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University Recruiting: We’re Looking For More Than Our Next Great Hire

By: Sara Knochel

Accomplishment ceremony education graduation

“We’re not looking for employees”. That’s what our university marketing materials say. A statement designed to make people ask, “What is SEI looking for?” The SEI-Atlanta branch has been recruiting at local MBA programs for several years, but why are we spending our time talking to students, administrators and alumni if we aren’t looking for employees?

The answer is community. To paraphrase our founder, “I started SEI because I wanted to spend every day with people I could consider family. SEI is a community of some of the greatest people you’ll ever meet – they just happen to be consultants.” What makes this community great is our shared values. But to sustain these values as we grow, we must start every new relationship with them.

Most corporate recruiting programs visit a school and try to sift through as many candidates as possible in as little time as possible. But when SEI consultants visit their local MBA programs, our objective is much different. It’s to build EPIC relationships based on our core values. In fact, we find we have quite a lot in common with MBA programs:

  • Excellence – What better place to meet people invested in excellence than at institutions which require dedication, perseverance and demonstrated performance? The very thing schools ask of their graduates is what SEI asks of its consultants.
  • Participation – Students choose MBA programs not only for the education they will receive, but for the strength of their alumni networks. But those networks only exist because of the participation of graduates. At SEI our consultants do more than just client work. They participate as owners every day. We want to meet graduates who contribute to their school community the same way our consultants contribute to SEI.
  • Integrity – Universities maintain the utmost standards for integrity, and students are expected to uphold those standards by following a code of conduct. At SEI, our reputation is one of our most valuable assets. We don’t have professional sales people or professional recruiters. We don’t need them. We let our own consultants tell their real stories. At SEI, what you see is always what you get.
  • Collaboration – You just can’t make it through a graduate business program without learning that someone always has a better idea than you, and you need to be as efficient as possible. Collaboration must become a way of life. No matter where an SEI consultant is engaged, they are part of a team, and they use that team to improve themselves and deliver to the client.

When we show our local universities that we live by these values, we get much more than potential candidates in return. We’ve hired excellent consultants through university recruiting (including Joe, Brad, and me!). But our consultants also get to make new friends, strengthen our brand awareness, and help create better consultants.

For example, SEI-Atlanta sponsors MBA career and networking events with Georgia State, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, and Emory. Our consultants educate graduates about the different consulting models and career paths available to them. Our Atlanta consultants also volunteer their time at mock interview training for both Georgia State and Emory. And finally, our Georgia Tech alumni support the “Dinner Jackets” program – an opportunity for students to ask experienced professionals about their companies, career experience, and life after college.

At SEI we’re fortunate to have something wonderful to share with others. Our relationships with local universities is just one way we get to live out our values.


Sara Knochel


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