Haley Donahue freely admits that she was a fairly unmotivated high school student when it came to her academics.
"I had aspirations of going to college for all the wrong reasons," she says. "I came out of high school with less than a 3.0 GPA and didn't have the HOPE scholarship. I started college at Gainesville State and realized in a rigorous accounting class that challenges were going to be my thing and that my motives were about to change. From then on, I realized that if something isn't a challenge, it's kind of a failure."
With her newfound motivation, Donahue kept building up her GPA and transferred to the University of Georgia. "That's where Terry came in," she says. "The Career Center and the Undergraduate Student Services Office do a good job of awakening students to what's approaching and getting them involved in preparing for a career in terms of internships and allowing students to stand out because they're from Terry."
The metro Atlanta native has immersed herself in the college's culture, serving as a Terry Ambassador, a student group that advises fellow students on the college's programs and serves as a sounding board for the college's administration.
Donahue also was involved in planning for the second annual Professional Women's Conference, held in mid-November at the UGA's Center for Continuing Education. The all-day symposium was attended by some 200 Terry alumnae and 50 coeds.
"I worked on the planning committee with 10 other female executives. I was the only student on the committee," she says. "We started last year, and my job was to make potential participants aware of our conference and pick out students who would benefit the most — primarily, senior women who have done well and are actively pursuing prominent positions."
As a finance major set to graduate in May, Donahue was also able to use her Terry connections to land a spot in the corporate finance internship program at JPMorgan Chase, and upon graduation she'll begin work in the firm's development program for financial analysts in Newark, Del.
"This summer, I moved up there for 12 weeks, and there were a lot of interns," Donahue says. "And I was the only intern placed within a group — IB Risk Financial Control. Their philosophy is that they don't treat you like an intern; they treat you like a new analyst they just hired. So my duties were general back-office accounting, but by the end of the summer I was given the ability to make write-offs to J.P. Morgan's general ledger. Based on my performance reviews, they offered me a job."
Donahue admits that a few years ago, she could scarcely imagine the opportunities that now await her, and she feels the academic rigor and many opportunities at Terry helped pave the way.
"I've gone from not performing well academically and not being involved to doing something like being an ambassador and having my college help me get a job with one of the world's biggest investment banks," she says. "I had no plan of winding up working for one of the biggest investment banks, and Terry has enabled me to go places I've never gone before."