Office of Professional Development Guides Undergraduates to Careers
A lot can be accomplished in one year. Just ask Rebecca Cassidy, assistant dean and director of the Office of Professional and Leadership Development at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. Last fall, she opened the doors to the new office armed with the mission of providing career-related advising and programming specifically for undergraduate students.
Starting with 464 coaching appointments, three career treks, and numerous workshops, the Undergraduate Program Office is prepared to grow the school’s career programming even more.
“Launching the Office of Professional Development last year was a crucial step toward ensuring Georgetown’s undergraduate business students are prepared for their careers,” said Norean R. Sharpe, senior associate dean and director of the undergraduate program. “By collaborating with the Georgetown Cawley Career Education Center, our students will continue to be among the nation’s top prospects for salaries and internships, and we are grateful to our generous parents and alumni, who have made this new Development Office possible.”
A combination of industry trends and the efforts of the McDonough School of Business has led to measurable results for students. The Class of 2015 saw increases in both average starting salary (from $63,213 to $68,537) and an increase in the number of internships (from 84 percent to 94 percent) over the previous class.
“I am pleased to see the level of engagement we experienced during our first year,” Cassidy said. “By providing deeper, more individualized attention to our students, we are delivering on our promise to provide a world-class business education.”
Programming for business students currently includes one-on-one coaching, walk-in consultations, and bootcamps on such topics as developing effective resumes and LinkedIn profiles, networking skills, industry-specific career panels, and mock interviews. This year, Cassidy is adding four additional coaches for students in the areas of financial services, consulting, and advertising/marketing/public relations.
The office also organizes career treks, where 10-15 students travel to a company’s headquarters to learn more about jobs available in that industry. In October, students interested in advertising, marketing, and public relations will meet with employers in New York City, and real estate students will travel to Maryland in November to engage with leadership from Host Hotels.
In addition, employers meet with Georgetown McDonough students on campus. During 2014-15, the Office of Professional Development hosted representatives from GE Asset Management, Estee Lauder Companies, and Millennium Management in the school’s Hariri Building, in addition to the employers hosted for all undergraduate students by the Cawley Center.
Looking forward, Cassidy plans to increase alumni engagement. Currently, the school’s Alumni Mentor Program matches sophomores and juniors with Georgetown McDonough alumni in the Washington, D.C., area for both formal and informal career discussions.
“The Alumni Mentor Program has grown over the past five years,” Cassidy said. “We are looking at continuing to expand the program, as well as finding other opportunities to connect students with alumni through coaching opportunities in a broader selection of industries.”