tournament) build a community within the office dedicated to seeing everyone succeed. Not to mention their emphasis on the bettering of the global community through their commitment to education and global development. Not only will employees have an impact on 95% of the world’s GDP, but they will also take time out of their work week to volunteer with community service organizations in order to improve our global community. What became clear in the room that night was that “a Bainie never lets another Bainie fail,” and perhaps this commitment to community and service is what draws Davidson students to Bain & Company.

If you are interested in Bain, the application deadline is Wednesday, 9/17 at 11:59pm.  View the full job description on WildcatLink.

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Volvo – “Together We Move the World. What is your drive?”

Volvo Photo

John Trousdale & Elise Breda ’13

On Wednesday, September 10th, Elise Breda ’13 and John Trousdale of the Business Transformation Services (BTS) of Volvo group hosted an information session targeted at seniors interested in management consulting. BTS is the division that provides targeted decision support and analysis to executive-level stakeholders across Volvo’s divisions and business areas.

Starting with the infamous Van Damme split video,  Breda and  Trousdale gave a general overview of Volvo, making sure to differentiate between Volvo Cars and the Volvo Group, explaining that the Volvo Group, with its American headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina, is responsible for buses, trucks, construction equipment and boat engines. Volvo is a global company with more than 110,000 employees all over the world, from India to Sweden. The presenters spoke about the company’s vision of becoming the world leader in sustainable transport, starting with the company’s achievement of being the first carbon dioxide-neutral automotive plant in the world.

Breda has been working at Volvo for just over a year and has been involved in a variety of business aspects in a number of locations.  Like other consultants she has done some travel.  Unlike most other recent grads, she got to spend five months in Sweden while training with a cohort of other new consultants for Volvo.  While her life has been similar to many other new associates, there is a big difference for her in that her group only works to solve business problems within the Volvo Group.

Breda and Trousdale spoke extensively about the benefits of working as an internal consultant over an external one. Breda differentiated between the two roles by the number of hours worked, explaining that her role typically consumed about 45-50 hours of her week, while in many external consulting roles, this number would typically range between 65-70 hours per week. She also mentioned the many opportunities for international travel, given that Volvo is a global firm, as well as opportunities for promotions within the company. Above all, both presenters emphasized “The Volvo Way” – a culture of energy, passion and respect for individuals.

Given that the BTS group is a fairly small one (about 8-10 people in North America), the group is recruiting from a couple of selected top-tier colleges and universities in the North Carolina area, of which Davidson happens to be included. The title for the position for which the group is recruiting is “Associate Management Consultant”. A strong applicant will be a team player and have excellent problem solving abilities and exceptional academic performance (minimum 3.3 GPA).

Interested students must apply on WildcatLink by Monday, Sept. 15 at 11:59 p.m.  The first round of interviews will be at Davidson on October 1st. Davidson candidates may contact class of 2013 alum Elise Breda ( to hear more about her experience in this role.

Please contact the Center for Career Development if you have any questions.



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EY- Building a Better Working World

Anna Blair Bullock

Anna Blair Bullock ’15

On Monday, September 15th, at 7:30pm, EY Financial Services Advisory will hold an information session, targeted at all class levels, interested in both consulting and finance internships and entry level positions. In light of this, the Center for Career Development interviewed Anna Blair Bullock (class of 2015), who had the opportunity to intern with EY in the Charlotte office over the summer of 2014 and will be returning as a full-time Analyst upon graduation in May.

Q: What attracted you to the company and role?

A: I had heard great things about EY as a company and was excited when a 2012 alum reached out about opportunities in the Richmond office. Through the interview process, I realized what a flexible firm EY was. I was able to interview with the Charlotte office and was so impressed by all of the people I met throughout the process. In sum, I was attracted to EY because of the people and the vast number of opportunities available in the firm.

Q: How is the culture at EY conducive of a liberal arts background?

A: Throughout my internship, I was amazed by the culture at EY. The firm is huge, with over 200,000 employees globally. However, within each office, there is such an inclusive, fostering community similar to that of Davidson. The liberal arts education brings a different type of diversity to the firm because of the different skills and educational background we have relative to other candidates.

Q: What did you focus most on the role during the preparation process and what resources did you use from the CCD?

A: As I was preparing for my interviews with EY, I really focused on researching the firm and the position. It was important to articulate why I thought I was a good fit for the firm and why the firm seemed like a good fit for me. I felt prepared and confident for my case interview because of the extensive info and resources to practice case interviews. I would highly recommend practicing the CCD case studies with other students interested in consulting.

Q: Now that you have accepted the full-time offer to join EY upon graduation, what are you most excited/anxious about?

A: I’m most excited about the chance to work with great people on challenging but engaging assignments for a firm that has so many different opportunities for change and advancement around the world. As someone who didn’t study abroad, I’m thrilled that I could spend six months or two years working abroad.

Q: What advice would you give to students waiting to apply for internship/entry-level positions?

A: Be sure to reach out to the firm when they are on campus – attend info sessions, send follow up emails thanking people for their time and asking any follow up questions you have.

Anna Blair Bullock is a senior Economics major with a Communications Studies minor. She is very engaged on campus, serving as a Team Captain for the Women’s Swim Team, a Tour Guide and one of the two Senior Class Gift Chairs.

