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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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In December 1976, veteran George Lang was one of 28 students to graduate from St. Thomas’ first-ever MBA class, marking the beginning of a legacy that has grown into today’s Opus College of Business. Moving from a background in mathematics, Lang went on to transition to a longtime career in finance and real estate, start his own consulting company and most recently, join the Graduate Business Alumni Board this past September.
A lifelong resident of St. Paul, Lang says he got his start in the military in JROTC while still a student at Cretin High School (which became Cretin-Derham Hall in 1987). He went on to study mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, where he was a member of ROTC. After his graduation in June 1964, he spent two years in the army. He was pulled into a unit at Fort Lewis in Washington, landing in military intelligence, an area in which he would spend his entire army career. A year later, when President Johnson decided to move American troops into Vietnam, Lang found himself in the company of 5,000 men of the first infantry division, who sailed over to Vietnam to prepare the way. Lang described the experience as “not like the current day military, but not like the World War II military. It was, ‘Go out and try to eliminate the enemy,’ who was very clandestine.”
Upon his return a year later, Lang had already written ahead of time to apply for and secure a job with St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, now known as the Travelers Companies. For three years He worked primarily as a computer programmer before getting into a research analyst position. Lang and a partner introduced the company to the first personal computers, as well as the first terminals, as the new technology spread to the public at the end of the 1960s. “Quickly, it appeared to me I had reached the top of where I was,” Lang said, citing that this was the time he began looking for a graduate business program that would advance his career.
Résumés 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.
A few days ago, first year UST MBA students who were awarded Outreach scholarships gathered for a potluck dinner and conversation. There, they were joined by a group that had never existed before this year—second-year Outreach Scholars; role models who could reassure them that the intensity of the Full-time UST MBA was nothing they couldn’t handle. Role models who, over the past 14 months, have already established a track record of excellence, taking on leadership roles and graduate assistantships, securing internships with Fortune 500 companies and earning national recognition for themselves and the university with a top three finish in the annual NBMBAA Chrysler Case Competition.
While the Outreach Scholars program is only in its second year, every alumnus of the Full-time UST MBA program (and there are hundreds) has made lifelong connections during his or her time here. Some have the distinction of being one of fewer than 75 graduates of the UST JD/MBA dual degree program; others participated in the Aristotle Fund or the Mayo Innovation Scholars program. These shared experiences made their time in the UST MBA program memorable, but at the end of the day, the strongest bonds are reinforced by, if not built upon, the connection each student makes with classmates who have common career interests, belong to the same clubs, same team, or some other group within the larger UST MBA community.
The 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
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.
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?
In the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, a select group of Minnesota students has the chance to participate in an extraordinary internship that places it at the intersection of science, business, medicine and ethics for five months of one academic year.
Every day, Mayo inventors share ideas with the Mayo Clinic Ventures office, and the full development of these ideas a challenge. This is where the Mayo Innovation Scholars come in. Twelve teams made up of two undergraduate science students and two business students are each led by MBA students. These team leaders were responsible for overseeing the undergraduate teams, which includes ensuring the delivery of the project requirements, setting milestone goals, providing technical assistance, communicating with all stakeholders, and assisting with the final paper and presentation delivery.
In 2013, five of the 12 teams were led by then second-year UST MBA students, including Samantha Majkowski, Daniel Kolar, Karen Satterlie, Abbey Pieper and Boubakar Jalloh. UST MBA class of 2014 students Nana Yaa Dodi, Brianne Hamm, Sheng Lee Tomar and Pleasant Radford have been named Mayo Innovation Scholars team leaders for 2014.
Despite the threat of congress further changing the rules of our health care system, and a 16 day shutdown of the federal government, leaders across Minnesota and the Midwest have been working to increase the accessibility to insurance while improving patient care and reducing costs. So, instead of focusing on the political bloviating in Washington, let’s turn our attention to the opportunities being developed right here in Minnesota and in the greater University of St. Thomas community, where improvements have already changed the way patients receive new health care benefits. Daniel McLaughlin, M.H.A, the director of the UST Center for Health and Medical Affairs, shared his insight to the progressive nature of our evolving local health care models.
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.”