Class of 2017 Spotlights

As we celebrate the success of the class of 2017, let’s take a look at where some of our earliest Wildcat alums are headed! Julia Sacha ’17 and Obai Kamara ’17 share with us their upcoming career plans and ways they leveraged the Center during their years at Davidson.

 

Julia Sacha ’17

We’re so excited for you – tell us about where you’re headed next #AfterDavidson!

I will be working as a clinical research coordinator for the Mountain Diabetes and Endocrine Center in Asheville, NC. 

What resources from the Center for Career Development proved most valuable to your professional development as a student?

The Career Center helped me ensure that my cover letters and resumes communicated everything I wanted them to. They were also very encouraging during the application process. Rebecca [Glavin] knew my interests and even started forwarding me job applications on Handshake. 

What is the most surprising interview question you’ve been asked?

I was once asked what the organization’s staff should dress up as next Halloween.

What one key piece of advice would you offer to rising Seniors?

Celebrate small victories. If you don’t get a job you were hoping for, you’ve still learned something about yourself in the process and increased your ability and comfort with communicating who you are and what you care about.

Obai Kamara ’17

We’re so excited for you – tell us about where you’re headed next #AfterDavidson!

I’m happy to say that I have found a job close to home, working as a cost and schedule analyst for Augur Consulting firm in Crystal City, Va.

What resources from the Center for Career Development proved most valuable to your professional development as a student?

As a college student at Davidson, we are involved in a lot of things, and I think the Center for Career Development does a good job of focusing our many talents and accomplishments in a way that makes us the most marketable to employers. I’d say the walk-in meetings were the most valuable for me because I was able to get a lot done in a short amount of time.

What is the most surprising interview question you’ve been asked?

Someone asked my where I was from, which was surprising because it’s one of the first things on my resume!

What one key piece of advice would you offer to rising Seniors?

Get to the Center early and often. The more you practice interviewing, the easier it becomes to vocalize everything you have been working on for the past three years. The staff is very friendly and they want to see you succeed, so they will do everything in their power to help you. 

The Power of the Davidson Alumni Network

When I speak with my friends and peers about post-grad plans, we all have different stories about how we found our first job. However, one thing we can all agree on is that landing that your first, straight-out-of-college career requires hard work, persistence and preparation. I’m writing this blog to tell you the not-so-elegant story of how I landed my first job out of college.

One day while perusing LinkedIn, convincing myself that I was working on my professional development, I accidentally tripped across my current employer. I kid you not, I wanted to see the power of the LinkedIn “Easy Apply” feature and, after a few clicks, was surprised by how easy it really was. In the matter of 30 seconds I had accidentally applied for a position I was dramatically under qualified for at a company called 2U. After a few moments of panic, I was able to withdraw my accidental submission. However, after looking into the company I had just accidentally applied for, I found that they were actually the company of my dreams, a technology company with the mission of making higher education more accessible.

A week later I scheduled a meeting with Jeanne-Marie Ryan, the Executive Director of the Center for Career Development, in order to strategize about my job search process. After expressing my interest in 2U, she gave me the contact information for Davidson Alum, Andy Thompson (’10), an employee of 2U. I connected with Andy within the next few days, had a great chat with him about his role at 2U and expressed my interest in joining the team. Presumably, Andy liked what he heard about my education and work background, because after we hung up he walked down the hall and recommended that HR review my application.

Fast forward a few weeks and many interviews later, and I have received and accepted an offer from 2U to work as a Marketing Associate in their office in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I could not be more excited about this opportunity, and sincerely believe I owe a large part of my success to the Davidson College alumni network.

In addition to 2U, Jeanne-Marie was able to connect me with Alumni at almost every company I applied to, whether it was a 30 person company or an almost 50,000 person company. Some panned out into offers and even for those that did not result in anything, I found the conversations to be extremely rewarding. The willingness of Davidson alumni to work on our behalf is encouraging. The support of the Davidson community extends far beyond this campus and I encourage all of my peers to think hard about tapping into the power of the Davidson alumni network in looking for jobs or making connections in new cities.

