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MAC Students Find an Ally in Career Services

By Eliana Chow

The career services office that serves the Poole College of Management’s Jenkins MAC Program has an impressive track record of launching MAC students into the next stage of their careers. In the past three years, 99-100% of each student cohort has landed full-time work within three months of graduation.

As Associate Director of Career Services and Student Programs, Kelly Hardy’s primary goal is to support students through every aspect of the recruiting process, from interview and resumé preparation to choosing among multiple offers. “Recruiting season is one of the most stressful milestones for many MAC students,” she says. “I am here to do everything I can to ensure students make the best use of their time at Poole and match with an employer that they’re excited to work for.”

Equipped for Success

Through MAC career services, students have access to a wide variety of workshops, one-on-one career counseling and networking events. Each workshop is broken down into manageable steps to guide students through the daunting task of evaluating their options and landing job offers. For example, Hardy hosts multiple resumé sessions focused on topics like brainstorming, writing and revising, allowing her to provide support that is carefully tailored to each student’s journey and unique skillset. Students also participate in mock interviews and attend seminars to hone their professional skills in areas like communication and relationship building.

“I’m consistently impressed by Poole MAC students’ eagerness to engage with our professionals,” says Cori Moore, an RSM senior campus recruiter for the Carolina Region. “It’s evident they have done their due diligence in researching firms and know how to share their story in captivating and concise language. As they emerge from a program that promotes holistic career growth, Poole’s MAC students are an invaluable asset to any firm.”

Re-imagining Recruiting

The MAC program’s annual “Meet the Firms” networking event sets Poole apart from peer institutions in its emphasis on quality over quantity. Visitors to campus won’t see MAC students standing nervously by the entrance to the event, overwhelmed by options and frantically devising a strategy to visit as many firm booths as possible in a single night. Instead, the program welcomes four to five firms each night for an entire week, allowing students and recruiters to engage in deeper, more meaningful conversations about how they can help each other achieve their goals.

Although last year’s major recruiting events were entirely virtual, Hardy and her team were able to offer a hybrid version of “Meet the Firms” this fall. An in-person “Meet & Greet” option allowed students and employers to interact outdoors with social distancing measures, while a virtual “Meet the Firms” event connected students to additional firms through breakout rooms and panel discussions. “With the online option, we had the unexpected benefit of inviting firms from beyond the Raleigh area, including Charlotte, Washington D.C. and Atlanta,” Hardy notes. “The virtual space also saves significant time and budget resources for both students and recruiters, who would otherwise have had to travel for interviews and networking.”

At the same time, a purely online environment poses now-familiar limitations. Zoom fatigue can lead to lower attendance at networking events and difficulty engaging, prompting leaders like Hardy and Moore to consider what a hybrid recruiting season may look like in the years to come. “We are analyzing ideal aspects of both virtual and in-person environments in an effort to integrate the best from both worlds,” Moore says.

Looking Ahead

As MAC career services continue to adapt to an evolving accounting and recruiting landscape, Hardy underscores the importance of keeping an open mind and taking risks. Hardy consistently meets with recruiters and students alike to evaluate how they can improve career offerings and continue to meet the needs of both parties. “At the end of the day, if our students finish recruiting season excited about their future and confidently equipped to enter this next chapter of their lives, we have done our work well,” she concludes.

This post was originally published in MAC Program.