Up Close with Epic: Leveraging your Liberal Arts Degree

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I started working at Epic, an EMR software company, back in March of 2016. For context, Epic is a company where no one comes with prior experience. There is no “electronic medical record” major that state-school students take to get ahead of liberal arts students. From day one, I was on the same level with all of my peers. We all underwent training classes and took the same tests to prepare us for working in the world of medical software. In fact, Epic promotes a culture where your background is less important, and instead the work you put in decides your success. That is where Davidson so clearly prepares its students the best. 

 My degree from Davidson has intrinsic value. My late nights in my library carrel writing papers did little to solve Macroeconomic issues, but they did prepare me for thinking critically about a subject so I could come prepared for lecture the next morning. That extra hour I went to office hours to ask for clarification about my Latin American education paper did little to improve my overall grade, but it instilled confidence to reach out for help and allowed me understand the value of creating professional relationships. Additionally, speaking up in my Political Theory class to voice my opinion on the 2016 election did little to change anyone’s vote, but it provided practice for transforming a cloud of disorganized thoughts into clear, concise points.

In sum, my degree is important. In truth, my degree has pushed me towards success.

My work at Epic has little overlap with specific classroom experiences. No singular class prepared me for interacting with hospital executives or leading presentations on EMR software. However, if I piece together my experiences with class presentations or research projects, I can clearly see a picture of the building blocks of my success. Even though I began my job at Epic with a limited understanding of what the job entailed, it did not matter, as I had my degree. I was prepared, equipped, and ready for any challenge. I was ready to work.

There are multiple full-time positions at Epic posted in Handshake. Learn more here

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Daniel was a Economics major at Davidson and graduated in 2016.  He is now living in Madison, WI while working as a Project Manager with Epic

Five Tips for Spring Success

Winter has descended, Thanksgiving break has passed and we are coming into the final leg of the semester. As we go into break, here are five tips that will help prepare you to hit the ground running in the spring semester:

1.     Get back on Handshake
Right now, you are probably focused on finals. But winter break is a great opportunity to research job and internship opportunities on Handshake. There are already more than 1200 postings, and more are being added every day. If you find an opportunity that peaks your interest, do not forget to “favorite” it, so it is easy to find and apply to later. Break is also a great chance to ensure your Handshake profile is up-to-date. If your LinkedIn profile is current, it is easy to copy the information over to Handshake. You can always drop into the Center for Career Development for a walk-in appointment if you want to review your LinkedIn profile with a career counselor or have a new headshot taken.

2.     Polish your resume
When was the last time you looked at your resume? If you have been putting off polishing or updating it, winter break can be a great time to check that off your list. If you are planning to apply for positions over break, or if you would like feedback on what you can polish to be prepared for next semester, you can come into the Center for a resume review. The CCD is open for walk-ins from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, including through exam week.

3.     Network on DCAN
There may not be on-campus events to network at over break, but you should not let that stop you from making connections and extending your network. DCAN makes that easy. With more than 1300 advisors, DCAN is one of the strongest networking tools you have. From career conversations to industry-specific resume reviews to mock interviews, DCAN advisors can help you at any stage in your job or internship search. It is fast and easy to use, but be sure to begin connecting with advisors early in break so you can schedule time to talk in early January before classes start.

4.     Pursue job shadowing opportunities
Break is particularly long this year – almost five weeks from the end of exams to the first day of classes. While the Career Center’s Job Shadowing Program has shifted to spring and summer [link to Sarah’s blog post], you can still take advantage of the break to gain experience in your field. Start by checking in with your network or connections at home to see if there would be opportunities to spend some time over break shadowing. If you have you developed relationships with any alumni on DCAN, you could also reach out to them about shadowing opportunities.

5.     Take time to reflect
The semester is busy, and we do not always take the time to reflect on what we have achieved and the progress we have made during the school year. Taking some time to reflect now, while the semester is still fresh in your mind, can help as you prepare to write cover letters and personal statements. It can also be an opportunity to notice whether your personal and professional goals have changed, or to celebrate the steps you have taken toward meeting those goals.