Cameron Causey ’17

Don’t Just Move Forward in Technology – Sprint Ahead

With technology careers in high demand, coding bootcamps have become an increasingly popular method for recent college grads to gain the additional skills needed to jump start a career in technology. Coding bootcamps are short, intense, training programs focused on teaching students the latest, in-demand technical skills. The average traditional coding bootcamp costs anywhere between $12,000 and $24,000. For many recent grads this cost is not a realistic option, given they may already be facing undergraduate student loans. Davidson College has partnered with a leading talent development company, Revature, to offer Davidson graduates a no-cost option that not only provides hands-on coding training, but also launches IT careers.

Revature is at the forefront of innovation and talent development. They provide training to recent college grads in enterprise-level, next-gen and niche technology through a world class 12-week immersive, industry aligned coding bootcamp. Revature’s talent development model is among the most inclusive and accessible in the nation. Graduates of the program become Revature professionals and work on innovative, challenging and rewarding software development projects for Revature corporate partners, including leading Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, and top systems integrator.

Camp includes:

  • A 12-week immersive, industry-aligned coding training program
  • Paid accommodations and a weekly living allowance during the training program
  • All books and training materials are provided at no cost
  • Professional certificates are paid for by Revature
  • Dedicated industry mentors to ensure your success during the training bootcamp and the first two years of employment
  • ePortfolio to showcase your projects, accomplishments, and certificates
  • Guaranteed employment for bootcamp graduates (positions located throughout the U.S.)

To be eligible for the bootcamp you must:

  1. Have graduated in the past two years with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (preferred majors include: Computer Science, Informatics, Engineering, Statistics, Economics, or Mathematics)
  2. Have some experience with C++. C#, Java or other select languages
  3. Be a U.S. Citizen

Don’t have the necessary programing experience? Don’t worry, if you aren’t ready for the intensive 12-week intensive bootcamp, Revature offers free online programs that support all levels of abilities from beginner to advanced.

Interested? Don’t wait as space is limited! Please visit http://www.revature.com/davidson for more information and to apply!

 

FAQS:

What makes Revature unique?

Most training bootcamps require you to invest in them. Revature is unique because Revature invests in you! Revature partners with many leading Fortune 500 companies, government organizations, and top systems integrators that are looking to for software professionals with experience in niche, next-gen, and leading-edge technologies. Revature hires entry-level coders, and then through immersive training delivers job-ready experienced software engineers. Graduates of the program go on to work on innovative and challenging projects for Revature’s corporate partners.

How do I apply?

Go to Revature.com/davidson

Can I contact a recruiter directly?

Yes! Call 888-789-1075 or email davidson@revature.com.

Can I join the coding bootcamp if I have no coding experience?

While anyone can apply, the coding bootcamp is very immersive and intensive. A background in coding is essential to successfully completing the program. If you have no coding experience, we suggest you enroll in our free online program first. Once you’ve completed a project with our online program, we’d love to have you apply for one of our coding bootcamps!

Where are bootcamps located?

There are remote bootcamps offered throughout the country with rolling bootcamps offered at Revature’s headquarters in Reston, VA.

 

By: Emily Hartman, Revature Marketing Director

Exploring Your Interests: The Value of Events On and Off Campus

Have you ever wondered what career field is right for you? All of us at some point have considered our interests and how they may align with certain internships, jobs or positions in the future.  Oftentimes, the best way to identify where our interests may or may not lie is through experience.  Opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom can be our windows into different types of real world experiences.  These opportunities don’t always have to take form in a summer long internship.  Events found on Handshake like career treks and local competitions can be valuable learning experiences.

The Charlotte HACKathon hosted by Tresata was an overnight competition that sought to solve a problem presented by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte. Contestants were given a large dataset and tasked with identifying strategies or insights into how to improve matches between volunteer mentors and local students.

The competition gave contestants an opportunity to work as a group to help a local non-profit in a meaningful way as well as gain exposure into the world of Big Data analytics.  Overall, the event gave good insight into the skills and techniques used in a real-world application and allowed participants to put their own skills to the test.