Information Session: September 15 @ 7:30 pm in Alvarez College Union 209

Available Positions: Advisory Consultant Program – Business Advisor Program – Intern and Advisory Consultant Program – Business Advisor Program – Staff

Application Deadline for both positions: 11:59pm on September 18

On-Campus Interviews: September 25

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The Beginning of a New ERA

Left to Right: Katie Layendecker, Amani Carter, Stella Dadson

Left to Right: Katie Layendecker, Amani Carter, Stella Dadson

This year, the Center for Career Development has added a brand new team of students to the staff! The new Employer Relations Ambassadors, ERAs for short, are a team of three bright young women who work with members of the Employer Relations Team behind the scenes. They are responsible for brainstorming and executing effective ways to connect students to possible internship and employment opportunities.

Katie Author Box PhotoThe members of the team come from literally all around the globe, with different interests and backgrounds. Katie Layendecker, a Gender and Sexuality Studies major with a Minor in Economics, is a native of Palo Alto, CA and Portland, OR. She has worked with various groups on campus such as the Davidson Women’s Action Committee, Warner Hall Eating House, and served as a member of the Executive Board for the Davidson College Crew Team.

Amani Carter Author Box PhotoAmani Carter, hailing from Bear, DE, is a History and Sociology Double major and the youngest member of the team. She has been a member of various student organizations as well, including the Student Government Association, Mock Trial, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her favorite quote is “take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose you will be wise.”

Stella Author Box PhotoAnd last, but definitely not least, Stella Dadson is a senior Economics major born and raised in Ghana. She has served as Freshman Class President, an Eco-Rep, and a conduct council representative for Warner Hall Eating House. She loves to dance and has showcased her talents by choreographing a dance for Dance Ensemble.

When they arrived early to campus in late August for training, they stepped into uncharted territory. This is the first year that students assume these roles, and their addition to the Center for Career Development marks the beginning of a new ERA for the office.

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Davidson Alumnus Leads McKinsey Info Session

Wilson McCrory '07 and Luke _____ .

Wilson McCrory ’07 and Levi Hetrick

McKinsey and Co. is increasing its effort to recruit Davidson students.  For the second time in five months, Wilson McCrory ’07 and Levi Hetrick, came to discuss strategy consulting, McKinsey, and the Business Analyst position at an on-campus info session. Students were given personal insight into the firm and the many career opportunities that come from experience at a leading consulting firm.

The Business Analyst(BA) position is the usual first role at McKinsey for graduating seniors, and an important role for the company. While they lack the MBA and years of experience of the Associates on their teams, Analysts are treated with the same level of expectations from the beginning.  BAs gain exposure to executives of their clients and do the same important strategy work as the other members of their team. Over the two years of the program, analysts can expect to work with several different clients and industries, gaining important experience that will help them to choose a specialty area later in their career. In their third year, analysts earn more leeway to choose what types of projects they wish to do. McKinsey will also sponsor Analysts who want to attend business school or other graduate education, with the expectation that the person will come back to the firm after graduating.

The global scope and close relationship with industry leaders puts McKinsey among the top consulting firms in the world.  The firm has a truly global presence with over 90 offices in more than 50 countries, and clients around the world. Both of the presenters talked about international clients and experiences through their work out of the Charlotte office.  These great connections and global scale also contribute to a vast network of resources both on the job and when people leave McKinsey.  The alumni network is always available to former staff members and includes complete alumni database and even alumni events. The goal is to make working at McKinsey a lifelong benefit.

Graduating seniors who are interested in this position must apply through WildcatLink and McKinsey’s website. The deadline is 11:59 pm on Sunday, September 14th. Applications must include a resume, an unofficial transcript, and office/practice preferences.

Juniors who are interested in interning this summer should be on the look out for positions in WildcatLink in January 2015.

Please contact the Center for Career Development if you have any questions.

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Davidson Alumni Represent Deloitte in On-Campus Recruiting Session


Billy Hackenson ’13 describes Deloitte Consultings’ focus on professional development for their team members.

On the evening of September 4th, four Davidson alumni represented Deloitte Consulting in an on-campus recruiting info session for May 2015 graduates.

Among the presenters were Andy York ’06 (Captain of the Davidson Recruiting Team), Billy Hackenson ’13, Mark Angel ’13, and Rebecca Weidler ’12.

The session provided seniors a glimpse into the world of a new Business Analyst working in Management Consulting.  As a Business Analyst, employees participate in a two-year rotational program where they have the opportunity to be involved with two industries, work with three clients, and participate in four roles.  The pathway from there varies as some second-year analysts will stay with Deloitte as full consultants and some will be sponsored to go to business school with the ability to return to Deloitte after completion.  The presentation was followed by an opportunity for attendees to network and ask questions about the application process.

Deloitte Consulting is part of a much bigger corporation, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.  Currently, 10-12 Davidson alumni work on the Strategy and Operations consulting team.  The Deloitte team has historically hired 2-4 interns and Business Analysts each year from Davidson.  Approximately 40-45 alumni work across the entire organization including staff in the Federal Consulting division, the well-known accounting practice, and others.

Graduating seniors interested in applying for the Business Analyst position can find the full description on WildcatLink.  Applications are due by 11:59pm on Monday, September 8th.  In addition to applying through WildcatLink, applicants must also apply online at  The application process includes a resume with SAT/ACT scores (broken down, not composite), cover letter, and an unofficial transcript.

The first round of on-campus interviews will take place on September 19th.  Second round interviews will be held in the Charlotte office on October 3rd.  If you have any questions, please contact the Center for Career Development.

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