Q-Camp gives business students an edge

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Print this page by Zak Kozuchowski

Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business as a top 25 undergraduate program since 2006, but a generous alumnus didn’t believe his alma mater was teaching students all the skills they needed to thrive in the business world.

So Paul Queally, co-president of the New York-based private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, and his wife, Anne-Marie Flinn, started a program that aimed to boost what Queally calls emotional intelligence, or EQ.

“To be successful you need multiple tools and a great awareness,” Queally says. “We didn’t think schools were doing a good job in EQ. [Students] need to know how to dress, how to work a room and how to make an elevator pitch.”

The annual event, called Q-Camp, was held in late January at the Westin Hotel in Richmond for a select number of UR’s sophomore business students. Four years ago only 18 students attended the two-day seminar, but demand has grown. This year, 83 students were selected from 168 applicants.

Queally said the event costs about as much as a very big wedding, but it’s something he and his wife are happy to do. The Queallys already are major UR donors. They gave $6 million to the university in 2007 for the construction of a 37,000-square-foot addition to the business school, which opened in January.

“It means a lot to us, adding value to the business school,” he says. “Richmond is a small school, but it can go toe-to-toe with the best business schools in the country. [Q-Camp] is one of the reasons we are able to compete.”

Q-Camp students heard from representatives from companies such as Capital One, Genworth Financial, KPMG and The Martin Agency talk about communication and people skills.

“We often want to ask for a job or an internship, but I think we’d be better off asking for advice,” Patti Carey, founder and president of Workforce Strategies LLC, told students. “People would be more prone to help us out.”

Junior Julia Babel was one of six Q-Camp Ambassadors who served as organizers for the event. Babel, an accounting and finance major, first went through Q-Camp last year. “It was interesting to be on the other side this year and see how much I’ve grown,” she says. “The speakers I had shaped my professional life.”

Babel hopes to land a job in corporate finance for a Fortune 500 company, and she believes Q-Camp has given her a better chance of achieving that goal. “I was always personable, but Q-Camp taught me to keep in contact with professional people. Networking is No. 1.”

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