All posts by Jeff Kniple

From Davidson to Deloitte through the Business Analyst Summer Scholar (BASS) program

Colleen Maher '14Recent Davidson grad Colleen Maher ‘14 had the opportunity to participate in the Deloitte Consulting Business Analyst Summer Scholar (BASS) program during the summer of 2013, which is the summer internship opportunity that Deloitte offers to rising seniors. Colleen is now a full-time Business Analyst with Deloitte Consulting, and she is here to share her BASS internship experience with you.

Can you tell us about your Davidson experience and how it led you to choose consulting?
At Davidson I was an Economics major, and I loved the liberal arts curriculum – I used to tell my 2nd Belk hallmates that I wanted to major in 101s! The diverse exposure to different topics was exactly why I was interested in pursuing consulting. I was involved in many programs at Davidson such as Honor Council, Warner Hall, and Building Tomorrow. I loved the varied opportunities to explore my evolving interests, which is something I found in Deloitte as well. As part of the Business Analyst (BA) rotational program we have the opportunity to participate in and lead firm extracurricular activities, similar to extracurriculars at Davidson. In addition to project work, these experiences allowed me to meet new practitioners and build a network in areas that interest me.

What is the Deloitte Business Analyst Summer Scholar (BASS) Program?
The BASS program is a 10-week summer internship that offers candidates the opportunity to be engaged on a real project experience, network with senior leadership, and learn about Deloitte’s culture and opportunities. BASS provides the opportunity to sharpen your analytical and business skills while working directly with clients. Summer Scholars have responsibilities that range from helping review client issues and interviewing key personnel to helping develop recommendations and preparing presentations. Moreover, participants attend a series of team-building events and office-wide meetings to hone teamwork and networking skills.

Can you tell us about your experience as a Summer Scholar?
Over the summer, I was engaged on an internal strategy project for Deloitte’s Office of Consulting. We were tasked to analyze global trends and anticipate their effect on Deloitte’s service areas to better inform senior leadership and drive firm investments. Throughout my project, I was given ownership of researching Nature and Resources trends, which included climate change and potential diversification of the energy mix. I participated in all components of the work – from the research stage to the data analysis and deliverable development. I had the opportunity to work with an amazing team who taught me everything from endless Excel shortcuts, to Edward Snowden’s geographic whereabouts, to how inadequate I am at trivia. We had great team lunches with “internet snacks” and dynamic conversations. I also had the opportunity to develop a strong intern network, and I still am very close with my intern class as we transition into full-time Business Analysts.

Deloitte University Interactive Wall
An Interactive Wall at Deloitte University

In addition to my project experience, I also had the opportunity to attend various training sessions and networking opportunities. For example, in the office on Fridays, we attended several lunches specifically designed for the intern class, where we would have a small lunch with senior practitioners and learn about their work at the firm. Other great experiences included our trips to Deloitte University (DU), which is a beautiful training facility outside of Dallas, TX devoted to developing and training Deloitte employees. We engaged in a project simulation and participated in training modules, all while enjoying some Texas sun and BBQ! During the summer, the firm also planned events for us including a Yankees Game and a comedy show in NYC.

What in particular led you to choose Deloitte?
I chose to pursue a career at Deloitte because of the opportunities for personal career development, excellent training experience, mentorship program, and the exposure to a diverse range of industries. At the end of the day, the people were really what sold me! All of the Deloitte practitioners whom I met through the recruiting process were incredibly helpful, engaging, and enjoyable. Moreover, the Davidson network at Deloitte is unparalleled, and I continue to be grateful for their support.

What advice would you give to applicants to the BASS Program?
Get to know Davidson alumni who are currently at Deloitte – we are on campus often and always excited to get to know new students. When prepping for interviews, practice cases with fellow applicants – you can gain a lot of perspective from giving a case interview to a friend. Learn to be comfortable sharing anecdotes about your previous leadership/internship experiences that can bring your resume to life, and familiarize yourself with past experiences that could be beneficial in behavioral interviews. Please feel free to reach out to me at comaher@deloitte.com with any follow up questions.

Many Paths bring Wildcats to a Consulting Career at Bain

Davidson Alumni Rob Stevens ’14 and Kyle Kinsell ’07 shared some details on building their careers at Bain & Co.  Interested students should come out for their information session on Tuesday, January 13 and apply by Sunday, January 18 through WildcatLink and JoinBain.com.  

Why did you decide consulting was the best fit for you out of Davidson?

Rob:  Coming into my junior year, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after graduation. What got me interested in consulting was the constant change of the work. One of my former supervisors at Bain told me, “As soon as you get good at one aspect of your job here, they give you something new to do.” The learning curve is pretty steep, and every couple weeks you’re learning something totally different. Much like taking new classes each semester at Davidson, the work here is often changing, and as a result you learn a ton on the job.

