Fuqua’s Career Management Center (CMC) deserves HUGE props for setting up numerous activities to prepare us for the professional world. The CMC set up mock interview sessions, resume writing workshops, and even interactive panels with MMS alumni who returned to Fuqua to share their professional experiences with us. So far, the Volunteer Alumni Career Fellow (VACF) program has been one of my favorite CMC activities this year.

At the beginning of the year, the CMC sent us a survey to gather some insight on the industries that we’re interested in. The CMC then used the information to match each of us with Fuqua MBA alumni, who serve as VACFs. These alumni work in all sorts of industries such as consulting, marketing, general management, and finance. And trust me, these are companies you’re interested in. Ever heard of IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, American Express, Hershey, or Google? Yeah … thought so.

As part of the VACF program, we were required to perform informational and mock interviews with our designated alumni. Each VACF then provided feedback so that we could improve our interviewing skills and responses, in preparation for our real interviews.

My Amazing Alumni

I was paired with two incredibly successful professionals in the consulting industry — a manager with Deloitte and a consultant with Mars & Co. After my informational interview with my Deloitte VACF, she was tremendously kind and offered to let me come shadow her in Atlanta. She said the only way to know if I was truly interested in consulting was to get some real-time experience, and I agreed. Let me emphasize that she was in no way obligated to extend this offer to me, but that’s one of the benefits of having such a great Fuqua family — everyone wants to help you succeed.

So a few weeks later, I took a two-day trip to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit my VACF in the Deloitte office. She spent the day introducing me to her coworkers in both the Human Capital and Strategy & Operations departments. My VACF was also kind enough to set up about 10 informational interviews with her coworkers, so I could gain even more insight about the consulting industry. I was given the opportunity to ask anything, literally anything, that I was curious about. It’s not every day you get to sit in an office full of professionals who want to share their inside knowledge with you. Everyone in the office was so unbelievably kind and willing to offer advice. Not to mention, it was great to meet some fellow members of the Fuqua family. I could not have asked for a more positive and helpful visit to the firm.

Then, with my second VACF from Mars & Co, I was lucky enough to have our mock interview the day before I had a real interview. So after we were through, she gave me tons of positive feedback and answered some last-minute questions I had on various topics. She really boosted my confidence for the following day. Remember, the ability to exude self-confidence is something that can make or break an interview. So for that experience, I am also extremely thankful.

These experiences are not just unique to me, as some of my classmates have had equally positive interactions with their VACFs. One classmate actually landed an investment-banking interview after impressing his VACF during the mock interview. But like I said earlier, the VACF program is just one of several valuable opportunities that the career center organizes for MMSers, and they’re all worth taking full advantage of — you never know where they may lead you.