Refining goals and articulating what they've learned are key skills for job-seeking students. College of Arts and Sciences psychology major Michael Glennan '98, who recently accepted a consulting position with Deloitte & Touche in New York City, considers the time spent on self-evaluation well invested. Price Waterhouse, which also offered him a position, asked Glennan probing questions about his experience with SU's Soling Program, in which small teams of SU students tackle real challenges of organizations. |
Acting on a suggestion from the Center for Career Services, he registered twice for the Soling Program. "It parallels what you'd do if you were working as a consultant," explains Glennan, whose Soling assignments included helping a motivational speaking firm set goals for expansion and creating a promotional CD-ROM. "The Soling Program is structured to include weekly evaluations and comprehensive final presentations," Glennan says. "The project's completely in your hands, so it's a very intense experience. You learn a lot about teamwork, technology, and creative problem solving, which are big buzzwords in today's job market."
A significant finding by SU's Career Services Task Force was that faculty advisors play a pivotal role in career development. Professor William Coplin, chair of the Public Affairs Program and a proponent of the policy studies major, illustrates the profound impact faculty can have on students' careers. "While public service lies at the heart of the policy studies major, I am also very career-oriented," acknowledges Coplin, who publishes a career guide titled Policy Studies for Your Heart, Mind & Wallet.
"Arts and Sciences programs traditionally pay more attention to the students' intellects than to their careers," Coplin says. "While I believe my students should be able to hold their own against philosophers, they should also be able to do a bar graph. My students are generalists, but they have skills. It's not antithetical. In the course Methods of Public Policy Analysis and Presentation, my students perform an extensive statistical analysis for real clients. It's a nightmare for them, but it's a substantial piece of work, often involving 200 respondents. It's totally theirs, and it gets them their first job interviews. At least 10 percent of my students go into consulting, where they do exactly the kind of work they've done in my classes."
To generate supportand alumni mentorsfor policy studies, Coplin personally publishes a newsletter. "I also have a mentoring file," reports Coplin, a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence. "When students start looking for jobs, I ask where they want to settle and put them in touch with my graduates. Once they're established, I start sending students to them."
Andrew Finger '00, who's been weighing potential majors with the help of Career Exploration Services in The College of Arts and Sciences, took Coplin's class during the spring semesterand found what he's been seeking. "I liked the subject matter, and I liked Professor Coplin; he's funny, and he's always thinking about what we're going to do in the real world," says Finger. "I'm getting ready to go over and have lunch with him to talk about my decision. He always encourages us to join him for lunch before class." |
Thanks to professors like Coplin, carefully tended alumni databases, cutting-edge technology, and committed career counselors, SU students have more career focusand more career potentialthan ever. Maryam Robati '94 noticed a big difference when she was on campus recently, recruiting for the mega-advertising agency Young & Rubicam New York. "On a lot of campuses I've visited, we've had to advertise to get students to our presentations," Robati says. "At SU, the Center for Career Services handled the promotion and we had a great turnout. Many schools pour their energy into marketing graduate students, but SU makes a huge effort to market its undergraduates as well.
At Creative Careers, a career fair for College of Visual and Performing Arts students, independent design consultant Karen Louise Poppenberg '89 conducts a resume workshop.
"When I was a student, I didn't really take advantage of career services, and neither did a lot of my friends," Robati says. "I found my first jobwith J. Crew, in human resources-by chance, through a sorority sister. The SU students I met this year were very focused. I was proud to take their resumes back with me.
"We had 65 students attend, one of the largest turnouts we've seen," she continues. "These students were very professional. They asked good questions and knew a lot about advertising. And they had to brave 20 inches of snow to get to our presentation!"
Career Services interim director Kelley Bishop takes almost paternal pride in the impression these students make on recruiters like Robati. "The driving force on this campus is that we really love these students and want to do all we can to help them succeed," Bishop says. "We know they're going to be great. They cannot always see that, but we can."