All Posts By

Jessica Bauer

Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Building a More Inclusive Community

In any given week St. Thomas offers a wide range of workshops to members of its community. Still there were many aspects of the Howard Ross workshop on Diversity, Unconscious Bias, and Leadership that set it apart.

The intention of this workshop was simple yet provocative. Even with the purest of intentions, the way we perceive and respond to the world is strongly influenced by factors that we are often completely unaware of.  These influences are grounded in our personal history as well as our biology. And some of these unconscious influences on our perceptions and responses can detract from our effectiveness in interacting with others.

Howard Ross

 

Ross used a combination of video clips, research results, and personal stories to de-stigmatize our perceptions of bias, a critical first step in understanding how pervasive and universal bias is, and how we can use a heightened awareness of our own biases to increase our effectiveness in interacting with others. Visual aids, like the images above, helped illustrate not only that our initial perceptions can  misled us, but that even after seeing visual proof, in this case, proof that square A and square B are the same shade of gray  our senses, shaped by our “bias” about the nature of checkerboard patterns, tell us something different.

This insight into the workings of our own minds, this understanding of how context and life experience shapes our perception of reality, becomes more important when we shift our attention from inanimate objects and colors to complex communities of individuals that we li

ve, learn and work with. And as our communities become increasingly diverse, and the contextual and social meaning of dimensions of difference, such as gender, race, and sexual orientation evolve, enhancing our self-awareness of how personal history and cultural norms informs our perceptions becomes more critical.

How does this relate to leadership?

And so, over the course of three workshops over 100 members of the St. Thomas community received a crash course on diversity, inclusion, and the nature of unconscious bias. This comment from an attendee captured the sentiments expressed by several participants – “Great session! Would love more opportunities to discuss these ideas with colleagues.” And the most common complaint? That the workshops were too short! Great leaders connect emotionally, and inspire the best from their team members with effective communication and aggressive but realistic goals. If we are charged with leading or participating in a diverse team (and what team isn’t these days?) understanding how our life experience and world view may differ from our colleagues, or influence how we interact with others, is incredibly valuable.

 

 If you are interested in exploring the themes of unconscious bias and creating a more inclusive environment in our diverse St. Thomas community, send your name and  suggestions to bwoodson@stthomas.edu. 

Career Services, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

The Inventory For Your Future

WarehouseRésumés depict the perfect work history for a specific position of interest. Time and time again recruiters tell applicants to target an open position with key words, matched job responsibilities and highlighted qualifications.  This process will hopefully lead to an interview, and then a job offer, but it is often difficult to create a well-positioned résumé designed for success.  Each professional has a different work history, most of which is not listed on a typical resume, that is preferred to be only one page.  This one page document may contain all the pertinent information for a single position, but it doesn’t contain the entire work history of its owner which can be provided with an occupation inventory.

An occupation inventory is a document which contains each and every position held as well as each and every responsibility for those positions.  This document has no limit length, no desired conditional formatting and serves a single purpose, to create a complete professional track record that can be utilized for any future position.

This occupation inventory serves to be a quick reference for résumé creation as well as allow its owner to recount their work history with ease.  These previous positions can also provide insight into transferable skills that may have been previously missed.  About.com describes transferable skills as, “…the skills you’ve gathered through various jobs, volunteer work, hobbies, sports, or other life experiences that can be used in your next job or new career. In addition to being useful to career changers, transferable skills are also important to those who are facing a layoff, new graduates who are looking for their first jobs, and to those re-entering the workforce after an extended absence.” Transferable skills are great for those looking to transition into a different career field, such as from finance to marketing.

To create an occupation inventory, it is best to start with a blank document, rather than an existing resume.  Start by typing each company, position and time period on the document, then list each responsibility completed in each position.  These responsibilities can be complete statements, or single words, remember to list items that were not included on the job description.  If tasks or duties aren’t quick to come forward, utilize O*NET online’s ‘Occupation Quick Search’ engine.  O*NET is an online job description dictionary; Graduate Business Career Services as well as LinkedIn profiles can serve as great references.

