Students who aren’t afraid to be inquisitive are the ones who will stand out in the interview process.
by Jordan Chapman
For two consecutive years, Bill Fuessler ’79, partner with IBM Global Business Services, has brought recruitment opportunities back to his alma mater in the form of IBM’s Consulting by Degrees, a two-year training program for entry-level consultants.
The two-day recruitment process introduces students to the positions they’re applying for via an information session, followed by a day of interviews. The event has given countless students the opportunity to train, prepare and experience the actual interview process, while still others have been offered the chance to begin their careers in a world-class company, working for world-class clients.
In April 2014, Steven Lander ’14 was sitting at a desk studying business management with a specialization in finance. Before the end of May, he received his job offer from IBM and, less than four months after graduation, he was working with Morgan Stanley, an IBM client, as a strategy and analytics consultant in the financial risk and fraud sector.
It was a game changer—and a well-deserved one—but his success didn’t come without hard work, preparation and a healthy dose of nerves.
“I had interviewed with a bunch of different companies, but IBM—Big Blue—was coming to campus,” Lander said, speaking of his preparation. “It was a little intimidating,” he said, which was a cue that he needed more prep time to better leverage his chances. He dug in and began conducting research on the company, and after learning of the recruitment format— four back-to-back 30-minute interviews, including one casestudy interview—he read books on that specific kind of interview. “This way I was able to express interest in the company and know what they look for,” he said. “I went in well prepared…the Center for Career Development really sat me down. They made time for me.”
It’s the kind of one-on-one preparation and hands-on education that Lander received at Adelphi that mirrored Fuessler’s own education while he was here. “The connection is still there,” Fuessler said. “I want to give the students who, like me back then, don’t have these kinds of opportunities all the time. It’s a way of giving back,” he said. Plus, “Adelphi’s liberal arts program is very conducive to this program, because we’re looking for well-rounded folks,” he said.
Students who can think from the left side of the brain and who aren’t afraid to be inquisitive and front and center are the ones who will stand out in the interview process. “We need people who are outgoing,” Fuessler said. “The thing with consulting is, you can’t be one who sits back and is too introverted. …I think the key thing is that you have to be comfortable moving outside your comfort zone.”
Lander continues to fit this model. Throughout his first year on the job, he’s maintained a dialogue with Fuessler, which is a quality potential Adelphi hires should see as a great benefit to their continued education after graduation; the connection between alumni and recent graduates is one that can be cultivated.
“Steven has reached out to me a number of times,” Fuessler said, noting that first starting out at IBM can be a daunting experience because it’s no small company. “I was impressed by him doing that. …He felt confident enough and he wasn’t intimidated,” he said.
Not only will an out-of-thebox outlook help the chances for interviewees in the IBM recruitment process, it’s a skill Fuessler and Lander both endorse because it means a person can think quickly and adapt.
“Every day is a different challenge. Every day is a different solution,” Fuessler said. “There is no easy path. I can’t tell you in five years what the market will bring and what it will take to be successful. You have to always be on the lookout and always open to change. …Those who don’t adapt are the ones who quickly get swept aside.”This article appeared in the Career Compass Spring 2015 Newsletter.
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