Sylvie Job is a senior from Lynchburg, VA and studies Business Management (Human Resource Management option) with a minor in Business Leadership. Sylvie is a successful student leader and has received the Management Department’s Lang-Daubert Scholarship for two years in a row. 

We recently asked her to share some insights into her decision to choose Management as a major. 

Why did you choose Virginia Tech?  When and why did you choose Management (MGT)?

Four years ago, I was a directionless high school senior who had no idea what I wanted to do with my future. Due to several challenges I was facing at the time, my grades took a hit as well as my ambition. I applied to several universities, but never imagined I would get into Virginia Tech… it was a reach school for me. When I received my acceptance letter, I realized that this prestigious university was willing to take a chance on me. From the day I set foot on Virginia Tech’s campus, I felt as though I owed it to the university to take a chance on myself. As a first-generation college student, I came to VT with a very unique outlook. With both of my parents having careers in the arts, deciding to study Business Management was quite a foreign concept to me. Being a part of Pamplin, I was immersed into a significant number of the opportunities that it offered and joined the Pamplin Undergraduate Mentoring Program (PUMP) where I met my mentor, Maya. Maya gave me countless details about each Pamplin major and after listening to what kinds of things I was interested in, she encouraged me to stick with management. A short while later, I decided to select the Human Resource Management (HRM) option and my passion for Management and HR grew from there. I have also continued my membership in PUMP as a mentor to freshmen over the past 3 years. Through this experience I have had the goal of sharing all that Pamplin has to offer with over 16 mentees.

Were there any specific classes that you remember as validating your major choice to date?  

Two of my favorite management classes have been Organizational Behavior and HR Staffing & Development. Both of these courses discussed topics that I became fascinated with and I found myself very excited to complete the course projects. While I had taken Pamplin's required Finance, Accounting, BIT, and Marketing classes, I knew that Management was the right major for me as I had a special interest in the managerial concepts I was learning. 

Have there been a faculty member or staff member within Pamplin and/or the MGT department that has served as a mentor or source of inspiration for you during your journey?

Two Management Department faculty members have really made my collegiate experience exceptional. Barry O'Donnell, who recently retired, taught one of my favorite courses, Career & Strategy Planning. In this course, Barry taught me how to network, market myself, successfully interview, negotiate job offers, and pursue my career goals. I formed a strong relationship with Barry as he guided me through obtaining my internship and gave me advice on obtaining full-time job offers. He served as an enthusiastic and helpful mentor throughout my time at VT.

Margaret Deck has also served as an inspiration to me in the last four years. I first took one of her courses as a sophomore and struggled to obtain the grade I desired on the exams. When I visited her office hours, she spent time understanding my specific learning style and worked with me to improve my studying habits and tactics. My relationship with Professor Deck continued through the years and I now have her as a professor for one of my last courses at Virginia Tech. I am grateful for her guidance and couldn’t be happier to learn from her one last time. 

“My time as a student in the Pamplin College of Business has truly shaped not only my collegiate experience but my future. Every day I recognize more ways that Pamplin has positively affected my life and feel the eager need to thank the college for all that it has given me. The Management Department has given me countless tools to succeed and the skills to utilize those tools through coursework, relationships, and experiences. Because of Pamplin, I feel confident in my ability to leave Virginia Tech and create positive change in the world and in my professional life after college. Words cannot describe my love for Pamplin, but my actions can.” Sylvie Job, Senior – Management major (HRM option) and Business Leadership minor.

Name some of the internships that you had during your Pamplin journey.

Last summer I was a Sales Management Intern with PepsiCo (Frito Lay Sector) in Charlotte, NC. Through this experience, I was given the task of managing 24 high volume store accounts with the goal of achieving an increase in sales. This project allowed me to shadow key account managers, access tools to support volume growth, and execute creative promotions and merchandising ideas. Not only did this internship give me critical sales and leadership experience but gave me the opportunity to utilize the skills and concepts I had learned in Pamplin. I felt as though my coursework in Pamplin truly prepared me to take on this new experience and run with it.

What advice would you provide to an incoming Pamplin freshman?

To an incoming Pamplin freshman, I would say that the relationships you form, whether they be with faculty, students, or advisors, are key to your success and happiness at Virginia Tech. Pamplin College of Business is a college that prides itself in the development of its students and truly provides experiences and opportunities that are in place to set you up for success. Each faculty & staff member of Pamplin wants to see you succeed. Devote your time to your studies, your relationships, and the activities that allow you to give back the University and College in ways that spark your passion. 

Who is your inspiration for leadership?

My inspiration for leadership is my manager at the VT Division of HR, Dr. Wanda Smith. I started working with Dr. Smith in August 2018 as a Work Study student. Dr. Smith is an Organizational Development Consultant with the Division of HR and I have the pleasure of working with her 3 days a week. Besides assisting her with OD projects and tasks, I get to observe her outstanding leadership strategies and gain exposure to her strategic business ideas. From the moment I met her I was in awe of her determination, brilliance, and innovative nature that left me feeling inspired each day when I left the office. Since working with her, I have gained an immense amount of skills that I can carry into my future career. I am very thankful for Dr. Smith as she has served as an inspiration to me and an example of the kind of leader I hope to become.

Please provide a summary of your job and/or intern search - who, when, how did you approach the process?

As a junior, I was eager to obtain an internship with a company that could give me a unique experience. Luckily, I had been attending Business Horizons since freshman year and was able to form a lot of networking relationships that would carry into my later years. However, when I attended Business Horizons as a junior, I decided to go speak to PepsiCo as they were a company I knew a lot about but had never interacted with. I quickly got to know the PepsiCo recruiters and was eager to be selected for an interview for their summer internship program. When I got past the application and interview rounds, I received my internship offer and couldn't have been more excited. I felt proud of myself for taking the time to research the organization, form relationships with the recruiters, and use my collegiate experiences as examples through the interview process to display my strengths. After finishing my internship with PepsiCo, I was eager to return back to campus and start searching for a full-time job. As I had really enjoyed my time with PepsiCo, I wanted to try something different.

I have always had a dream of moving to New York City and knew I wanted to target this location during my search. I was on the hunt for a small company that had jobs involving HR and Sales; two topics I knew I loved. In the fall semester I attended Business Horizons and came across Beacon Hill Staffing Group. We started talking about my experiences and what I was truly looking for in a career and I knew within minutes that my goals and ideals were closely aligned with the company. From this point, I made every effort to contact Beacon Hill and show my interest and I ended up going through the interview process and ultimately flying out to NYC for a final interview. After meeting the NY team, I felt right at home and knew that this job was for me. A week or so later I was offered a full-time position in the Manhattan office as an Associate Consultant. In this role I will work to recruit candidates looking for full-time employment in an array of different companies in the field of HR. This position gives me first hand exposure to HR and allows me to exercise my passion for sales and helping people. I plan to start my job and move to NYC just a few weeks after spring graduation. 

Final thoughts

Pamplin and the Department of Management gave me the confidence and strength to pursue the things I loved, feared, and would ultimately make me who I am today. I was always encouraged to try new things and improve my leadership which gave me the courage to serve two consecutive terms with the Panhellenic Council as Vice President of Recruitment, three years as a mentor for PUMP, one year as a student worker with the Division of HR, and a multitude of other experiences that I would have never had without the consistent inspiration and words of wisdom I received from my professors and Pamplin staff. I am already so proud to soon be a Pamplin graduate as the education I received has been invaluable.

For the future that lies ahead, I am excited to inspire others the way that VT and Pamplin has inspired me.