Job Shadowing Program: Updates & Enhancements

 

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Since the inception of our piloted Job Shadowing Program 5 years ago, students of all class years and majors have availed of hundreds of opportunities to connect with Davidson alumni and parents, explore career paths, and clarify their career goals. From veterinarians and social workers to consultants and CEOs, students have been able to observe a wide variety of roles in organizations across the country.

Student and host response to this program has consistently been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, 98% of students would recommend the program to a friend. To update you on the latest of this program and demonstrate the accomplishments, we are excited to share our Job Shadowing Program Annual Report.

As the Job Shadowing Program approaches its sixth year, we have been analyzing feedback from both hosts and students in order to continually enhance our process. Based on your feedback, we have determined that both hosts and students overwhelmingly prefer to shadow in the spring and summer. The extended timeframe allows for more flexibility in scheduling while the timing ensures more engaging experiences that do not conflict with holiday office closures.

As a result of this assessment, we will now prioritize the Spring and Summer Job Shadowing Program moving forward. This will ensure more successful shadowing placements that provide the most impact and enhance your experience.

We are thrilled by the great success of this program and are excited to kick of the 2017 Spring & Summer Job Shadowing Program. Be on the lookout for information sessions in the coming months.

Law School Fair Reflections

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When I was in second grade my class had a career day, and I dressed up as an attorney. I had on a black dress, my dad’s old briefcase, and my hair in a tight bun. All this to say, I have known that I wanted to go into the legal field since I was seven years old, so joining the Pre Law Society at Davidson was a no-brainer for me. I know that the path to discovering a passion for the law isn’t as clear cut for some people, and that’s why recruiting and educating new members has been my favorite role as President of the Pre-Law Society. Leaving a mock file review and hearing a classmate get excited about applying to law schools, or sitting in a networking seminar and listening to our members talk about looking for internships with senators and attorneys is what makes my role worthwhile. For this reason, the Greater Charlotte Law School fair was truly my favorite day of the semester.

As President, watching my peers listen intently to admissions officers speaking about the application process, course options, and notable professors, I felt that all of our hard work planning the fair was worthwhile. Afternoons spent advertising the fair to students and law schools alike were rewarded when nearly 70 law schools and 150 students came together to speak about career options and graduate school opportunities. For many of our first-year members the fair was a time to discover courses that excite them and really solidify whether or not law school is the best path. For juniors and seniors, I believe it helped decide which classes and campuses excite them the most, and maybe come to the realization that certain schools simply aren’t a good fit.

My own takeaway from the law school fair was perhaps less concrete than some of my peers. As a junior who chose not to grow abroad, I found my motivation beginning to waiver this semester. Classes seemed longer and LSAT prep was not moving along quickly enough. Speaking to admissions reps from my dream schools—Columbia, Duke, Boston College, and so many others—reminded me what I am working towards at Davidson and within the Pre-Law Society. Learning about immigration law classes and professors who take students to conduct research overseas rekindled a flame that had started to die down. The law school fair prompted me to see that the finish line is in sight, that the goal I have been working towards since I was seven years old is about to pay off greatly. To me, the Greater Charlotte Law School Fair was a truly invaluable experience.

emily-yates-headshotEmily is currently a junior at Davidson College. She is pursuing a double major in English and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Emily is President of the Pre Law Society and hopes to have a career in the legal field.

 

From English Major to Software Developer: Up Close with McMaster-Carr

“I just graduated with an English major, and now I’m a software developer.”

I have introduced myself this way many times over the last few months, and in response, I tend to receive looks of surprise and skepticism. I’m proving the skeptics wrong thanks to McMaster-Carr, a company that values liberal arts graduates and gives them the resources they need to become successful software developers.

