The University of Virginia Darden School of Business consistently ranks as one of the best in career services among MBA programs internationally. To provide you with an idea of the depth and variety of experiences that the career advisors at Darden’s Career Development Center (CDC) bring, we will be introducing a few of them to you highlighting their professional backgrounds, advice for incoming students and a few fun facts about them. Read more about Darden’s Career Development Center in the news here.
Last week, we met Jim Collins. This week, we’ll introduce you to Margaret Weeks, Assistant Director of Career Education and Advising.
How long have you been a career advisor at Darden?
I have been a career advisor since 2012, but I have worn other hats at the CDC and been a part of the CDC team since 2004.
What did you do prior to coming to Darden?
My experience falls into several buckets. I spent ten years working in private school administration, two years as a disabilities advocate and seven years working in non-profits, including The Alzheimer’s Association and co- founding a non-profit, Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform.
What is your favorite part about serving as a career advisor?
Developing close relationships with students and helping them achieve their career goals. I get to serve as a student’s cheerleader, advocate and trusted advisor to help them become their best interview-self and land the job they’ve always wanted. It’s also rewarding forming long-lasting relationships with students and seeing former students come back to recruit after they’ve graduated.
What career advice would you give to an incoming student to help them prepare for their career search before they arrive at Darden?
There are many things an incoming student can do, but I’ll focus on some of the more granular things. I would encourage you to make lists of your personal, professional and collegiate networks (If you aren’t a member of your college/university alumni association, you might want to consider joining) now to accumulate a list of people you can call on to help with your networking efforts. Also, taking time to reflect on why you are coming to business school and the goals you want to achieve. To save time once you’re at Darden, it’s very helpful to have compiled your “career file” before you get here. Things for this file include old performance reviews from work that highlight strengths and weaknesses, and testing scores (including SATs) since some companies will require information from that far back when you apply for a position. Additionally, I recommend talking to people in your network that have jobs you may be interested in, and asking them questions about their work to gather as much information as possible.
What are a couple of hobbies you like to do in your spare time outside of the office?
Photography and archiving my children’s lives in books is a real passion of mine. As my kids are finishing up at the schools they’re attending, I’ve been developing personal yearbooks for them. I also enjoy researching and accessing data about my family’s life and my ancestry, and actually found a telegram from my grandfather from World War I, which was really cool! I also knit and have two dogs that I enjoy chasing around.
What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?
It’s a special place for me because I also grew up in this area. Charlottesville is a cosmopolitan small town that combines the democratic university atmosphere with a small town feel. There are a ton of great amenities, and I enjoy living in a place that has a lot of culture and people who are thoughtful and kind. For incoming students, Charlottesville gives them a chance to get off the treadmill for a few years and live in a place where you have time to breathe and time to think.
What do you think makes Darden’s Career Development Center unique?
The people. How much we care about our students, how much we engage with students and that we hang in there with our students from start to finish in their job search. The CDC is a relational place and not a transactional place, and whatever level of support students need, they will find it here.