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 Mike Stevens, Senior Associate 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 joined Darden’s Career Development Center in January of 2017.
What drew you to Darden?
I’ve been career coaching on a part-time basis for a long time. As I thought about making coaching a greater part of what I do, I was looking for the right mix of coachees; smart, motivated individuals who engage with and challenge the process. The MBA student and program naturally fit that criteria for me.
What did you do prior to coming to Darden?
I spent 25 years working in senior executive roles for a range of industries including aviation, financial services, medical servicing and career management, and functions including marketing, operations and risk. However, a majority of my career has been spent in consumer financial services within marketing and GM roles.
What is your favorite part about serving as a career advisor?
Seeing people get where they want to go and being a part of helping them get there.
What career advice would you give to an incoming student to help them prepare for their career search before they arrive at Darden?
Be open to all of the possibilities that may be out there and don’t be afraid to explore them. Take the time before arrival to think about the attributes of a future role that are really important to you and then research the types of roles that can deliver these attributes. Talk to others who are in these roles to better understand them and what it takes to be successful. There are so many different opportunities, I don’t think it’s good idea to be tied to one outcome before walking through the door at Darden.
What are a couple of hobbies you like to do in your spare time outside of the office?
I enjoying golfing, water sports, walking my dogs and hanging out with my family.
What do think is one of the biggest strengths of Darden’s Career Development Center?
Many of our career advisors have spent a significant amount of time working in corporate America and have a great deal of industry experience. We understand the theory, but we also know first-hand what companies are looking for in job candidates. We have sat on the other side of the desk and have interviewed and hired candidates for the kinds of jobs Darden students are applying for. This insight helps us to better prepare students for their career search and interviews.