As a rising senior, I was unsure about how I wanted to start my career. I had done my summer internships with nonprofit organizations, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start my career in the non-profit field. I began participating in programs through Davidson’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program and realized that I wanted a job through which I could pursue my newfound interests in technology and design. Without much background in either field, though, I wasn’t sure what my options were.

I applied on a whim for a Development and Design role at McMaster-Carr Supply Company. I did not know anything about the industrial supply industry, but I liked the job posting, which emphasized the opportunity to gain skills in technology, design, and business. I was surprised to find that for these entry-level software developer roles, McMaster was not exclusively seeking students with backgrounds in computer science. Throughout the interview process, McMaster employees confirmed the company’s stance that you can teach people to code, but you can’t teach people to learn, justifying their decision to seek out a start class with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Throughout the interview process, I articulated the ways in which my Davidson education, extracurricular roles, and internships taught me how to navigate ambiguous problems and learn new skills and content quickly; though my experiences had little to do with computer software, McMaster recognized my potential as a quick learner, and I received the job as an entry-level developer in McMaster’s Systems Department.

I’ve only been in my new role for two months, but I’m finding that the Systems Department at McMaster is an amazing place to start a career. Systems is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the software that McMaster uses for both internal and customer-facing business operations. As a developer at McMaster, I am learning how to develop across the full stack – from front-end languages for designing websites, to back-end languages for managing databases, and everything in between. In my first six weeks, I participated in a rigorous training program to learn programming and design skills, and now I’m continuing to learn as a member of my project team. The company prioritizes skill building, so my assignments are framed as opportunities to both contribute to my team and develop as a programmer. Additionally, the technology our department creates touches every part of the business, so the developer role is a great vantage point from which to learn about business strategy and operations more broadly.

While the path from English major to software developer may seem like an unusual one, I’ve already seen how the skills gained from studying a language (or any other liberal arts subject) can lead to success in software development. In the world of software, technology is constantly changing, so over the course of a development career, the ability to learn new skills quickly is more important than the specific content knowledge with which you enter. Additionally, to design software for a business, you need to ask critical questions about who will use a tool, how they’ll use it, and what is most important from a business perspective; as liberal arts majors, we are trained to synthesize information quickly and cut straight to the important questions, a skill which can give us a unique and useful perspective on a programming team. The learning curve is certainly steep, but I’m confident that a lot of Wildcats have what it takes to make an unlikely transition like mine, from English major to software developer.

Seniors interested in McMaster-Carr should check out the Development and Design role, as well as the Management Development role.

emily-rapport-headshotEmily Rapport graduated from Davidson in 2016 with a major in English and a minor in Hispanic Studies.

 

Graduate School, Or Not?

grad-school-or-notShort answer: maybe.  If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Nearly one third of seniors will enter a graduate or professional school program after graduation.  Deciding on a program and when to start is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.

The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

Thinking about grad school after Davidson?  You likely have many questions. Be prepared – meet with a career advisor, faculty mentor, and industry professional to gather information and make an informed decision.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies.  For now, take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you and visit the Center for Career Development to discuss your options.

An Innovative Internship Option

The world today is more complicated than it’s ever been. When Davidson students graduate, they will face challenges more tangled, political rifts more wide, and and conflicts more extreme.

 

It’s a good thing, then, that Davidson prepares students with the skills they need to face a complex world head on: inside and outside the classroom, Davidson students learn to think critically, ask hard questions, and manage huge amounts of stress. Students graduate as leaders capable of navigating a changing world.

 

But despite students’ ability to solve complex questions in a complex world, traditional career paths are less and less able to do so. How will we protect coastal cities against a rising sea? How will we safeguard our national power grid against cyber attacks? How will we provide more equitable access to higher ed? While traditional professions like law and medicine will play a part in answering these big questions, they are only a piece of the puzzle. The questions of our future will also be answered by jobs that we’ve never heard of. These job will reach outside of the realm of traditional professional silos. And many of them don’t yet exist.

 

So, as Davidson students begin thinking about how to wield their liberal arts education post-Davidson, it’s important for them to remain conscious of and search for jobs and internships outside of the traditional career canon. It’s important for students to find and create jobs that give them the support, communities, and opportunities they need to change the world.

