This month we congratulate ’89 alum, Lance Hack, for landing an exciting new role. In the following Q&A, Lance describes his search and the ways in which he utilized Alumni Career Services to assist him on his journey.
How did you hear about ACS? Had you always known of its existence?
I had read about ACS in the Darden Alumni Magazine. The first thing I did when I started my job search was to log on to the Darden alumni portal and look at what was available under the tab marked “Alumni Career Services”.
What were your expectations when you first reached out?
I suspected that my job search skills were out of date when I started my job search. I had been at the same company 11 years, and I had not had to actively search for a job (or update my resume) in over 15 years. The job market evolves continually, and it had changed a lot over those 15 years. Not only that, but I had changed a lot over those years, too. I had C-Level experience, I had different income objectives and I was over 50.
So I knew that I needed some one-on-one coaching to help me understand the job search process today. More importantly, I needed some help understanding how my approach to the job search process needed to change. I went to ACS hoping to find that advice.
In what ways did ACS help you achieve your objectives?
My background is in working as CFO of small, private, technology-enabled service companies. My objective was to find a similar job. Given that objective, my coach and I spent a lot of time discussing (i) the qualities that my target market segment is looking for in a CFO today and (ii) ways I could use the components in my background to maximize my appeal to that market segment.
I was really impressed by the breadth of my coach’s knowledge of the job market. She provided insights on a really wide range of employers — from VC-backed software startups in Silicon Valley to hedge funds in New York and everything in between. I think that the team at ACS talks to a lot of different people every day, so they are very current on what employers are looking for in a wide range of jobs, from finance to sales and operations. That market perspective was exceptionally helpful.
In what ways did the Darden network help you achieve your objectives?
I reached out to a lot of old Darden contacts during the 4 months I was searching for a job. I got several really good leads from fellow alumni. Also, it was a great excuse to catch up with some people I hadn’t talked to in a long while. This being Darden, everyone I spoke to was friendly, interested and helpful.
What was the hardest part of your job search?
My coach cold-called me one day on lease cost recognition. I totally confused the difference between Type A and Type B leases under the proposed new standard. I felt like a deer in the headlights. I spent the next 3 days on FASB.org. My girlfriend just didn’t understand.
Where did you finally end up?
I recently started as CFO of Innovapptive, a software company in Houston, Texas. Innovapptive’s software allows mobile devices to communicate with SAP systems. We have some great products and, as a result, a really healthy sales pipeline of Global 200 companies. It’s a great fit because the company is just at the stage where they need some help raising outside capital and building the infrastructure to expand sales. Those are two things I like doing, so I am happily busy every day.
What advice would you give your fellow alums that might be considering reaching out to ACS?
I believe that a successful job search is a result of having a productive dialogue with a prospective employer. I also believe that one way to maximize your probability of success is to practice that dialogue with people who have a really great understanding of what your prospective employers are looking for. ACS is a great place to go to find those people. The ACS team is experienced, knowledgeable and up to date. ACS is a really great resource for anyone.