Kyle: Like many Davidson students, I considered banking following graduation, but after learning more about consulting, I found that the diverse experiences, focus on training, and career development that it offered were more appealing. In many ways, consulting has been a natural extension of the liberal arts learning experience that I enjoyed at Davidson, allowing me to explore a wide range of industries, companies, and disciplines.

What was the main factor that led you to Bain & Co.?

Kyle: Hands down, the people. I had a great interactions during the recruiting and interviewing process, and saw how strong Bain’s commitment to learning and professional development was firsthand. It was really an easy decision after that!

Rob: My answer here will likely be similar to my coworkers’ answers: the people. Every person I met with during the recruiting process was what I wanted to be as an adult: hard-working, fun, and humble. When I did the internship, I got to work with people who taught me so much, both in the day-to-day about our specific project, and also in the long-term about work and life as an adult. Some of my closest friends in Atlanta have been people I’ve met through Bain, which I think is a testament to how deep the culture runs here.

How was your Davidson education a great preparation for your position?

Rob:  I think my Davidson education prepared me really well for my work at Bain, though not in ways that I necessarily would’ve expected. I studied math at Davidson, and compared to some of my current coworkers who studied Economics or Business, my coursework is probably less relevant to what I do now. That said, I spend a ton of my time at work learning new, challenging concepts, and the rigor of Davidson definitely prepared me for that constant learning. Additionally, I believe that my activities outside of the classroom at Davidson gave me a lot of relevant job skills. The flexibility I learned from leading D.O. trips and captaining the ultimate frisbee team with my peers prepared me to be in a work environment where I’m always working with new people.

How/how much you recommend preparing for consulting interviews?  

Kyle: My advice is practice, practice, practice. The keys in my opinion are to simulate the real experience as much as possible. Work with a partner to give real cases to each other (no calculator!) and ask for opportunities to do practice cases with alumni who are in the field now and get their feedback. The more cases you do, the more comfortable you will be during the real interviews.

We hope to see lots of students come out for the Bain session, as well as the other great companies heading to campus this month.  

Citco – Finance Positions within a World-Leader

Representatives from the Citco Group of Companies came to campus to support a range of full-time and internship opportunities at their relatively new but growing Charlotte location.About Citco

Citco helps to track the investments and holdings of many types of investment funds to support both the clients and the financial controllers who make the investment decisions on their behalf. At their core they are an accounting firm, but the types of challenges they face daily go well beyond the “vanilla” investment portfolios of many mutual funds. As new types of deals have evolved and investment opportunities have become more complicated, the need for organizations like Citco to bring accuracy and clarity in financial record keeping and transparency to all stakeholders has become essential. As the representatives mentioned a couple times, “Bernie Madoff was very good for our business. “

Accounting is key to their work, but not essential to a student’s training before coming to Citco.

Citco came to Davidson to find the type of student who can learn quickly and handle the complexity of the deals that the company helps to manage. They look for students with either a strong understanding of accounting, or a strong understanding of financial capital markets AND the ability to learn the other side. From Davidson, they believe that our students can see Citco as a place to build a career and stay in multiple roles, or perhaps take the knowledge they gain and go into the management of their own funds, other financial services careers, or greater business endeavors.

The culture of Citco will appeal to many Davidson students as well. With casual attire as the rule, beer and wine after 5:00 in the office, a staff that trends younger than average and a variety of social events throughout the year, the Charlotte office may be a good fit for a new graduate or a summer intern.  But with operations in 40 countries, Citco employees may take their work to other offices around the world as well.  Look for their positions in WildcatLink and apply soon!

MeadWestvaco: All over your house, and some great job opportunities

MWV makes every French's Mustard Cap!  Millions per year!
MWV makes every French’s Mustard Cap! Millions per year!

Maddie Parrish ’13 and John Stillwell ’13 returned to campus to present on their employer since graduation, MeadWestvaco.  The two of them are both members of a new Sales Rotational Program that will introduce them to several opportunities with the company over two years, both across the United States and abroad.  At the end of the rotation both plan to stay on at the company.

MeadWestvaco (MWV) is perhaps known best for their paper- and cardboard-based products.  As the producer for well over 50% of the cardboard containers for Coca-Cola and Anheuser Busch along with over 4,000 other brands, MWV is a major player in paper-based packaging in this country and around the globe.  In fact, they currently hold 79% of the global packaging market and have operations in 33 countries worldwide.