These types of experiences are priceless when deciding what career field you may be interested in.  You learn what skills you want to obtain and what tasks you enjoy, as well as learning techniques for solving problems on the fly.

While you’re searching for a potential career field that might interest you, I urge you to consider events on campus or in the area that could help guide you in the future.  Investing your time in an event one afternoon can open the doors for future opportunities.   As a Davidson student, your time is valuable. Participating in and/or attending events like career treks, or the upcoming DataFest on campus, can be a quick and easy way to test your interests before taking on a summer internship in a field that you are unsure about.  Then, once an opportunity that aligns with your interests opens up, you can confidently pursue whatever comes your way.

Chris Cardwell ’18

Landing Your Summer Internship

Applying to summer opportunities is arguably one of the most stressful, taxing experiences of a college student’s career. What is the first step? Which city is best for me? Which city is best for the industry that I would like to enter? How do I make connections with people in the field? All of these questions, and the plethora of others, can quickly overwhelm and lead to stagnation. Connecting with alumnus/a before applying to a position can alleviate some of these stressors and avoid such stagnation. Here are steps to follow in order to speak with alumni who can offer career guidance and tips for the application process.

1 – Determine the city, or cities, that both appeal to you and are relevant to the industry that you would like to enter. For me, this meant either New York City or Boston—personally, because I am from the Northeast and miss it during the school year, and professionally, because these cities offer a multitude of marketing and sales opportunities.

2 – Research companies that share a culture similar to yours and that will fulfill your career goals. Glassdoor, Instagram, Twitter, and the company’s homepage, can illuminate the culture of the company and provide insight into employees work ethic and success. I desired a company with an intense work ethic yet a healthy balance of self-care. By scouring the Internet, I determined which companies in New York City and Boston aligned with these desires.

3 – Exploit DCAN and LinkedIn to determine alumni who work in or around your ideal cities. In the search bar on LinkedIn’s homepage, search the company. Then, filter the search by selecting “1st” and “2nd.” Scroll down to “Schools” and select “Davidson College,” or whichever school by which you would like to filter. Either message the alumnus/a through LinkedIn or use college resources to figure out his or her email address.

4 – Send a respectful, inquisitive message/email in which you ask if they would have any time to discuss their career and future steps that you could take to enter the industry. For example, below is the email that I drafted and sent:

Hi xxx,

 My name is Kate McNaughton and I am a xxx at Davidson College with an interest in the financial services industry. I came across your profile on LinkedIn and decided to reach out. I am eager to learn about your experiences and the steps you might recommend a Davidson student take to break into the industry. It’s always fascinating to learn how Davidson graduates are able to apply their liberal arts education to a more traditional, business-focused setting.

I recognize that you are extremely busy, thus I appreciate any time you may be able to offer for a phone conversation in the next few weeks. Undoubtedly, my schedule is more flexible than yours, so please let me know when works for you and I can finagle mine. Thank you!

 All my best,

Kate McNaughton

Davidson College ‘18

5 – Engage in either a phone or Skype conversation. Do not start the conversation by demanding information on internships offered by the company. Naturally progress into this part of the conversation. Typically, if the conversation were not going well, I could pick up on the cues. In these cases, neither the alumnus/a nor I would venture into internship territory.

6 – More than likely, even if the interview goes splendidly well, it will be necessary to apply through pre-set channels. Hopefully, though, the alumnus/a will recommend the recruiters to pay attention to your resume and application materials. In my experience, if I connected with an alumnus/a before applying to a position, chances drastically increased that I would make it to the first round.

Connecting with alumni is a smart way to alleviate stress and avoid unproductive stagnation. These individuals feel a bond with students at their alma mater, thus they would like to help in any possible way. But remember, alumni will likely only help if you are respectful and seem genuinely interested in their career path and industry.

 

Kate McNaughton ’18

Job Shadowing Externship Program

The opportunity to apply for the annual Job Shadowing Externship Program is upon us. I’ll lay out the pertinent information and dates so that you are best prepared to apply and succeed within the program.

