IT Companies in Atlanta Looking for Diverse and Engaging Students

Associate Dean Ebe Randeree summarized a recent trip to Atlanta to meet companies and alumni with this statement: “Every organization we visited mentioned cyber security as their biggest challenge and also as a excellent opportunity for current students to find great careers.”  Accompanying Randeree were eight students from the College of Communication & Information (Zaymeen Deen, Nicolaus Lopez, Miciaha Ivey, Lydia Clark, LaRue Pierce, Allie Canaan, Andrew Pendergast, and Maria Knight).  The group toured Cisco, AT&T, MailChimp, GM and KPMG.

The visit to Cisco was facilitated by CCI alum Sophia Danvers.  Danvers serves on the College Leadership Board and has presented at the Women in Leadership Conference hosted by CCI.  Michael Lay, the Human Resources Manager at Cisco Systems, told the students that the company is transitioning to agile business method. The agile method is a competitive business model for IT companies; this method seeks to maximize business with less resources, lower costs, and collaborative environments.


Darren Mallard, manager of Worldwide Business Development at Cisco Systems, gave the students a more detailed look at Cisco’s strategies and programs. According to Mallard, Cisco is looking to develop a stronger cyber security sector for consumers and partners. In addition to cyber security, Cisco works to help their clients understand services that millennials use and ways they can influence these services.

Robin Larkey, Senior Human Resources Leader, explained to the students that Cisco is not looking for students all from the same university studying the same programs. Instead, they’re looking for students with a variety of interests and skills. Networking with Cisco Systems, according to Larkey, is best done through thorough online portfolios and direct communication. She also said that internships were a primary way that the company seeks full-time employees.

The visit to AT&T was facilitated by recent alumna Victoria Guevara.  Victoria and Ryan Gibson, the Lead College Recruiting Manager for AT&T, were eager to highlight the company’s many diverse projects and sectors. AT&T’s investment in student’s transition to the workplace is seen in a number of ways, including the Leadership Development Program. This program is an opportunity for students to experience the AT&T culture and find their place in the company.

Guevara, a 2015 alumni of FSU’s College of Communication and Information, was happy to share her experiences with the students on life in Atlanta and life at AT&T. She explained that AT&T is always looking for engaging students who seek to build on their various interests, as this will not only build the students’ understandings but the company as a whole. “The new knowledge and diversity that the student will bring will only be enhanced with the opportunities AT&T offers its employees,” Guevara said.

MailChimp, the world’s leading email marketing platform, was founded in 2001, and their focus is in engineering, research, customer support, and design. MailChimp is always looking for students with a passion in one of these areas, but is always prepared to help students develop in areas where they need more experience.


Two time FSU CCI alum, Alex Lehner, is currently a UX Developer for MailChimp. Lehner told the students that MailChimp encourages new employees to speak up and ask questions when they feel lost or confused. They even offer an apprenticeship program designed to help employees gain more experience in technical roles.  MailChimp is always looking for engineers to join their team in the operations department. Expectations for engineers are largely focused on problem-solving skills; they’re looking for innovative employees with have a passion for information technology.

Monday evening was spent catching up with several local alumni who visited with the students and talked about opportunities at their organizations.  The group included:

  • Marissa Moniovis, Assistant Account Executive at 22 Squared
  • Courtney Lisenbee, IT Analyst at State Farm
  • Alex Lehner, Front End Developer at Mailchimp
  • Kaley Volkmann, Assistant Account Executive at Dalton Agency
  • Victoria Guevara, Associate Business Management at AT&T


The group also met later with State Farm recruiter Melissa Osborne who shared information on hiring needs, company direction, new facilities, and answered student questions on workforce transitions.

The General Motors tour was conducted by CCI alumni Jeremy Breedlove, Katie Benton, and Gina Cyrille. They all agreed that the diversity yet familiarity made Atlanta feel like home away from home. CCI students fit well in GM’s collaborative and diligent work environment. The alumni told the students that their projects range from simple week-long tasks to year-long projects in conjunction with international partners.

Cyrille assured the group that GM doesn’t expect its employees to know everything from the beginning. Students with strong problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills are the ones that stand out to GM when hiring.

“GM is a great company to start off your career,” said Cyrille. “There are a lot of innovation projects to be a part of, so you’ll always be growing or learning something new with each project that comes. As a new college grad, the students will bring a fresh view on how to resolve issues and challenge expectations.”

The students finished their Atlanta trip with a tour of KPMG, one of the Big Four auditors with services in audit, tax, and advisory. Dadrian Campbell, a 2011 Information Technology graduate from FSU, gave the students a tour of the high-rise office. Campbell is a Senior Associate Advisor at KPMG. He stressed the huge gap in IT skills and the demand for cyber security professional.  “The Risk industry is growing faster than any company can keep up,” Campbell said. “If you are looking for long term job security, IT risk and cyber will guarantee you employment.”

When hiring students, KPMG looks for those who have continuously shown interest in the company and demonstrated their resume development. Students who have demonstrated strong, professional communication throughout their college career stand out in the application process.  The students also learned on the tour that KPMG looks for students of various academic backgrounds.