At Fuqua, there is a wonderful program called Volunteer Alumni Career Fellows (VACF). The VACFs are Fuqua MBA alumni who volunteer to be paired with an MMS student by the Career Management Center (CMC). Matches are made according to the student’s interests and target industry. The purpose of the VACF program is to help MMS students with resumes, interview skills, and just about anything career related.

Each student is assigned to 2 VACFs, a primary one and a secondary one. To start with, we conduct an informational interview with our primary VACF, and then a mock interview. After a few weeks, we conduct another mock interview with our secondary VACF.

The program is very useful because you are in a safe environment where you are expected to learn from your mistakes, and the VACFs are here to assist you. For example, after my primary VACF asked me to go over my resume with her, she pointed out that I needed to focus on explaining why I did the things I did, rather than merely telling her what I did. Then, she used my resume and retold my stories as if she was being interviewed. It was so good that it almost didn’t sound like me. Point being, your VACF knows what interviewers are hunting for so he/she can help you sell yourself better.

Of course, mock interviews are just half of the deal. The other half is more fundamental. Take me for example. I’m interested in working for technology firms, but I have no technical background, so I couldn’t be an engineer. That’s fine, because every tech firm has its business side, which includes all sorts of roles in sales, marketing, finance, project management, etc. I was frankly confused as how these different functions work and where they would lead me in my career. But hey, my VACF is an expert on this, after all, we were paired up based on my career interest. Naturally, I sought her advice and did more research; over time, my confusion gradually went away. This discovery process turned out to be great preparation, too, as I found myself chatting with more tech folks and having more meaningful conversations.

The VACF program is safe, handy, and filled with serendipities, and it’s one of the MMS-specific resources that Fuqua offers. I’ve learned a lot by working with my VACFs.