As the Darden School community continues to live and work through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Darden Career Center continues to innovate its career program offerings. The Career Center recently hosted the first-ever virtual Career Week, from 7 – 11 December, giving students the opportunity to engage with many popular Darden hiring companies and learn from multiple job search experts from the comfort of their apartments.

Historically, over winter break students had the opportunity to participate in the annual Bay Area Tech Trek, visiting corporate headquarters, experiencing company culture firsthand and meeting with potential future colleagues.

Since traveling to the Bay Area was not an option this year, the Career Center pivoted to offer the Bay Area Tech Trek virtually, with participating companies including tech giants Google, Microsoft and Amazon — all companies on the list of Darden top 10 employers for the Class of 2020. Other companies hosting virtual events during Career Week included Walmart and Visa.

Students heard from Darden alumni at these companies about the company culture and tips for success in the recruiting process. Despite not being able to experience the companies firsthand, there have been benefits of the virtual format, including easier accessibility to attend events that may have required a significant time investment before.

“We’ve had the chance to have students hear from an expanded number of companies this year who no longer have target schools, or are newly targeting Darden, including, Cisco, HP, Salesforce and VMWare — just to name a few. The pandemic has allowed tech companies to efficiently do one-to-many info sessions — opening access to our students,” said Jenny Zenner, senior director, technology careers at the Darden Career Center.

Additionally, as interview season prepares to ramp up for some Second Year students and First Year students prepare for internship recruiting, the team brought in a series of impressive experts, including Liv MasseyLewis C. Lin and the LinkedIn Guys, who led sessions on high performance in high stress situations, product management interviewing and maximizing use of the LinkedIn platform, respectively.

“The incredible enthusiasm, time and energy shown by our students to continuously invest in their careers is remarkable,” said Jeff McNish, assistant dean, Career Center. “I’m equally thankful for the Career Center staff that works hard to make these events happen and for the employers and alumni who give their time and talent to Darden. This Career Week is a component of a larger career education experience. These experiences enrich the world-class experience students have at Darden and lead to exceptional career outcomes.”

Darden recently released career figures for the Class of 2020, showing record salaries and strong demand despite the impact of the pandemic.