What is it?

The Davidson Job Shadowing Externship Program provides one-day and multi-day shadowing opportunities for students to shadow professionals (many of whom are alumni and parents) in an industry of interest. Last year’s program had students shadowing in Communications, Media, Marketing, Education, Banking, Finance, Healthcare, Consulting, Public Policy, Law, and various other sectors. No matter what your major is at Davidson, there is an opportunity available within in the program for you.

Shadowing experiences are available across the United States and around the globe. Wherever you are headed this summer, you can find an opportunity near you. If students must travel and stay multiple nights, there are even homestay and funding opportunities available.

Information sessions will be hosted to provide more details about the program. As will be mentioned later, all interested applicants must attend at least one of the Job Shadowing Information Sessions on:

March 2 at 11:05 am in Room 313 of the Union

March 13 at 4:30 pm in Room 209 of the Union

March 14 at 11:05 am in Room 408 of the Union

The Experience

Last year 141 students participated in 195 unique shadowing experiences. 57% of the participants were underclassmen while 43% were upperclassmen. For younger students, it is a great opportunity to get your head in the door in an industry, and to see if that career path is the one for you. An interesting and stimulating experience in the workplace may guide the rest of your time at Davidson. For older students, the program is a very real day in the life experience of what work in a chosen field will be after graduation. Regardless of year, the program offers invaluable networking experiences and insights into potential careers.

Previous students have thoroughly enjoyed the program; 98% of last year’s participants would recommend job shadowing to a friend. A student, who graduated last year and reflected on her job shadowing experience via blog, left this advice to perspective students:

“So I end with an urgent message to Davidson underclassmen: please, if you do anything during your career search, USE THIS PROGRAM. You will learn so much. You will meet people willing to help you in your journey. And you will finally have a few answers in your pocket when someone asks that dreadful question “so what are you going to do with that major?” Oh, let me tell you.”” 

If you would like to read this student’s full experience, it can be found here.

The Application

In order to apply for the program, students must attend one of the aforementioned information sessions. Attendance at one of these sessions will allow students to access the application via Handshake. Here are the important dates:

March 2, 13, 14: Students must attend an information session in the Student Union.

March 6: Students with Handshake access may begin to fill out and submit the application.

March 19: The deadline for all job shadowing applications.

March 29: Hosts and Students are notified of their job shadowing match.

If you have any questions about the experience or application be sure to ask them in the information session, or stop by the Center for Career Development for a walk-in Monday-Friday from 8:30am-5:00pm.

Learn more: www.davidson.edu/job-shadowing

Pat Morris ’18 is a Political Science major at Davidson.

Tresata Day: Success in the Workplace

“Constructive feedback is an investment in your career.” The Success in the Workplace professional development workshop emphasized this key point of feedback as an opportunity to grow from other people.

On February 23rd, I made an investment in myself and attended this final event of Tresata Day. The purpose of this workshop was to gain knowledge into the day-to-day skills of working on a job as opposed to the typical focus of just obtaining a job. It was a unique mix of presentation with consistent input from Tresata employees—and their CEO! This workshop was a great way to observe the true culture of a company and its employers, while also directly learning what employers like and dislike concerning employee and/or student interaction. As an intimidating reminder of the fact that I will be entering the “real” career field soon, I found the event especially beneficial for myself as a junior and thought it could definitely serve as a helpful reminder to graduating seniors as well. However, all of the information and tips provided were useful for any student entering any job or internship, whether it be your on-campus work study or an entry level position.

One key point that I took away from this event was knowing how to balance being an introvert in the workplace. It is very important to know who you are and how that may come across to other people, especially those who may not be introverts. This point ties in very heavily with obtaining feedback from others. People’s impressions of you matter. Being aware of who you are and how you operate/function personally and communicating and obtaining feedback from others will help you navigate the workplace much more efficiently.

