by Sydney Sfreddo
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business consistently ranks in the top-tier for their career services among MBA programs. To continue introducing you to the career advisors at Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC), this week we are highlighting Reid Thompson (MBA ’09), assistant director of career education and advising. Read more about Darden’s Career Development Center in the news here.
How long have you been a career advisor at Darden?
I have been a career advisor since September of 2015.
What did you do prior to coming to Darden?
I graduated from Darden in 2009, and I always had a personal long-term goal to return to Charlottesville. After graduation, I worked in North Carolina for a bank in a leadership development program and held some interesting roles there. I then left to join a multicultural consulting firm in the Washington, D.C. area conducting market research. With my background in financial services and consumer insights, I decided to pursue entrepreneurial activity. A friend and I had an online start-up, and I also worked in marketing for a fintech start-up for a little over a year. I enjoyed the entrepreneurial way of working and that there was nothing holding you back except your own ideas and ambition. However, I was looking for something more steady and encountered the career advising role at Darden. I knew I liked being surrounded by the faculty and students, and I’m passionate about helping people meet their goals and ended up in my current role.
What is your favorite part about serving as a career advisor?
Seeing the variety of experiences that Darden students already have and the ambitions they have to go on to even greater things. It’s inspiring and really energizing to see that and be a part of that everyday.
What career advice would you give to an incoming student to help them prepare for their career search before they arrive at Darden?
Talk to people and network. While your personal network is about to grow exponentially, you’re coming into Darden with a tremendous asset with your existing network. As you move to a new city, you want to cultivate your network, but also keep your network alive and healthy to be able to go to them for advice, ideas and job search support while you’re here.
What are a couple of hobbies you like to do in your spare time outside of the office?
Right now with a newborn, everything that comes along with keeping the household running. My wife and I enjoy getting out in the countryside on the weekend, going for a hike, visiting wineries or going for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the couple years we’ve been back in Charlottesville, there’s no shortage of places to explore or things to do.
What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing. Charlottesville has the best of both worlds. It’s not overwhelming like a big city, but it has all of the amenities of a big city including concerts, cultural events, restaurants and much more. There’s also natural beauty coupled with the historical and architectural legacy that exists here, making it a really unique place when you put all of that together.
What do you think makes Darden’s Career Development Center unique?
The CDC is an extension of the Darden program in the sense that it’s high touch and individualized, and we form deep relationships with students and will meet as many times as you want. We meet one-on-one to understand your needs and desires, and we also live the highs and the lows with you. We know the job search process can be difficult, but the CDC team is your ally and we’re almost as happy as you are when you land that dream job. I think it’s a luxury that Darden allows this individualized support and that we can get as involved with the job search as we do.