The important work of doing packaging well is both an art and a science.  Maddie stressed the importance of the hands-on experience of purchasing a product, and the importance of the look and feel on buyers decisions.  John recently took part in a testing day when they stress-tested cardboard cases filled with Budweiser.  In addition to being quite entertaining, they learned a lot about the weak spots of the containers and will bring these findings back to the designers for future improvements.

Another part of MWV related to their growing specialty chemical products business.  Through these initiatives they are involved with a range of other clients.  They are the sole supplier for carbon filters used to protect passengers and the environment from gas fumes coming from every car made in this country.  MWV has also come up with a asphalt that can be laid in colder climates and has a very lucrative contract with China to supply it.  On a smaller scale, they are the sole supplier of French’s mustard caps and produce many plastic pumps and other gadgets.  All of this makes for a large and wide business with multiple opportunities for their rotational staff members.

Producers of cardboard and paper packaging for 4,000 customers and growing!
Producers of cardboard and paper packaging for 4,000 customers and growing!

Based out of Richmond,Virginia, Maddie and John have already traveled quite a bit in their first year on the job.  Maddie will spend 5-8 months in Bristol, England coming up as well.  Their jobs are challenging, but also quite a bit of fun.

The Finance Rotational program is posted now in WildcatLink.  Look for other roles soon.  John and Maddie recommend that all interested students take a look at mwvcampuscareers.com for the rotational programs and internships!

Erika Hernandez tells about her internship at Safe Passages in Rock Hill, SC

Erika Hernandez ’15, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.

I’ve spent most of my summer in Rock Hill, about an hour south of Davidson, helping

Erica and her supervisor, Sam Berinsky, the Volunteer Coordinator at Safe Passage
Erica and her supervisor, Sam Berinsky, the Volunteer Coordinator at Safe Passage

around Safe Passage. Safe Passage is an organization that provides services to victims and survivors of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual trauma. Safe Passage also has an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence who are in imminent danger.

I remember the day that I was given a tour of the shelter. I felt pretty cool getting so much insider access to this program that has saved people’s lives. As I walked through the shelter, it was pretty quiet since there were only a few residents. I remember thinking, “I’m glad the shelter is empty, that means there aren’t many DV cases going on…” As though my supervisor were reading my mind, she told me that it wasn’t a good thing that the shelter was so empty. South Carolina is the state with the highest rates of domestic violence, including women who are killed by their intimate partners, and Rock Hill is on the top list within the state. So, having an empty shelter did not mean that domestic violence was not going on out there; it meant that those who were in dangerous situations were not seeking help.

It was in that moment that I realized how critical Safe Passage’s services are. One of them is a 24/7 crisis hotline where anyone can call to get help. I’ve spent a good amount of my time here inputting data on the crisis call database which requires me reading the stories of the women AND men who call, telling their stories of abuse and hardship. I’ve read about women who can’t call the police because their abuser IS the police, others who were being held hostage in motel rooms and even men who feel the need to defend themselves for asking for help with their abusive wives. In my mind, these were all stories that could only exist in a movie but it’s not like that at all. These were real people with real troubles.

While I encountered countless stories that were hard to wrap my mind around, I’ve come to realize that each phone call the crisis line receives is someone else breaking the silence in their abusive relationships. Many women have stood up after years and years of abusive relationships, tired of receiving treatment they don’t deserve. It’s that first step that really brings hope to women and men in these relationships but they’re places like Safe Passage that provide guidance for the steps to follow in regaining hope of a safe future.

Emerson Bouldin talks about her experience so far through an internship at Williamsburg Regional Hospital in Kingstree, SC.

Emerson Bouldin ’16, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.

Williamsburg Regional Hospital Logo
Williamsburg Regional Hospital Logo

I am typing this blog post at my desk, or rather a folding table, in the office that I share with the Quality director. This ‘office’ used to be the patient chemotherapy room, and the curtain hanging in the corner and the old sink behind the door remind me of that. This summer, I have had the incredible opportunity to work as an intern at Williamsburg Regional Hospital in Kingstree, SC. I’m living in Charleston, which is about 70 miles away. It takes me about an hour and a half to get to work everyday. Mostly my mind wanders about getting more coffee, but the other week I caught myself thinking about the limited resources of Williamsburg Regional.

WRH is classified as a critical access hospital. Essentially, critical access hospitals are rural community hospitals that must meet certain criteria, one of which being that the hospital is at least 35 miles away from any other hospital. The director of Quality, who I share an office with, told me that there usually isn’t enough demand to sustain a critical access hospital. They exist because without them too many people would die, simply because they live too far away from a hospital. Therefore, these hospitals receive cost-based reimbursement in order to keep their doors open. More than most places, critical access hospitals feel the pressure of limited resources. My small office is a literal reminder of that.

