As previously noted, it’s summer internship interview season here at Darden! During this process, in addition to our Career Development Center’s general resources, our First Year students have two primary contacts for one-on-one career advising: a professional career advisor and a Second Year coach. Today, we catch up with Second Year coach, Hugh Matney. And be sure to check out our earlier interview with Second Year coaches, Aaron Harrill and Sally Ra.  

Why did you decide to become a Second Year coach?

One of the core components of the Darden experience is learning from your peers, and Second Year students have the most recent insights into having a successful first year at Darden. Last year, I was lucky to have a great coach to help navigate the consulting recruiting process, so I knew I wanted to pay it forward to the new First Year class. As a coach, you get the opportunity to work one-on-one with a handful of Darden students, so the Second Year coach program is a great way to build your own teaching skills while providing First Year students an additional point of contact during recruiting.

How do you support students?

At the start of the school year, a coach’s job is to calm any nerves and set realistic expectations for what the recruiting process is like. The First Year core curriculum at Darden can feel like drinking from a firehose, and almost immediately rumors start swirling about what needs to be done to land an internship, especially in consulting or banking. Having just been through the recruiting process, coaches provide students with real advice based on firsthand experience. As the year progresses, coaches continue to be sounding boards for any questions or concerns that arise, but also help with the technical aspects of recruiting: resume and cover letter review, case practice, etc.

What do you enjoy about the role?

I think coaches do a great job bridging the gap between the First and Second Year classes, and I’ve really enjoyed the relationships I’ve built with my coachees. It’s been fun to hear about their well-deserved successes in the recruiting process. Hopefully at least a few have enjoyed the program enough to want to be a coach next year.

What’s your best advice for first year students as they prepare for interview season?

Don’t overdo the consulting case preparation. It’s common for students to exhaust themselves doing practice cases with peers and end up burnt out by the time interviews begin. It’s also common for students to undervalue the importance of behavioral interview prep, a component that matters just as much to the firms. During Winter Break, take plenty of time off to recharge the batteries and come back for interviews energized and focused.

Any advice for prospective students as they consider Darden?

Darden has a unique culture that is hard to appreciate without visiting Grounds. If possible, come to Charlottesville and sit in on a class to see the Case Method in action. If you are unable to visit, don’t hesitate to reach out to current students you find via the Darden website or LinkedIn to ask about their experience.