AMS and Mason Make an Ideal Pair
By Colleen Kearney
Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, AMS is an information technology consulting firm with offices worldwide. Only 28 years in existence, the company has grown rapidly, with its largest growth taking place during the past four years. It has more than 7,500 employees and anticipates more than $900 million in revenue in 1998.
AMS consistently uses Mason's on-campus recruiting program and has hired a large number of Mason graduates in recent years--47 over the last four years. Their formula for success: "Hire talented people and everything else will fall into place."
For Mary Ann Frye, B.S. Decision Sciences '86 and MIS '93, AMS was "the only company I wanted to work for." How Frye came to get her job at AMS was a little unusual. She didn't participate in the traditional on-campus recruiting, but after tossing her resume into a pile for some reason she can't remember, it somehow landed on a desk at AMS. They called her for an interview at her restaurant job. Despite the fact that she had to shout over the clamor (and yell to her coworkers to keep it down), she got the job.
Alumni Kwansene Eversmann, B.S. Decision Sciences '96, and Torsten Timm, B.S. Decision Sciences '92, connected with AMS through the on-campus interviewing provided by Mason's University Career Services. Eversmann says a marketing professor recommended AMS over some of the traditional big six firms. Timm credits Pete League, former director of the School of Management's Graduate Career Management Center, for helping him make the AMS connection. As a German national, he liked the idea that it was an international firm with a growing European business base. He joined AMS with fellow M.B.A. alumnus Stephan Becker, who currently works in London, England. "I knew about AMS from other alums," says Timm. But what really attracted him was the corporate culture. "I knew they were not the type of company to go through with a rigid checklist."
Mason alumni can't say enough good things about AMS's corporate culture and its flexibility. This flexibility permeates every level of the company--the dress, the scheduling, and even career paths.
"It's a nice environment," says Eversmann, who came to AMS with four years of work experience. "The culture is very conducive to growth, both professional and personal. It allows you the room to make the most of every opportunity," she says. "Other companies have a more structured career path. Here, you can leverage the skills you already have. They allow you to take on as much responsibility as you are ready for."
Frye also believes this flexibility is a critical part of each individual's success. "New hires are put into real jobs right away, so immediately, you are effective and you make a difference."
For some, teamwork was one of the most valuable skills they learned at Mason. "I used to grumble about [working in teams] as an undergraduate," says Eversmann. "But everything here is project work. Many are teams of four or five, but there are larger teams."
Frye found it valuable to learn from professors who were working in the field. "They were able to present problems that were real," she says. "So you are learning about and discussing real solutions, not theoretical ones."
Many of the alumni have returned to campus as part of AMS's recruiting efforts. Timm has already returned to the Fairfax Campus to make corporate presentations and answer questions about AMS, and both Frye and Eversmann have done on-campus recruiting.
Frye thinks highly of George Mason and the education it provides. As a manager--she is now a principal at AMS, where she manages a software development testing team--Frye believes George Mason produces the type of employee she seeks.
"Many companies don't appreciate schools like George Mason," she says. "They are looking to big-name schools; they are looking for only stars. The problem is then you have too many stars and not enough team players. At George Mason, you can find both."
"AMS's success in recruiting at George Mason is due in large part to their involvement with the university, which has increased their visibility significantly," says Patricia Carretta, director of University Career Services. "They are always ready to provide speakers for seminars or special workshops, and their staff volunteers to critique resumes and conduct mock interviews. They are consistently and regularly involved in the university's recruiting activities."
Carretta explains that, in addition to these activities, AMS also reaches out to faculty and student organizations on campus. The company even donated giveaways for Welcome Week in 1998.
"It is that level of support, involvement, and commitment that helps create a positive image on campus," continues Carretta. "AMS has worked hard to create and maintain that image. It is a terrific company to be involved with."