During my first week, I found out that a significant number of employees did not have Microsoft Word because the program was too expensive. But Microsoft Word is the least of the hospital’s problems. There are daily concerns that revolve around Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements because even the smallest changes can have significant repercussions on hospital functions. I learned that larger hospitals often don’t worry if they cannot reclaim payments of $500 or less, but those lost payments make a serious difference here at Williamsburg Regional. Even patient care capabilities are limited because there are about 25 beds in the hospital, and only 6 of those of are Emergency Room beds. A bad car accident could easily overwhelm the ER. How do we balance maintaining cost-efficient facilities and also the capabilities to respond to serious emergencies? It’s incredibly difficult.

I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for the people that keep Williamsburg Regional running. We sometimes take for granted the availability of healthcare resources and forget how difficult it can be to maintain those facilities.

Grace Balte reflects on her early internship experiences at Greenville Forward

Grace Balte, ’15, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  

Grace after harvesting garlic from the teaching garden
Grace after harvesting garlic from the teaching garden

When I am not studying at Davidson, I am usually at my home in Atlanta. This summer, I have the amazing opportunity to work at Greenville Forward, which is a nonprofit located in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville Forward looks at Vision 2025—a document created by the citizens of Greenville that describes where Greenville as a community wants to have progressed by 2025—and monitors how far the community is progressing  and how to promote positive changes within Greenville County.

Before this summer, I have not really spent much time in Greenville, so it has been a great experience to learn about multiple aspects of the city as I am working here. On my second day in Greenville, I took a walking tour through downtown Greenville, seeing firsthand how downtown had been revitalized in the past ten years. I saw how much pride the people of Greenville take in their city, whether it be making the entire downtown area a pedestrian area or using Goodnight, Moon as the inspiration for Mice on Main, where bronze mice hide along Main Street, creating a scavenger hunt.

Greenville Forward is very interested in engaging with the community in ways that change Greenville for the better. They do this through talks with the community, film screenings, and working in community gardens, among other programs. During my first week here, we had a roundtable discussion about urban sprawl, an issue which greatly impacts Greenville. Instead of just talking in circles about how it was an issue, we discussed why urban sprawl exists and why it is so difficult to change it. It is discussions like these that have come to define my time and research at Greenville Forward. Instead of just saying that a problem or pattern exists in Greenville, I have been looking at why the problems and patterns exist and why it can be so difficult to change them and what change is possible.

One afternoon last week, I worked in the community garden harvesting some garlic. Although there are many community gardens located throughout the community, I was working in the teaching garden. While I have had some experience gardening, I learned so much more just on one afternoon than I have just gardening on my own. The entire experience was great; I got to meet many other people who were also interested in gardening as well as the best way to pick kale.

I am currently about halfway through my time in Greenville and I have enjoyed every minute of my experience so far. The best part of my experience, right now at least, is learning about Greenville both from an outsider’s perspective and from an insider’s. For example, driving through town and walking along Main Street has given me a great chance to see exactly how Greenville has changed and grown in the past ten years. By working in Greenville and getting to know the community both through my research and through my time involved with Greenville Forward’s programs, I get to know a different side to Greenville, one that as an outsider I probably wouldn’t be able to see. Although I will only be here for a few more weeks, I hope that during my time I will be able to keep discovering new things about Greenville, by both living and working here.

 

Xzavier Killings shares impressions at the midpoint of his internship at St. Luke’s Free Clinic in Spartanburg,SC

Xzavier Killings ’16, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  

Xzavier with Executive Director of the clinic, Patsy Whitney
Xzavier with Executive Director of the clinic, Patsy Whitney

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to intern at a medical clinic? To see a patient in dire need of your help and you have the knowledge and skills to help them? To hear the applaud and admiration of doctors and nurses for doing a good job? Well my experience is nothing like that, but I have been fortunate enough to turn everything I hoped for into reality.

Vital Signs —Before coming to St. Luke’s I knew I wanted to be a doctor,  but I didn’t have much experience in different areas of medicine. One might even blame this lack of experience on my knowing nothing about vital signs. I knew they were important because they had the word “vital” in them, but I thought that understanding them was a complicated process that only doctors and nurses knew how to decode. Luckily, I was wrong. My first patient was an elderly woman who was easy going. I feel that she sensed I was green behind the ears and she helped me through the process.  I learned that patients help healthcare providers just as much, if not more, than healthcare providers help patients. First we measured her blood pressure, it’s important to note that placement of the sleeve is key! After fiddling with what I thought was the right place, I pressed the button on the machine and it started beeping; it worked! Next we conquered the weighing scale which was pretty self-explanatory. The real challenge came with measuring blood sugar. Once I was over the fear of hurting her from the puncture of the needle, I was able to help. With each new patient, I am reinvigorated to record their signs because I feel it is their body’s way of communicating with me.