Other key points from the workshop included:

  • Social media can be used as an extra advantage to you and your company if used properly.
  • If not used properly, social media can be detrimental to your career and possibly the company you work for.
  • Your body language, speech, appearance, and communication style ALL matter— Get feedback!! And always remember that when you are representing your company all of these things should reflect that.
  • One rule to live by when choosing appropriate work attire is if you have to ask if it’s appropriate then you already know the answer… (i.e. No!).
  • Constructive feedback is constructive – Google defines it as “serving a useful purpose” and that is exactly what it will do if you so allow.

Final tip from myself: Be sure to keep an eye out (and sign up) for other helpful and insightful events from the Center for Career Development on Handshake!

Mariah Clarke ’19

 

 

Davidson Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

“I wish I had more real world experience while at Davidson.”

Over the past few years, I’ve met with dozens of Davidson College alumni to ask them about their Davidson experience, and despite their different academic and career interests, one common theme holds true: Everyone I’ve spoken to wishes they had been better able to complement their liberal arts education with more hands-on experiences focused on the “real world” while in school.

While chatting with a Class of 2007 grad the other day, I asked him about his biggest takeaway from his Davidson education. He gave me the classic liberal arts response: at Davidson, he learned how to communicate, gaining invaluable writing and speaking skills that have helped him every step of the way from graduation through today.

However, as quickly as he pointed out his appreciation for the English department, this grad told me how much he would have appreciated more opportunities to get outside of the classroom while at Davidson. Just ten years ago, he said, if you weren’t an Economics major interested in finance, you were pretty much on your own. Few mentorship and job exploration programs were available to students following other academic paths.

When I told him about Davidson’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, his face lit up—that’s the type of program, he said, that had been missing from his education.

Davidson I&E, now enjoying its fourth year at Davidson, has quickly grown to become one of the most active and engaging extracurricular programs on campus, and with its many academic partnerships, I&E is becoming a central part of the Davidson experience.

Through summer internship programs with entrepreneurs and startups across the globe, and opportunities like 3 Day Startup and the Venture Lab, I&E offers a wide range of options for students, no matter their academic focus. Throughout the entire calendar year, I&E works hard to provide students with opportunities—to start a business, to intern at a startup, to pitch ideas to investors, and to gain mentorship from entrepreneurs and other professionals.

In my two years as part of the I&E Initiative, I have been able to do work that I had never imagined possible for a liberal arts-focused college student. Through I&E’s summer internship program, I was connected with VersaMe, an educational technology startup created by Jon and Chris Boggiano, Davidson’s own Entrepreneurs in Residence. At VersaMe, I became the tenth member of a quickly growing team, essentially created the young company’s marketing department, and worked directly with a great group of seasoned entrepreneurs, allowing me to get an idea for what it really takes to develop a successful business.

When asked how we value our education, the classic liberal arts response—“I learned how to think/write/communicate”—does mean something; in fact, I’d argue that it means a whole lot. The critical thinking skills we hone at Davidson are what allow us to be articulate, quick on our feet, and adaptable across situations, all traits which will serve us well regardless of where we end up postgrad. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to see how these somewhat intangible skills measure up to the requirements for the type of work we want to do. And that’s where I&E comes in.

Davidson I&E extends the value of a liberal arts education by encouraging students to experiment with our liberal skillset before we are released into the “real world.” If you’re interested in edtech, grab a coffee with the Boggiano brothers. If you want to work on your idea for the next great app, apply for the Venture Lab. If you’d like to join a startup for the summer, try out I&E’s internship program. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative will make this happen—all you have to do is come with energy and an open mind. (And Hannah, John-Michael, and the rest of the I&E team will be there to help you jumpstart the process!)

Allison Cowie ’18

 

Up Close with Harman: Finance + Liberal Arts

This past summer I had a 9-week internship at Harman International in their finance department as a “Financial Planning and Analysis Intern.” Despite Harman’s significant size, many people are unaware of the scope of the company’s business. Harman is a large corporation (about $7 billion of revenue) based in Stamford, CT, and is best known for being an audio company that owns JBL, AKG, and Harman Kardon.  However, their main source of revenue and focus is in car audio and infotainment systems. The company is divided into four segments: infotainment systems for cars, consumer audio, professional audio, and something they call connected services, which does outsourced research and development (primarily writing software for telecom and auto companies). What makes Harman so interesting to me is that it joins hardware and software almost seamlessly and covers a wide array of products and services that makes for a constantly evolving company where there are always more to learn. While the company was just acquired by Samsung, they still function autonomously. The internship offered opportunity, flexibility, and value far more than I imagined.

