UVA Darden Alumna Offers Tips on the ‘Sport of Interviewing’

03 December 2018

By Jay Hodgkins

Before graduating from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, alumna Missy Jenkins (MBA ’16) landed a job in what she thought was her ideal industry — sports and entertainment. But after some time on the job to reflect, she realized she wanted more of a challenge and needed to pursue a career switch.

Enter Darden’s Armstrong Center for Alumni Career Services (ACS), which offers career coaching and planning services to all of the School’s alumni for life. Jenkins recently wrote about her career transition into consulting on ACS’ Career Corner blog, and she shared tips on the “sport of interviewing,” including “the warm-up,” “game time” and “the post-game.”

A Darden classmate suggested I reach out to ACS, where I was connected to Lindsay Guthrie. She became my consulting recruiting coach/guru/confidante, and over several months, Lindsay would prove to be invaluable at each point in my job search. Not one to miss an opportunity to use a sports metaphor, I’ll call these phases the warm-up, the game and the post-game…

Warm-up: Proper warm-ups loosen the rust, help prevent injury and make sure that at game time you’re feeling energized. Warming-up for consulting interviews serves the same purpose. My first case practice was clunky. I felt winded. Every corner of my brain hurt. Luckily, Lindsay and I laid out a plan that allowed me ample time to practice and prepare. She introduced me to Darden alumni also doing case prep; former classmates-turned-consultants offered to do mock cases; and I spent my free time frameworking everything (“Wow, the DC Metro is never on time. How would I approach this if they hired me as a consultant?”).

The game: When it came time to interview, I was at the top of my game. The best advice I was given was to be myself in each interview, which seems like an easy thing to do, but when you’ve got framework after framework in your head, it was just as easy to seem robotic. So, I developed a routine of getting a manicure the night before interviews and working out the morning of. For each interview, I felt relaxed and excited. I had engaging conversations with my interviewers; I talked about the upcoming NCAA tournament with my fellow interviewees; and I was comforted knowing I had gotten in a proper warm-up.

Post-game: I was fortunate to receive two offers, each from a great firm, so while I could celebrate my hard work, I still had a decision to make. I spent the next several weeks talking to people at both firms, discussing my opportunity with Lindsay, researching the sort of work they both offered and deciding what made the best sense for that picture of my future I had in my mind. I made my choice and started warming up again — this time to actually do the job. Admittedly, I could have had better timing, as leaving my job at Monumental meant I missed being at the Stanley Cup finals by a mere three weeks.

Read Jenkins’ full post on ACS’ Career Corner.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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