As each professional’s career path extends, so should their Occupation Inventory.  Other items to consider adding to this document would include:

  • References from each occupation that can serve as great resources for future employers
  • Time periods as well as position changes that occur throughout organizations
  • Major projects and accomplishments
  • Committees and boards served on

This document is a reference tool to make applying, interviewing and networking much simpler.  This guide can also serve to depict areas of growth or skill sets that may be missing.  For more ideas on what to add to your Occupation Inventory see Graduate Business Career Services.

Career Services, EveningMBA, Events, Executive MBA, FTMBA, Newsroom, Student Life

Preparing for Success: Career Opportunity Fair

DSC04600The Career Opportunity Fair, hosted by the Graduate Business Career Services Department, will provide direct access to over 40 top employers for undergraduate and graduate level business students at the University of St. Thomas.  These top recruiters are seeking top talent from UST for internship and full time positions.  Tom Colosimo, Career Coach Specialist, details the best way to ace any Career Fair, but most importantly the Career Opportunity Fair, held next week in the Law School Schulze Grand Atrium on Friday, November 15th.

Prepping for a career fair can be nerve-racking and frustrating but it certainly does not need to be and it is very important.  If you go into a career fair prepared and with the right attitude information you should do well.  It’s all about knowing what you want, what they need, and creating your story to align to these variables. Many people go into a career fair with little or no preparation and come out thinking it was a waste of time.

The key elements to remember are:

Know what companies are going to be participating in the fair

  • Know the companies that you are most interested in; focus on your top 5
  • Research these companies – know their current activities and products
  • Know what initiatives they may have for the future
  • Get a handle on how your skills and experience align to their needs

 

Appearance is important for your brand and for that first impression

  • Be sure to have the ‘look of business’ that means business
  • Suite and tie for men and a nice dress suite for women
  • Error on the side of dressing conservatively; no wild colors or short skirts!
  • Do not overdo the colognes and perfumes; a nice scent is welcome but don’t overpower your environment and chase people away from you!
  • Smile!  It can mean so much when meeting people
  • Be genuine from hand-shake to tone of your voice
  • Practice your pitch so that it’s natural when you are delivering it to the recruiters

When you arrive at the fair, survey the flow of the attendees and be sure to identify where your companies are located right away. DSC04603

Start out by approaching companies that you may not know that much about and try your pitch on them to work out the kinks and get into your groove.  Do not approach your top companies right away since you may not be at ease yet.  Practice makes perfect.

If you get the business card of the recruiter or company contact, connect with them and thank them for the time they took to chat with you reminding them about your skills and interest in their company and WHY! Reach out on LinkedIn for that connection as well.  Many recruiters spend much of their time on social media looking for that next candidate.  With that in mind, make sure your LinkedIn profile sends the right message about your focus to solidify your brand.

 

Have fun with it.  Be yourself and be on your game!

To register for the Career Opportunity Fair, click here.

Career Services, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Need Professional Growth? Find a Career Mentor!

This week fifty first and second year Full-time UST MBA students embark on their Mentor program directed by Graduate Business Career Services.  Mentors have been paired with students based on career objectives, as well as a shared interest in the industry and company of their mentor.  These partnerships range from a wide variety of companies including 3M, Target Corporation, Cargill, Medtronic and many others. Finding a mentor can be rather difficult and cumbersome.  Steve Yakesh,  Executive Vice Preseident of Versique Executive Search and Consulting breaks down the process for those who wish to form a mentorship of their own.

Thousands of training companies and products exist to help individuals grow in virtually any profession. Many of these tools are great, but often cover broad topics, such as communications, management, and business acumen. How do you go about receiving customized training for your unique situation? A great option is to find a career mentor.

A mentor should be someone you can sit down with individually and discuss areas that are important to you. They can help you scribe a personal development plan, and can be available to lean on for advice and wisdom. Sounds great, right?

So, how do you find the right mentor?  Below are four tips to keep in mind: Continue Reading

Career Services, Events, Newsroom

Graduate Business Career Services Recognizes its Corporate Partners

U.S. Bank was named Strategic Corporate Partner of the Year.

U.S. Bank was named Strategic Corporate Partner of the Year.

More than 50 companies attended the Graduate Business Career Services Corporate Partner Reception this week.  There, three areas awards were presented: Corporate Champion of the Year, Strategic Corporate Partner and Strategic Corporate Partner of the Year.