At its most basic level, the internship offered the opportunity for me to refine my analytical and quantitative skills, as I performed market share and financial analysis, developed financial projections, valuations and risk assessments for the CFO.  Coming from Davidson and having an interest in a career in finance, developing my analytical skill set was important to me. However, the knowledge and skills I acquired during this internship went far beyond just what I gained from preforming the tasks I was assigned. I developed relationships with many of the incredibly smart people that surrounded me, even if they weren’t in my division. My manager was able to introduce me to people in areas where I expressed interest.  After getting acclimated to the environment, I started to do this on my own, and even got involved with projects in areas I wanted exposure. For example, I was curious to explore the concept and methods of valuation, so I reached out to the M&A group where I got involved in a valuation project – something that proved extremely interesting to me.  This internship gave me greater confidence to take this kind of initiative, a life skill that I know will be incredibly valuable to me as I pursue my future career.

Finally, this internship gave me the opportunity to use my knowledge (mostly analytical problem solving strategies gained as a liberal arts student at Davidson!), creativity, and newly acquired financial skills to engage in an entrepreneurial business project and interact with professionals at all levels of the company. The interns were divided into groups to create and execute a business plan to promote and sell Harman headphones to companies and then present this strategy and results to CEO. The “Campus to Corporate” project was an all-encompassing “challenge” in many ways.  It further developed and expanded many aspects of my business skill set, challenging my ability to strategize, collaborate, be creative, and execute, while also honing my presentation skills.  Working with my teammates in a constantly changing and dynamic setting forced us to be nimble with our strategy execution and think outside of the box while staying focused on the end result.  On top of everything else, the opportunity to present to the CEO and other executives was extraordinary!

Apply to Harman’s College to Corporate internship on Handshake

Annie Walker is in her junior year at Davidson College, majoring in political science with a minor in economics. Annie is interning this summer at Wells Fargo’s Investment bank in their NYC Technology Media and Telecom group. 

Up Close with Tresata: Big Data

As a senior, Math major and Computer Science minor from Shanghai, China, my career interest is Big Data and data analytics, and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern at Tresata this past summer.

Because I am interested in using data analytics to unveil the hidden layers of pattern in data, Tresata was a great fit for me as a big data software intelligence company. Tresata believes that “data” is the theme of the next “industrial revolution” and aims to use data analytics to automate complex business problems.

The summer was rewarding because I was in a great position working with passion, but also challenging because this was my first professional experience in the field of data analytics. There was a lot to learn and quickly adjust to, such as the internal technologies and new programming languages. Moreover, after one and a half weeks of training, we (the interns) were then each given a project and related data; it was not easy for us rookies to approach those problems and massive datasets at first – my dataset was over 90G!

Fortunately, we had more than enough resources to help us succeed: everyone else at Tresata. We spent countless hours through discussion, mentoring, giving feedback and helping each other; it was truly a great working environment because everyone was a mentor and a friend at the same time. We enjoyed intellectual conversations on technical insights as well as discussions about one another’s personal life. Every month, the company sponsored a mandatory “Fun Event”: we went to attend a Knights baseball game in June and went bowling in July. Time flew by as we went from the clueless interns to seemingly experienced professionals, standing in front of everyone to present our projects in the last week.

Tresata has helped me get my first hands-on experience in the field of data analytics and also strengthened my pursuit of Big Data. Love your work and love who you work with!

Tresata currently has 3 internships posted. Visit Handshake to learn more and apply!

Tresata will also be on campus February 23 for a full day of events. Visit Handshake to RSVP.

Xudong “Brandon” Liang is a senior, Math major and Computer Science from Shanghai, China. He will join Tresata in the beginning of February in 2017.