HMB’s Grad Academy—What it Takes to Make it

Jun 28, 2018 by Rylan Lee

Technology talent has never been more in demand. IT was ranked among the top 10 most difficult roles to fill globally, according to ManpowerGroup’s 2018 Talent Shortage Survey.

And in a recent press release, CEO of TechServ Alliance Mark Roberts expressed similar thoughts: “We have hit a wall in terms of IT jobs growth. There are simply not enough qualified IT professionals to meet demand.”

HMB’s Grad Academy is a three-week program that recruits, nurtures and educates recent graduates from regarded universities on the technical knowledge they will need to succeed in the industry.

This talent scarcity has a broad impact. Almost every business needs skilled IT professionals to help it run, but now that expert knowledge is becoming harder and harder to access. Our customers are also experiencing the impacts of the industry’s talent scarcity. At HMB, we’re always looking for ways to better serve our customers.

So—we developed Grad Academy.

Intensive and rewarding, HMB’s Grad Academy is a three-week program that recruits, nurtures and educates recent graduates from regarded universities on the technical knowledge they will need to succeed in the industry. The result? By the end of the three weeks, grads will possess a sophisticated understanding of the core technologies in our market and how to deliver true consulting service to customers.   

But first, let’s rewind.

Each Grad Academy class is made up of the best of the best. And finding that kind of talent takes nearly a year. Recruiting begins in September, typically at on-campus career fairs, where recruiters meet around 200 students. But just under half of those 200 — only 95 last year — are invited to the first round of interviews.

HMB College Recruiting

Following these initial interviews, about 75 are brought back to HMB for technical interviews. During these half-day interviews, prospective hires come in in small groups and meet with 3 or 4 consultants. They must also take an aptitude test, which will supplement their interview when it comes to decision time. Because, from those 75, only 10–15 will enter HMB’s newest Grad Academy class.

College recruiting begins in September. Recruiters meet around 200 students. Half of those are invited to interview. Of those interviewed, only 10–15 candidates are chosen for HMB's Grad Academy class.

Breakfast, morning classes, lunch with an HMB team, afternoon classes, dinner and hands-on project work—this is your typical day in Grad Academy. It’s a tech boot camp designed to give them knowledge critical to their success in the company and the industry.

The days are dedicated to lessons on key technologies in app development—Java Frameworks, Angular Frameworks, ASP.NET, MSSQL fundamentals and more. Language basics (C#, JavaScript, HTML, etc.) are a big part of that education, since new grads will all have different language backgrounds depending on the college they attended and the internships they had. The goal is to get everyone to a base level of technical understanding. Additionally, new grads will learn soft skills and get an introduction to business intelligence. And for the second two weeks, the evenings are dedicated to a development project, in which new grads apply what they’re learning to build a real end-to-end app.

HMB Grad Academy Activities

In addition to the emphasis on technical know-how, the Grad Academy also works to facilitate new hires’ integration into the company and to introduce them to the integral members of the company. To that end, lunches introduce the new grads to prominent company members and teach them about the company’s internal activities. Plus, Grad Academy firmly abides by the “Work hard, play hard” philosophy; through organized outings, such as excursions to Escape Rooms and Cosi After Dark, new grads let loose and get to know their classmates better.

Ultimately, HMB’s Grad Academy produces fresh-out-of-college consultants who deliver above-market value for below-market rates. And their determination and willingness to learn is an added bonus. Plus, we pair our new grads with senior consultants to foster their ongoing development (and lower our customer’s risk when working with new talent).

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