Marketing grad Rachel Cole takes the next step: The nation’s capital

May 27, 2016
Rachel Cole

With her tassel turned and diploma in hand, 2016 graduating marketing senior Rachel Cole embarked on a new journey as a federal business technology analyst at Deloitte Consulting LLP in Washington, D.C., leaving behind, but always remembering, her valuable experiences at West Virginia University and the College of Business and Economics.

“It’s surreal right now. I signed a lease on a real apartment. I’m excited, and I’m kind of ready to move on. I’ve known what I’m doing for a while, so I’m ready,” Cole said.

Hailing from the D.C. metro area, Cole reflects on the experiences she had within the WVU and B&E families. She said one of the hardest things to walk away from is the sense of community the college fosters.

“I’m going to miss coming and sitting in B&E for hours at a time – reading or hanging out with a few friends. It’s like a little hub for everybody, and it’s nice to have somewhere you can just be and feel at home,” she said.

Although her college career didn’t begin in B&E, she knew from the day she walked into the undergraduate advising office that she took the right steps for her life and career.

“One of the best experiences at B&E is when I first changed my major. I started off as forensic science and about halfway through the semester I realized I couldn’t do that anymore. It just wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I had to figure it out,” she said. “I was scared I wasn’t going to finish in four years and I wasn’t going to be on track. I walked into my advising appointment with Joe Seiaman. He sat me down and said, ‘Okay, here’s the deal.’ He told me everything I needed to do to graduate in three years, and I thought it was just awesome. It was a great experience.”

Cole’s fondness for B&E only continued to flourish throughout her time at the business school. She loved the professors and felt as if their teaching has prepared her for her career.

“The professors were able to take marketing as an abstract idea, but then break it down so that you see every action that you take and the effect that it has or why you should do it. You learn the background of it,” she said. “With Deloitte, they will teach you all the technical stuff, but they want the personalities. Marketing has really done that because of all the group work, presentations, the amount of creative thinking and out-of-the-box problem solving you have to do. That’s what really prepared me for this job.”

And while Cole holds on to her time at B&E with a tight grip, she is ready to let loose and begin the next chapter of her life, while using the skills she  has acquired.

“I will be working as a consultant for the federal government. I am assigned to a certain service line within Deloitte. Right now, I am hoping to be on the Deloitte digital team, which is creative digital marketing solutions,” she said. “They do systems integration, system application platforms, IT architecture and work with specific branches of the federal government to overhaul their technology systems. I could be working with almost anything – the Treasury, the Navy and so on.”

This new chapter is not what she originally envisioned for her career. When Cole began as a marketing major, she wanted to go into sales. And nearing the end of her college career, she had a few sales job offers. But when she attended Inside Deloitte Day, she knew she made the right decision.

“I was there with other students from WVU, Rutgers and some smaller schools in late November. On the first night, we had a dinner and a meet-and-greet at the Washington Nationals stadium, which was really cool. Then, the next day, we went through presentations about benefits, what we would be doing and the cool, different programs that Deloitte offers, like working abroad. It was such an eye-opening experience,” she said.

Prior to being a Mountaineer, Cole’s life was engulfed with her passion for acrobatics. She said the sport really shaped her life up to high school. The 2010 World Championship USA representative still carries the values she acquired in acrobatics with her today.

“There’s a stance that we have you present to the judges. You have your shoulders back and chin up, then you salute to the judges right before you compete,” she said. “And that’s kind of what you have to do in an interview or presentation. You keep chin up, shoulders back and if you act confident, you will be confident.”

Being a short distance from the Mountain State and the home of the Mountaineers, Cole hopes to return to Morgantown often. She plans to stay involved with B&E and as an alum of the sorority Pi Beta Phi, as well as the Honor’s College.