Volvo Group Seeks Students Interested in International Business for Management Consultant Development Program

Recruiters (including Eric J. Brown ’02) from Volvo Group’s management consulting unit, Business Transformation Services (BTS), visited campus for an information session in Union 209 on Tuesday, Sept. 17.  BTS provides targeted decision support and analysis products to executive-level stakeholders across Volvo’s divisions and business areas.

Volvo’s global headquarters are in Gothenburg, Sweden, and its American headquarters are nearby in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Volvo is a multinational company, selling products in 190 countries with production facilities in twenty of those.  This year Volvo ranked number 227 on the Fortune Global 500 as a company with a large presence and successful products.  Volvo owns a few truck brands in the United States, India and China.  They also sell construction equipment, buses and engines for maritime use.  Their Finance and Business sector works within the company to maximize profits and handle finances.

Brown emphasized some advantages of working in internal consulting versus external consulting, although he claims that both have benefits and that he enjoyed previous work in external consulting for the federal government.  Brown pointed out to the students that internal consulting typically demands a 45-50 hour work week while external consulting typically demands a 65-70 hour work week.  He also said that external consultants often focus on sales, while internal consultants focus on delivery and making sure that the company works as well as possible.

Once accepted, the new hire will have a “trial by fire” opportunity to learn management consulting.  The consultant will immediately work in the field while receiving extensive training and coaching from a mentor and other consultants at the company.  The job starts out with a five-month program which begins in Gothenburg, Sweden (all expenses paid with a stipend and a per diem) and moves into an initial consulting project, which could be anywhere in the world.  The consultant will work in the Greensboro, NC office following the completion of this project.

Volvo BTS is only recruiting from three top-tier colleges and universities and is seeking Davidson students who have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and strong problem-solving abilities and who can perform well in case interviews.  The prospective hire must also be a team player, have a strong interest in international business and be excited about living and working overseas.

Interested students must apply on WildcatLink by Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 11:59 p.m. The first round of interviews will be at Davidson on October 7.  The second round of interviews will be at the Greensboro campus on November 21.  Davidson candidates may contact class of 2013 alum Elise Breda ( to hear more about her experience in this role.

Zama Coursen-Neff ’93 Discusses Careers in Human Rights

Zama Coursen-Neff speaks to a packed room on Monday afternoon.

Zama Coursen-Neff ’93, Executive Director of the Children’s Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, gave a talk on careers related to human rights to a group of 39 Davidson students in Union 209 on Monday, September 16.  This session was just one event on a busy schedule for Coursen-Neff, who spent two days at Davidson talking to student groups, classes, and the public about her work.  In this session, she explained her path to her current position and gave advice for those interested in working in human rights or pursuing nonprofit legal work more generally.

Coursen-Neff emphasized that there are many possible paths to pursuing a career in human rights advocacy, and that students should focus on honing their writing and gaining field experience while at Davidson.  She recalled a study abroad trip in Spain her sophomore year and a trip the summer after her junior year to El Salvador (only four months after a war that had left the country shaken up) as two particularly meaningful experiences for her.  She worked in the field right after graduating from Davidson and before attending law school at New York University.  Although she did not love her time at law school and has not worked as an attorney aside from the year she clerked for a federal judge and an extensive pro-bono case she participated in after earning her JD, she told the group that going to law school gave her a valuable perspective.  She also shared work that she did at the U.S.-Mexican border and in Afghanistan, India, and Papua New Guinea.

In addition to sharing her own career story, Coursen-Neff gave the group a few specific pieces of advice.  She recommended cultivating mentors and role models, which were very inspiring to her both personally and professionally.  She also recommended that students simply “get out there and have experiences,” including field work, before deciding on a graduate field of study. She told students,  “If I had created a plan and stuck with it, I never would have seen all the things I didn’t know were out there.”  Most importantly, she said, students should “pursue work that is meaningful and fun.”  She stated that it is important not to martyr oneself for work that is not engaging and to reflect on the kinds of working conditions that will fulfill your needs before jumping into a job.

At least one paid summer internship at the Human Rights Watch headquarters in New York City will be available this summer for a Davidson student. The internship(s) will be funded by the Vann Center for Ethics at Davidson.  More details will be available on WildcatLink later this fall; the application deadline will likely be in early February.  Seniors should also search for Associate positions on the Human Rights Watch website.  These positions, often filled by new graduates of schools like Davidson, typically become available mid-to-late spring semester.

Learn more about Zama Coursen-Neff by reading her bio on the Human Rights Watch website, and stay tuned for information on the summer internship opportunity!

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,

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.

It’s Easy to Meet Recruiters at Information Sessions

By Damian White, Career Services Ambassador

After attending a Red Ventures information session a few weeks ago, I recognized the importance of having face-to-face interactions with potential employers. The brief, yet thorough, presentation left students excited about the company, and several great questions were asked during the Q & A period. The representatives from Red Ventures were willing to chat before and after the sessions, which showed me that they were truly interested in Davidson students. Additionally, they were very willing to exchange contact information. This information session energized me, and left me wanting to attend other information sessions.

