Illustrating the Charles F. Dolan School of Business’ (DSB) strategic theme of enabling students to be “career-ready,” the DSB developed and rolled out the “Professional Development Series.” The new series consists of events and workshops designed to supplement a student’s academic development throughout their four years at Fairfield and provide a structured forum for students to gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and networking strategies to leverage their business education into a productive career.
“The purpose of this series is to provide students with a competitive edge entering the labor market. It’s aimed at enhancing the foundational learning students gain in the classroom by providing real-world career preparation,” said Dr. Donald Gibson, Dean of the Dolan School. The programming associated with the series helps students to gain career-oriented skills, such as résumé-writing and interviewing techniques, while also helping them to focus and define their academic and career interests.
Many events were designed as part of the series to help prepare students for the vigorous job search that now follows graduation. Events included the ever-popular “Competitive Edge” Etiquette Dinner and Seminar, aimed at providing helpful tips for students in learning domestic and international etiquette. Nearly 100 students, primarily DSB juniors and seniors, heard about effective communication skills, key tips in managing food and conversation in formal business meals, and the importance of turning their cell phones off and focusing on interpersonal relationships.
The DSB’s “Career Night: Stags in Business,” led by members of the DSB Advisory Council, provided tips to students from top business leaders, mostly Fairfield alumni, on the key elements of a successful career. The event drew over 50 students who benefitted from small group discussions and one-on-one mentoring with 10 Advisory Council members.
Two Sophomore Symposiums were offered last year to prepare students to actively engage with the Business School and learn about academic and career opportunities. The fall event consisted of two panels, one focusing on academic programs (majors, minors, career opportunities) and one focusing on co-curricular activities (internships, international education, career planning). Over 200 students attended this event, representing 91% of the Class of 2014.
The spring Sophomore Symposium featured a keynote address given by Mike Cagnassola ’85, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, challenging students to broaden their knowledge beyond the technicalities of business skills. Fellow panelists, who were recent DSB alumni representing various industries, shared their professional journeys and offered recommendations and guidance to about 150 DSB sophomores.
As part of the new series, Dean Gibson launched an initiative to have all sophomores prepare their professional résumé and have it reviewed by a faculty member and a member of the Office of Career Planning. Dr. Gibson noted that this initiative was based on advice from the DSB Advisory Council, who emphasized the need for students to have produced résumés earlier in the process of developing their career goals.
Assistant Dean and Director of Undergraduate Programs Heather Petraglia, who developed the Series with Dean Gibson, has been working on expanding the opportunities for students in the Series for 2012-13. “This is a terrific opportunity for students to take advantage of activities across campus to enhance their career exploration,” she noted, “from time management in freshman year to negotiating a job offer in senior year—our goal is for business students to be career-ready.”
For a list of 2012-2013 Professional Development Series events click here.
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