Alumni Spotlight – William Chichester, III
William Chichester, III (College ’05)
Major: Foreign Affairs (Concentration: Middle East North Africa/Arabic Language)
As a native of Fauquier County, Virginia, the University of Virginia was a natural choice for William. “UVA was the top ranked school in the state, and I had quite a few mentors in high school who were UVA alums.” As a first generation college student who grew up on a farm in a predominately white and black neighborhood, UVA provided him with the opportunity to interact with a lot of different types of people.
During his first week on Grounds, already knowing he wanted to study the Middle East and Arabic, William went to Garrett Hall to declare his major. This was right before September 11, 2001 happened, which changed the entire landscape of the university and peaked campus-wide interest in Foreign Affairs. Professor William B. Quandt in the Politics department, who was hugely innovative in the field, served as mentor to William and helped him get more involved in the Middle East while at UVA.
During his undergraduate career, William was involved in many different organizations on Grounds. He was a Career Peer Educator (CPE) at the University Career Center, Resident Assistant at Copeley & Faulkner Dorms, President of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Lawn Resident, and Phonathon Student fundraiser.
Currently, William is the Commercial Bank Campus Talent Acquisition Lead at Capital One. He leads the university relations efforts for Capital One and manages relationships with 13 national professional associations and 30+ colleges. With an eye for diversity talent acquisition, William has hired over 350 students nationwide and boosted the firm’s campus diversity recruitment for women and underrepresented minorities.
Reflecting on his time at UVA, William emphasized the importance of taking on leadership roles and participating in diverse events and experiences on Grounds. “Being a student leader has helped me at my job because the relationships that I have built and my understanding of the student organizations on Grounds has helped to make UVA the top school for recruitment for Capital One.” He said that his diverse experiences as a Foreign Affairs major and a student involved in multicultural programs helped him to better understand diverse populations, how to track their performances in companies, and how to recruit those kinds of students to Capital One.
In terms of advice for UVA students, he recommends that students, specifically in Arts & Sciences, should seek out advice from the Career Center. There are plenty of self-assessment tools that students can take advantage of on Grounds to learn more about themselves and what kinds of things they like to do. He also recommends that students take or audit more quantitative courses to get comfortable with numbers and computer science because these skills are in high demand. Lastly, he recommended studying abroad, saying, “it’s one of the most enriching experiences and you will likely not be able to do this once you graduate.”
He also highlighted how self-assessment is one of the most critical tools to determining whether or not an employer is a good fit for you. This will make it easier for you to figure out if you align well with the company, in a particular role. You should not pursue a job because it sounds ‘good’ if it isn’t right for you. “Not everyone wants to be a consultant or a banker, this does not mean you will not be successful.”