Information sessions are helpful as they provide an invaluable opportunity to network with potential employers. They are also a chance to meet recruiters and leave an impression that might be the “difference maker” when employers are sifting through piles of resumes. When you attend the information session, you are in a unique position to secure business cards or contact information from the recruiters, giving you that direct access to company or organizational representatives. Also, during information sessions, recruiters frequently give tips on what types of experiences to include in a resume or cover letter.

Information sessions are a chance for employers to present their company or organization to Davidson College students. Campus recruiters (often Davidson grads) generally have prepared short presentations highlighting key aspects of the company’s mission, values, goals, and culture. After the material is presented, the floor is opened for students to ask questions prior to the conclusion of the session. I would recommend that all students (especially juniors and seniors) attend as many sessions as possible. Key things to remember:

  1. Wear appropriate attire – usually business casual.
  2. Meet as many company representatives as possible – recruiters are eager to talk with students.
  3. Ask for business cards and contact information – you will want to follow up with recruiters you speak with after the session.
  4. It is not an interview! It is an opportunity to learn about potential employers and “network” with recruiters one-on-one.

Don’t Forget to Network! The Importance of Networking for All Positions – Even the State Department

By: McKenzie Roese, Career Services Ambassador

Trekking up the hill is never my favorite thing to do early in the morning, but my hike was worth it after attending Dean Rusk’s Teatime talk on the State Department application process. Not only did I enjoy a delicious breakfast courtesy of Dean Rusk, I also learned about the intricacies of the application process for the State Department. While the process may seem clear-cut and systematic, there are definitely nuances to application that you should know about before applying.

Stefanie Cook and Paul DiFiore, both members of the class of 2013, starred as the discussion leaders after their remarkable summer experiences with the State Department. Cook spent her summer in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the US embassy. DiFiore explored the domestic front in the Central American Affairs Office in the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau, while also partaking in the Davidson in Washington program. Both did an excellent job informing students about the tedious, competitive, and often disappointing application process while also providing ample tips for the procedure. Their main point: Networking is everything.

In terms of networking’s wonders, Cook stressed the importance of reaching out to her political science advisor, Dr. Menkhaus, for providing an “in” to the Ethiopian bureau. Not only did Cook apply to the obscure, underappreciated Ethiopian bureau, but she also utilized her professor’s connection to the Ethiopian office to give her an edge above other candidates. Likewise, DiFiore reached out to a recent Davidson graduate working domestically in the State Department to help him stand out in the crowd. Reflecting back on his networking efforts, DiFiore honestly admits, “Even though I had a good resume and relevant experiences, there were lots of other grad school students who were way better qualified who were also applying. There always are. Having a contact was what got me in.”

Applying to obscure bureaus within the State Department and utilizing the power of the Davidson connection, both students stressed the importance of networking for landing their summer internships. Cook, reminiscing on her experience, recollected, “I got so engrained in the culture.” Luckily, she had the opportunity to immerse herself in Ethiopian culture, while DiFiore explored the domestic systems of D.C. bureaucracy, because they both reached out to the strong Davidson connection to help achieve their goals. Hopefully this will inspire you to reach out, for any position, to the Davidson community and alumni network when the time comes.

Memories of a Student

I just finished reviewing a senior’s resume.  She was unsure where to put the awards she received at the end of the year, and it’s no wonder.  The information on her resume would barely fit on one page.  Somehow, though, we managed to cut a few words here and there. Everything still fits on one page.

As I sit here looking at her resume, it suddenly hits me that I’ve known this student since she first came to Davidson four years ago.  I met her in one of the Davidson 101 classes that all first-year students are required to attend.  She was one of the students who came up afterwards and asked where our office was, and could she make an appointment to have her MBTI test interpreted?  That was the beginning of seeing her once or twice a month.  A lot of students are like that.  They start using our resources and services early, and by the time they graduate, we’ve gotten to know them personally.

This student did make that appointment, and later made another appointment to work on her resume, and then another appointment after that one to find out about an interest test – the Strong Interest Inventory – which she took to help get an idea of what to major in.  Whenever we had workshops she was interested in, I’d see her sitting in one of the chairs, notepad in hand, jotting down something she thought interesting. She was one of those students who considered her classes important, but also practical preparation for a job just as important, too.  When she studied abroad, she was also working on getting an internship by contacting alumni to network with.  She would email employers and alumni, and her networking paid off when she met and interned with an alumn who showed her what the field of advertising was about.  She was hooked.  Now this student has graduated and is heading to the “big apple” in a month to start her full-time job.

