Debbie Fisher, Assistant Director of the MBA program, started the program series “A Glimpse Inside” as a result of a need she recognized for MBA students to connect with companies in the area.

“Our students are interested in learning more about companies headquartered in Richmond and in networking with executives,” she said.

The program provides that opportunity and complements the Career Development Center’s Career Expos, by tailoring each month’s event specifically to MBA students’ questions and interests.

The program kicked off in September 2010 with a presentation to MBA students by representatives from Genworth Financial. In subsequent months, both MeadWestvaco and Markel Corporation were featured. In December, four firms – Ironworks Consulting, Fahrenheit Finance, Fahrenheit Technology and Partner JD – came to campus for a panel presentation. Finally, in January, Owens & Minor was the featured firm.

Each presentation provided MBA students an opportunity to learn about the company’s industry, corporate philosophy, culture, and hiring practices. The programs were scheduled from 5:00 pm to 6:15 pm, so students have time to make it to their evening classes.

At each event, company representatives provided historical perspective and general information about their organization for the first half of the program and answered student questions during the second half. Fisher strategically asks questions about each company’s hiring forecast for 2011, and about how students interested in applying for openings can get their foot in the door.

Fisher said that “one of the most significant tips shared by several companies was the importance of students having a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is one of their top recruiting tools,” she adds.

“One question I ask company representatives is, ‘If your application process is all done online, will applicant’s materials be reviewed, or is it important for applicants to have an internal person advocating on their behalf?’”

According to Fisher, “A Glimpse Inside” gives MBA students an introduction and a point-of-contact with firms in the area. “This program is true to its name because it is an excellent way for MBA students to get a quick glimpse inside Richmond-area companies,” said MBA candidate Katherine Noel.

As a testament to the success of the program, Aaron Barnes, MBA candidate, was offered a position through a connection he made with one of the participating firms.

“It's been very enlightening to hear more about some of Richmond's biggest corporations and to be able to network with those individuals,” Barnes said. “I was offered a job by a company who received my resume from one of the Human Resources directors that I met at one of the ‘A Glimpse Inside’ events.”

The program is designed for students to network and learn about area companies, and also provides the opportunity for company executives to learn about and be exposed to students in The Richmond MBA program. According to Fisher, “[Employers] see the caliber of our students and get to interact with them firsthand.”

Companies invited to present this semester through “A Glimpse Inside” include Alstom Power, CarMax, and Dominion Resources.

According to Fisher, “I think the MBA students are excited to have a program that is exclusively for them, tailored to them, and to their level of expertise.”

Barnes agreed with Fisher. “It has definitely added value to the MBA experience.”