Student Association President Preeti Sam, ’14 M.B.A. thanked the partners. “The value you all recognize that MBA students can have within your organization is appreciated, thank you for offering tours, information sessions but most of all, for offering internships,” said Sam. All of these activities, in addition to mentorships, and shadow days, provide students the opportunity to see the inner workings of many major organizations.

Sam completed her internship with U.S. Bank and noted that she never had the intention of working in the financial industry, but under the guidance of Terry Dolan, vice chairman of Wealth Management and Securities Services, she has come to see the world of “accidental bankers” as much more exciting and a possible option for her future.

Dean Christopher Puto, who noted that the education provided by St. Thomas coaches individuals to communicate effectively and confidently and was clearly recognized by each company in attendance. “I will never ask companies or recruiters to hire one of our students,” he said highlighting the UST student value proposition. “I will simply ask them to talk to them.” Continue Reading

Career Services, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Improv: A Career Gold Mine

Usually the best advice comes from experience.  Tina Fey, actress and Saturday Night Live star, is just that. Experienced.

As a cast member of Saturday Night Life, her comedic history traverses decades of movies, parodies and skits.  The success to all of these humorous ventures centers around one acting principle, IMPROVISATION.  Several books such as What Color is Your Parachute, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Who Moved My Cheese have long been the bibles to career advancement and professional development. In her book BossypantsFey accounts her comedic success to that of improvisation, and depicts the four rules to improv below.

To succeed in improvisation, one must master the ability to:

  1. Always agree
  2. Say yes
  3. Make a statement
  4. No mistakes

While these rules seem simple enough for a comedian, their value heightens in the professional world. Continue Reading

Career Services, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

Beyond the Classroom: an MBA Career Checklist

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Your GMAT test scores are in, class registration is complete, and school supplies are bought, any new graduate business student should feel rather relieved.  That is until classes start, group projects commence and midterms roll around.

The goal for many MBA students is not only to advance their education, but to propel their career. During the full-time MBA student launch week, professors remind each student that this two-year journey should be seen as a two-year job search. Whether you’re simply seeking a wider knowledge base, or to transfer into a new occupation, here are three steps that serve as an essential addition to your rigorous UST business course work.

Graduate Business Check List

Continue Reading

Career Services, EveningMBA, FTMBA, Newsroom

Job Search Reality Check – 5 Tips for Success

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Searching for employment – be it the dream job or the next step on the corporate ladder – can be exhausting.  There are many other choice words I could use to describe this laborious process such as demeaning, grueling, time-consuming, frustrating, and in my history, each job search is its own monster.  As a career coach, I seek to assist those during this difficult process, either as a resource or just an ear to vent to.  What I have realized from my own personal experience and that of others, is that a job search doesn’t truly become successful until a ‘reality check’ ensues.  For those new to the job search arena, or the seasoned vets, it may be time for a reality check, to ensure each individual has a realistic approach to their career goals. Here are five tips for a successful job search. Continue Reading

Career Services, Newsroom

Are LinkedIn Recommendations and Endorsements Worthwhile?

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I have been asked many times throughout the years about the value of LinkedIn recommendations, and more recently about the value of the endorsement feature. While there are many different angles to this discussion (and I could argue both sides of the value proposition with enthusiasm), one piece of the discussion puts me firmly on the side of “yes, they add value.” This piece surrounds the strengthening of your personal brand.

LinkedIn provides you with a very visible and free way to grow your personal brand. Both the endorsement and recommendation features allow you to take your brand to a higher level. While I understand these features are somewhat different, here are three quick tips that apply to both that will help maximize your results. Continue Reading

Ethics, FTMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary

The Value Proposition

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After recently attending an executive coaching session in which our second-year full-time MBA students were asked to create a value chart in order of priority for family, work, community and self, the emphasis placed on “values” got me thinking.  While a large proportion of the current professional population has been affected in some way by the arduous job market, how important are values to job seekers?

At a MBA Career Services and Employers Alliance student-lead panel, full-time MBA students  from St. Thomas and the U of M cited various items they consider prior to accepting a job offer.  Of those, professional advancement, opportunity to learn and be challenged as well as sharing the same values rated much higher than a competitive salary. There are a few things any job seeker should think about before accepting a position (or even applying for one). Continue Reading