Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Q&A: MacKenzie Bachry, Liberty Mutual

MacKenzie Bachry and Brian KrusellUMass Amherst College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) students consistently display career and technical abilities of great interest to prominent employers in Massachusetts and across the country. Through participation in the CICS Industry Affiliates Program (IAP), corporate members build brand awareness on campus using employer-specific events, attracting applications from highly qualified students. One example is Liberty Mutual Insurance, which has seen significant increases in student recruitment through the program for the past two years.

At this point in 2019, seven UMass Amherst students have been hired for the company’s full-time program, and 27 students were hired for the internship program. Internship hiring of UMass Amherst students by Liberty Mutual has doubled since 2017, and the university is currently their top hiring school for IT this year.

Below, Liberty Mutual campus recruiter MacKenzie Bachry chats with Brian Krusell, director of CICS Careers, about the relationship between the company and CICS.

BK: Can you describe your experience with CICS students during the recruitment process?

MB: During career events on campus, I see a strong interest in Liberty Mutual and the TechStart Program, which is great. CICS students have strong communications skills and are well-prepared for the interviews. Similarly, CICS students have strong technical experience. Overall, I am impressed by the caliber of students in CICS.

BK: What positions do you typically recruit for? What attributes do you search for when interviewing potential employees for these positions?

MB: I recruit for the TechStart intern program and entry-level program. The internship program is our 10-12 week summer opportunity where candidates experience software development in an agile environment. The entry-level program is a one-year program designed to be a pipeline into our technology organization at Liberty Mutual. Generally, we look for students pursuing a tech-related degree with a strong interest and passion for software development. For our intern hires, we look for exposure to object-oriented programming. For entry-level candidates, we look for specific experience in object-oriented programming. We are interested in candidates with strong communication skills, teamwork, and an interest in continuous learning in an agile environment.

BK: What has made UMass Amherst/CICS students stand out compared to other applicants?

MB: I’ve noticed that CICS students are genuinely interested in Liberty Mutual and the TechStart program. They do their research and come prepared to the career events – that makes them stand out. CICS students have strong technical skills across the board. UMass Amherst does a great job preparing students for the workforce and aligning their curriculum with the needs of employers.

BK: Can you describe some of the work UMass Amherst CICS students are accomplishing at Liberty Mutual?

MB: TechStart hires are fully integrated into agile teams working on software development. Our interns, during their 10-12 week summer internship, experience a wide variety of projects based on their interests – back end, front end, and full stack development, with some data and security roles. We consider each hire’s interest and skills to match them to a team within our organization.

BK: What do you like most about our students as employees?

MB: CICS students come to Liberty and excel as members of our technology team. They’re passionate about their work, they’re proactive learners and are open to taking on new experiences. They come in with strong technical skills and those skills only grow as they continue through the program.

BK: How is the recruitment relationship with CICS working for Liberty Mutual?

MB: There’s been real growth in the recruitment program since I started as a campus recruiter in October 2017. We kicked off the 2017-2018 recruiting year with great opportunities including a tech talk with alumni and Gordon Anderson’s project-based software engineering course. That gave us a lot of momentum going into the 2018-2019 cycle.

We’ve recently tried new events such as a Liberty-hosted Grace Hopper Conference prep workshop and Tech Tango, an annual event for IAP members to network with students the night before the fall career fair. We have seen the number of intern hires more than double (from 13 in 2018 to 27 in 2019) and I attribute that to the great partnership over the last year and a half. I would like to create even more new events that benefit CICS students and creatively build our brand on campus. We have great momentum and I hope to continue that for the 2019-2020 cycle.