There are other students that we get to know like we have this student. They become so engaged in what we do that they become part of our office community. That’s what I think about when I think of the term “Davidson Community.” We get to know these students so well that they help us out with student representative activities that sometimes come up.  For example, sometimes they will help interview candidates, assist students with practicing case interviews, greet employers, or talk with other students about their experiences seeking internships or jobs in Davidson 101 sessions. Their names come up often among our staff.  And long after they graduate we still remember them, and talk about “the year that so-and-so” was here.

That’s what I’m thinking about as I look at this student’s resume. She won’t be here next year and I’ll miss her.  But that’s part of the job.  We get to know students so well that they become more than just a student to us. Sure, another student will come in the office and the same process will begin, but he or she won’t be like this student. (That person will be different, but in a good way.)  Still, she’ll stop by when she comes back for alumni events, along with our other students. She might even talk her company into hiring Davidson students. (The Davidson cycle.)

Anyway, I shake my head and put aside her resume.  It’s time to get back to work. The phone is ringing in my office letting me know there’s a student waiting with a resume for me to review.  Maybe a first-year trying to get a head-start? …

Iris Leung, Class of ’12, Talks About Her Internships and Job Search

Iris Leung
Major: History    Minor: Chinese
Davidson Class: May 2012

What internships have you had while you have been at Davidson?
During my freshman summer, I interned at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, assisting the museum’s Education Department in creating and leading interactive tours for summer camp visitors. I also translated their “Journey to the Stars” planetarium show from English to Chinese.  The following summer I taught English in Xian, China to kindergarteners using bilingual classroom exercises, drama performances, and songs.  During my junior summer, I interned with Emanate PR, a public relations firm that specializes in consumer, healthcare, and business communications. Not only did I create a business pitch proposal for a mock client, I also assisted in a product launch, blogged for the company website, and helped facilitate a social media contest for one of our products.

What are your plans after graduating this May?
After graduating in May, I will begin my first job as an Account Associate at Emanate PR—the public relations firm where I interned during my junior summer.

How did you find your internship?
To find my internship my junior year, I talked with my career counselor who suggested I use a variety of measures for seeking opportunities, such as LinkedIn and Alenda Links (our Davidson alumni networking system), as well as word of mouth.  She explained that by proactively demonstrating interest and seeking advice from alumni, professors, and even family friends, they could provide me with great tips on finding an internship. I connected with an alumna who recognized my great interest in the PR field and recommended me to the HR Director of the firm as an intern candidate, where I landed the internship and ultimately my full-time job.

What resources in Career Services have helped you the most?
Two resources that were helpful to me in Career Services were, first, the one-on-one sessions with career counselors who showed a genuine interest in helping students find not only jobs, but careers that match their passions and strengths. I did not know what I wanted to pursue when I first started my search, but after I listed my interests and  described my ideal workplace, my counselor helped me narrow down a list that allowed me to realize my dream job.

Second, the annual Etiquette Dinner was extremely useful. Since all Davidson students will undoubtedly have meetings or job interviews over meals in the future, this experience really helped me sharpen my table etiquette as well as the necessary communication skills for such stressful situations.

What other resource has helped you with internship searches?
A resource that helped me learn about opportunities is, surprisingly, Google. While students may know what they are capable of and interested in doing, many do not know what is available. When I wanted an internship that allowed me to interact with many people while constantly learning, I ran Internet searches seeking names of museums to get me started. I would never have been able to work at my favorite museum where it not for Google.

What advice do you have for fellow students?
If you know what you want, don’t be afraid to search online for something related, but more exciting. We’re Davidson students—the world is our oyster!

100 Internship Challenge a Success

This year, Career Services launched an exciting new initiative:  the 100 Internship Challenge.  Since fall semester, we have been hard at work seeking alumni, families and friends of Davidson willing to support our efforts in highlighting meaningful internship opportunities for Davidson students.  As of today, we are up to 116 internships, already past our goal!

As participants in the challenge, alumni, parents and friends of the college have highlighted and shared information with us about the internship program at an organization where they work (or with which they have a close relationship).  They are also doing one or more of the following:

  • Serving as a resource for students applying for the internship program at their organization (this could mean answering questions about their experience with the organization or reviewing a resume)
  • Taking an active role in facilitating Davidson student applications through the internship host’s selection process (this could include answering questions about Davidson and the high-quality education that students receive here)
  • Creating or helping to arrange an internship specifically for a Davidson student

Once we receive the information we need regarding the internship, we work to advertise the posting to students, collect applications, and stay in touch with our alumni or parent contact throughout the process.  In addition to continuing to add new internships, we are tracking our progress with the challenge regarding interviews, offers, and acceptances.  We look forward to reporting this summer regarding the overall success of the initiative.

If you have any questions about the 100 Internship Challenge or know someone who might like to participate, please contact Ashley Neff, Assistant Director for Internships, at  We may have passed our initial goal, but we will be accepting new internships for another couple of weeks!