Alumna Shares Consulting Career Details, Strategies for Career Success

Article by Emma Ryan

Jacquelyn Renée Schneider knows a thing or two about hard work. 

“People don’t often realize that I have three graduate degrees,” said Schneider, who earned her bachelor’s in Building Construction (2006) and her MBA (2018) from Tech. “That wasn’t always the plan, but I am tremendously proud of it, especially since I’m the first in my family to graduate from college.” 

In addition to being a Double Jacket (Tech’s term for alumni who earn multiple degrees from Tech), Schneider holds two more graduate degrees: a master’s in Environmental Science and Policy from John Hopkins University (2008) and a master’s in Transportation Technology and Policy from UC Davis (2016). She’s managed to earn these degrees while working in consulting and managing her own firm along the way.

Schneider returned to Tech in 2016 to earn her MBA. Since graduating in 2018, she has continued to give back to the Tech community with career consulting services and as a member of the Scheller Advisory Board. Currently, Schneider is a manager at Jabian Consulting in Atlanta. Read on to learn more about her experience in the consulting field and her strategies for professional development and career success.  

What were you involved in while you were at Tech? 
During my undergraduate years, I was so focused on academics and working through school that I didn’t have time for extracurriculars. When I came back for the MBA, I wanted to have the collegiate experience that I felt I’d missed. For those three years, I was always serving in some philanthropic capacity, whether it was in Mentor Jackets, as mentorship chair for Graduate Evening Management Students (GEMS), or as an MBA Ambassador.

But the experience I enjoyed most was serving 400 Evening MBA students as GEMS president. During my term, I’m proud to say that I recruited and mentored women and diversity candidates interested in the MBA program. In my last semester, Scheller admitted more women and diversity candidates to its MBA programs than ever before – women made up 40% of our incoming MBA class. Serving in this capacity was an enriching opportunity to get to know so many people and improve the MBA program’s already impressive legacy.

What is a consultant, and what attracted you to the profession?   
Consulting involves building strong relationships and becoming a trusted advisor to clients in a variety of industries, including business strategy, operational excellence, and human capital management. I love helping clients solve tough problems, and it’s a privilege that I take very seriously.

How did you arrive in your current position? 
2020 was a year of transitions, and the pandemic provided an opportunity to focus on serving others. Last year, I offered my coaching services to Tech students and alumni, mainly on a pro bono basis. Throughout the year, I presented to more than 1,000 people to help them navigate career transitions during the pandemic. 

In December, Jabian Consulting presented me with an offer to return to management consulting that I couldn’t refuse. Jabian Consulting’s commitment to clients, consultants, and the communities in which they serve stood out.

Describe a given day in your current position.
No two days are the same! I am currently working to refresh the strategic plan for a large nonprofit that serves the Atlanta metropolitan region. On any given day I could be leading a client meeting with the CEO and executive leadership team, running a focus group with their key constituents, or analyzing data to shape strategic initiatives. I also check in frequently with my internal team to ensure tasks, progress, and outcomes are all aligned with each other. And the list goes on.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people. I’m honored to serve our clients and work with such talented, like-minded folks. More than half of the consultants at Jabian Consulting serve on nonprofit boards, and our commitment to our values as a firm and the communities in which we live brings us together.

What is the most challenging part of your job, and how do you deal with that challenge?
Ensuring I have a strong rest ethic alongside my work ethic. Consulting is a demanding career path. I carve out time each day to ride my Peloton Bike (233 days in a row and counting) — exercising helps me start my day in the right frame of mind, along with meditating a few minutes a day. These activities help me recharge and stay in the game.

What are two things students should be doing to further their career/professional development before they graduate?
Networking is invaluable for attracting opportunities throughout your career. My best networking strategy is to use LinkedIn daily. And always send a personalized note when you invite someone to connect.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers. There was a time during my MBA when I considered pivoting from management consulting to a career in equity research. I reached out to friends in that space, and they provided invaluable insight that helped me decide to stay on my career path. 

What are 2-3 pieces of advice you have for students after they’ve graduated to further their career/professional development (regardless of the industry)? 
Continue nurturing your relationships and networking within the community. Your next career move is about who you know. I make the time to reach out to my network and hop on phone calls with them in order to make sure I’m continuing to invest in those relationships.

Purchase a copy of The Two-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton. It’s the best career strategy book out there, because the process he suggests is results-driven and has worked for me and for a number of my MBA colleagues.

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  • Jacquelyn Schneider

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Emma Ryan
Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development