Free Food – I bet you’re wondering how free food is connected with my experience in health care. (If you’re not then I don’t understand why you don’t.) Well I’ll tell you, every Tuesday and Thursday St. Luke’s holds a night clinic for patients who aren’t able to attend the day clinic. Church volunteers started a tradition to prepare a meal for the doctors and volunteers who work the night clinics because most of them would leave their practices and regular jobs and come straight to St. Luke’s without eating. By providing a meal it showed the doctors that their time and skill were valued and this created a great relationship between doctors and St. Luke’s. Since I started my internship I have worked every Tuesday and Thursday night until closing at the clinic and have constantly been inspired by the compassion and humility of others. I didn’t expect random acts of kindness to go so far but they really make a huge impact. In the night clinic I’ve had the opportunity to shadow dermatologists, family physicians and orthopedists and have had first-hand experience with patient interaction. I really appreciate how these doctors provide excellent care to patients and communicate with them to the point where they leave knowing everything they talked about and their plan of action for the future. I’ve never seen a patient leave confused or still questioning his/her healthcare. However, I have seen a few leave angry and unsatisfied because they didn’t receive the medicine they wanted or because they weren’t prescribed the treatment they wanted…but that’s a story for next time.

The Back Desk – The first day I got to St. Luke’s I was put in a position to sink or swim. I was literally thrown into the action when the nurse placed me at the nurse’s station, aka back desk, and told me my task was to update patient charts after they had seen the doctor, schedule future appointments, and start their referral application to outside offices. I personally like to call the back desk “hub city” because it is the central area of communication throughout the clinic. One day you could see volunteers talking with doctors or the executive director of the clinic chatting with nurses. (Shout out to Patsy Whitney, executive director of St. Luke’s, for helping turn my dreams into a reality by allowing me to intern at St. Luke’s this summer.) My adventures at the back desk include being relocated to the third floor of the clinic to do administrative tasks where I file charts, update patient’s medication into the computer system and update patient’s re-applications. I’ve actually gotten a head start on learning some of the, nearly impossible to pronounce, medicines like amlodipine and omeprazole. My adventures also include being relocated to the front desk to help with patient check-in and patient application reviews. One of my most memorable experiences at the back desk includes meeting a Davidson Alumnus who also volunteers at the clinic; even though we are small in number we make a big impact (#greatdaytobeawildcat). The back desk has brought many great memories and I’m looking forward to those to come in the following weeks! Who would have thought that St. Luke’s had all this in store for me? Until we meet again….

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

 

Davidson Impact Fellows Wraps Up, Begins Again

Davidson Impact fellows LogoThis summer, the Davidson Impact Fellows program will send the first participants to positions in several US cities and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.  15 Fellows were selected from a pool of 49 applicants, nearly one of every ten Davidson seniors.  The positions will begin this summer and last for one calendar year, giving the fellows important exposure to the challenges and strategies involved in non-profit leadership.  In all cases the fellows will report directly to senior leaders and be given significant responsibility for projects within the organization.

Most of the positions are a direct result of parents and alumni who were able to bring fellows to organizations where they serve in various leadership roles.  Our recent grads will be going to the following organizations:  Catawba Lands Conservancy (Charlotte), Communities in Schools (Charlotte), Foundation for the Carolinas (Charlotte), Fundación Haciendas Del Mundo Maya (Yucatan Penisula, Mexico), Georgia Justice Project (Atlanta), Teach for America – Charlotte, Touch Foundation (New York), and YES Prep (Houston).  We are grateful to many in the extended Davidson network for making these happen.

We would like to give special thanks to two Davidson families who made remarkable contributions to the Davidson Impact Fellows program.  Mary Beth and Chris Harvey generously stepped forward with a lead gift that made the program possible.  Additionally,  Marilu and Luis Bosoms are supporting four fellows this year through the family’s non-profit organization, the Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya (FHMM).

The Davidson Impact Fellows staff is beginning to work with new organizations to secure chances for students in the Class of 2014 to participate.  The goal is to retain as many organizations as possible from this year, but also to add some new opportunities to the mix.  If you have an idea for a fellowship site please contact Jeff Kniple, jekniple@davidson.edu.

Students in the Class of 2014 will be offered several information sessions to learn more about the Impact Fellows once they return to campus.  Applications will be due in January, 2014.  See the program website for updates as they become available.