In high school in her native Buffalo, Hilary Horvatits worked in a donut shop. (She still bills herself as a "donut frosting professional," although she spent so much time in the bakery that she no longer can stand the smell.)
The summer after her freshman year at Vanderbilt, she was a banquet server at a country club. For the summer of 2015, she decided she was ready to get outside her comfort zone and gain some practical experience that might influence the direction of her career.
Thanks to fellow students at Vanderbilt, she knew just where to find what she was seeking. "Friends of mine had done the Accelerator program in past years and raved about it," says Hilary. "I'd also had classes with a few of the Accelerator professors, and they were some of my favorites so far at Vanderbilt."
Even with such glowing reports from friends, "I was skeptical going in that this would be a life-changing program," says Hilary. ?But after going through it I can honestly say I have a different outlook on both my professional and my personal development."
For one thing, she says, the program exposed her to a variety of industries and roles. That experience, in turn, prompted Hilary's decision to pursue a career in consulting after graduation "to better understand what facets of business I enjoy most." Through Accelerator, she even landed a consulting internship for the rest of the summer after the program ended. She later went on to intern at Deloitte in the Federal division in Washington, D.C. to pursue her interest in consulting even further.
"My career aspirations have shifted as a result of Accelerator because I realized I can accomplish anything I set my mind to," Hilary says. "In one month, you learn and grow more than in an entire semester (and possibly an entire year) of college."
I was skeptical going in that this would be a life-changing program.