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The School of Business Experience: Q&A with alumna, Deema Khalefa

Aug. 6, 2019 - Edward Beckwith

Deema Khalefa is a bright and energetic alumna who is eagerly piecing together her career. She had already received a job offer and a ton of unique experiences under her belt. She is thankful for the connections she’s made through her interactions with faculty and student peer groups.

We recently spoke with Deema about the role Creativity at Work played in her development as a young professional. Here is what she had to say:

Can you tell us about your experience with Business Career Services?

I went to the Business Career Services office and met with one of their career counselors. She was so friendly and helpful. Every time I’d see her around the School of Business, I’d ask if I could make an appointment with her just to talk to her. She's a great person. She really did care about my professional development. She even got me a job at the VCU call center to help me build my resume and gain experience.

How did that experience help you secure your current job offer?

It kind of gave my resume a boost. I was immersed in an office setting, so I learned a lot about how to interact and conduct business in a professional setting. I got to know a little more about what I wanted in a job and also what I didn’t want. When the experience was over, I went back to Business Career Services, and they were able to match me with another opportunity. The fit was good, and they offered me a job after graduation.

How did the School of Business prepare you to bring creativity to that business environment?

They liked that I had a fresh take on things. I had a contemporary skill set, from having recently taken classes that dealt with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I was able to use those skills to present my ideas and give them advice on things like SEO. I feel really capable of being able to bring my thoughts to the table. It’s something they prepared us for at the School of Business.

How did your advisers nurture your talent and ambition?

My career counselors set me up on Handshake. You actually get to put your resume online. My career counselors actually called people, got me interviews and made sure that the internships I got were right for me. If I didn’t have that profile set up, I would have never gotten the job I have today.

What were you looking for in an internship?

I was really interested in working in a small business environment. I was happy with the experience that I was able to get because they were a new company, and they needed new ideas. They didn’t have a set way of doing anything, so they're kind of experimenting, and they like that I have a younger perspective on things. I think that’s unique to small businesses. Small businesses seem to do really well in Richmond.

How does support like Business Career Services and other resources at VCU help you adjust to those new challenges?

I feel like the business school is the richest in resources, from a business aspect. The career counselors know people in the community, they’ve dealt with people on a professional level, and they know what businesses are looking for. With that in mind, they're able to see what company has the best relationship for us after graduation. Some people miss out on those resources because they don't know about them or think that they are a waste of time. Let me tell you, putting your resume out there is one in a million. But, the Business Career Services center doesn’t just put your resume out there. They actually call the companies, they email them and say, “I know this person will work for you.” It’s a good thing.