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April 22, 2015

From School to Work: IBM Offers AU Grads a Seamless Transition

by Kurt Gottschalk

Dhimitra Papadhimitri was at the Financial Services Dinner, as part of the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business 50th anniversary, when she got a phone call that would open the door to her future.

Dhimitra Papadhimitri

Dhimitra Papadhimitri

“I got a message and I was too scared to check,” she said. “Then I saw the alumnus from IBM give me the thumbs-up, so I ran to the bathroom to check.”

The message contained the news she had been waiting for: She’d been accepted to IBM’s Consulting by Degrees. She had spent weeks preparing for the recruitment event held in November 2014 and offered through the Center for Career Development. The two-day event includes an information session followed by a heavy, on-campus screening process comprising three half-hour interviews, including a case-study session presenting a hypothetical consultancy problem to be solved in the moment.

“It was intense,” she said. “I did a lot of practicing. …It’s all about asking the right question to find out the answers to the problem, but I was really freaking out because I’d never done a case study before.”

The Fall 2014 semester was IBM Global Business Services’ second recruitment event at Adelphi. The initiative was the work of Bill Fuessler ’79, who extended the company’s Consulting by Degrees recruitment program to his alma mater. Students who are selected to enter the program are given the opportunity to join a two-year training program for entry-level consultants with a major multinational firm. Forty-two Adelphi students applied in 2014, of whom 11 were selected for interviews and five ultimately hired.

While the process may have been intensive, Papadhimitri said, it wasn’t impersonal.

“When I got to the interview, it was more casual,” she recalled. “I talked a lot about my study abroad in China and my Greek heritage. I thought it’d be more of a sit-up-straight, formal kind of thing.”

Papadhimitri is used to being on the move. Born in Greece, she grew up in Astoria, in New York City’s borough of Queens, and attended William Cullen Bryant High School, where she learned about Adelphi through a College Summit program.

“It’s been opportunities from freshman year until now,” she said.

She’s planning some more travel this summer, after she receives her bachelor’s degree and before she starts at IBM. And once she’s back from Europe, she’ll still be spending plenty of time pulling a suitcase: The job calls for travel two or three times a week.

Elaine Schwartz

Elaine Schwartz ’13

For Elaine Schwartz, another of the five Adelphi students accepted into the Consulting by Degrees program last year, the timing couldn’t have been better. She was finishing her last semester in the M.B.A. program, working as a graduate assistant and interning at, Inc., while trying to find time to look for a job, when the email announcement arrived last October.

“This IBM thing just fell into my inbox and it was incredible,” she said.

Schwartz called within an hour of receiving the email, she said, and went through her résumé and cover letter with career center staff before applying online. Within a few weeks she had an interview.

“I always assumed the job search was a long and grueling process,” she said. “The IBM recruiting process took under a month and a half—from the email from the Adelphi career center to the interview and acceptance. Things moved faster than I could imagine. I was shocked how fast-paced the recruitment process was, because I know people who search and interview for months on end trying to find a position.”

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