In the era of Facebook, sometimes nothing beats a little old-fashioned face time. That interaction occurred at a fast clip at the 2nd Annual Speed Networking event the School stages.

Dressed in everything from business suits to jeans, students took advantage of the opportunity to garner some interview experience and meet Jepson alumni and other mentors from all walks of life. They gathered in Heilig Meyers Lounge in Jepson Hall for their turns. In this adaptation of speed dating, students work their way around a circuit of tables. They have four minutes at each table. The mentors stay put as the students rotate round-robin style when the bell chimes. Discussants exchanged business cards and resumes, talked about career paths, job choices, interviewing techniques, and life after college.

"It was an amazing opportunity," said Tom Borwick, a Jepson junior from London. "The breadth of people was just fantastic, and to be able to interact with so many in such a short time was excellent. To have representatives from business, Teach For America and charities all in one place was amazing…there are definitely two people I'll follow up with. To meet them in person is so much more valuable than over the phone."

In addition to advisors from pre-law and from a mentor with deep experience in consulting, recruiting and business development, most advisors were Jepson alumni. Lauren Bifulco, '06, Allison M. DuVal, '08, Autumn Fehr, '97, Mark Hickman, '07, Eric Loepp, '08, Katherine Ponzio Noel, '03, Matt Stevens, '94, Evan Zaletel, '07, and Jonathan C. Zur, '03, returned to campus and served as the evening’s mentors. They asked the types of questions students would hear at a real interview but they also offered helpful guidance on venturing into the job market with a Jepson degree. Their diverse career paths showed the students how others have put their degrees to use.

DuVal teaches second grade in Durham through the Teach for America program. Hickman is on a law career path at one of Richmond's premier firms. Zaletel raises funds for a private college in Ashland. Bifulco is an account executive at a national company that manages sports-related multimedia rights. Fehr is in human resources at Ukrops, one of Richmond's largest employers. Loepp is program coordinator at the Jepson School's Center for Leadership in Education. Noel is an organization development specialist at Altria Client Services. Zur is the chief operating officer at the non-profit Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.

The room hummed with the low roar of some 20 people talking at once. As the bell chimed for the fourth or fifth time, the hesitancy of the first few minutes evaporated, replaced by confidence as students got the hang of the interview process. At each table they were more prepared than they had been less than a half hour before. Students also had the opportunity to get some support from on campus representatives like the Career Development Center, the law school and the university's communications department, something that one senior and Jepson Student Government Association member greatly appreciated.

"I'm into Human Resources, and they had two HR representatives here this year — that was awesome. I was able to get their feedback, and they had a lot of excellent things to tell me," JSGA President Lisa Sinkovitz said. "They told me what vocabulary to use. They gave me general pointers. All of them were very open." Sinkovitz added that the timing is right for her, a senior.

"People are on the hunt for a job, and for the experience that will help them with that," she added. "This was great practice."

The event is designed to help students forge some connections, hone their message, and gather information about what might be a good match for their talents, interests, and ambitions. Last year students made connections that helped secure three summer internships.

At this annual event, Jepson invites the real world inside.