 

To accommodate that imperative, Davidson I&E, in collaboration with the CCD, runs the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, which is a fully-funded summer program that matches students with innovative jobs at entrepreneurial ventures across the world. And it furnishes them with the opportunity to develop a professional network and learn more about entrepreneurialism.

 

While many think of entrepreneurship as a sport reserved only for techies in Silicon Valley, it is more expansive than that. Entrepreneurship is about identifying a gap, nimbly prototyping solutions to fill the gap, and then quickly implementing a sustainable solution.

 

Indeed, there may be many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, but there are many more people across the nation wielding entrepreneurship to find sustainable solutions to big problems. In part, it’s entrepreneurs that are designing levees systems to protect cities against rising levels; it’s entrepreneurs that are creating new security algorithms to protect our power grid; and it’s entrepreneurs that are using digital solutions to make higher ed more equitable.

 

Students find opportunities like the aforementioned through the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship program. Last year for instance, one student worked at a startup in Bulgaria to invent self-driven cargo aircraft. And, another worked in New York at an organization that works to increase office wellbeing. If students keep an eye on handshake this year, they’ll see a similar range of opportunities.

 

The Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Internship Program is open to everyone– you don’t have to be an economics or math major to apply. In fact, all you have to be is a Davidson student, because at Davidson students learn how to solve complex problems and be leaders in a changing world– students learn how to be the perfect entrepreneurs.  Applications will be due in early March, so keep your eye out for information from the Center for Career Development and Davidson I&E when you return from winter break!

 

john-michael Written by: John Michael Murphy
John Michael  is a Digital Learning & Innovation Fellow at Davidson College.

Training the Street

As College students, we have all probably encountered this classic conundrum in our job search:

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What if there were a way to gain on-the-job skills and training before you had a job? On Nov. 12, Training the Street will come to Davidson to offer a training program essential to any student wishing to pursue a career in finance or any business field requiring a deeper understanding of income and cash flow statements, balance sheets, public comparable analysis, and much more.

Training the Street works with many of the country’s top corporations to prepare their entry-level, new hires for success. By participating,you will be able to demonstrate to future employers both your preparation and your sustained interest in the business world. More than just teaching basic job skills, Training the Street is committed to cultivating the next generation of successful finance professionals. Through Training the Street’s program, you will master key concepts to reading financial statements and determining a company’s value, skills that you can apply immediately in interviews, internships and first full-time positions.

Training the Street is highly recognized and respected, and it is definitely worth highlighting directly on your résumé.

“Obviously nothing compares to actually doing the job first hand,” writes past participant J.B. Gough ’17, “but Training the Street definitely made me more comfortable especially in my shortcut excel skills, which are unbelievably valuable on the job. I was able to put Training the Street on my résumé and my employers were definitely pleased when they saw this.”

Jeanne-Marie Ryan, Executive Director at Davidson’s Center for Career Development, also acknowledges the value of this program.

“In my previous career, I was at the heart of financial services as a VP at State Street Corporation, so I’m confident that these skills in applied finance fundamentals are what our Davidson students need to differentiate themselves as candidates for any internship or entry-level role in banking or finance,” Ryan says. “Without this clear indicator of interest and skill development on their resume, it would be much more challenging for students to market themselves to a prospective employer for that first internship. The knowledge and confidence gleaned through this course will help students not only understand the finance fundamentals of corporate valuations, but completion of this course will serve as an asset on your resume, and open doors for your career options.”

Sign up in Handshake to attend this key opportunity! Lunch will be provided to all participants.

Out 4 Undergrad: Queering Business, Technology, Engineering, and Marketing

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Tai Tran ’18 is pursuing a Gender & Sexuality Studies major with a minor in Chinese Studies

Growing up, being queer was a hush-hush topic in many spaces I’ve been to. Being your authentic self meant being everything but out and proud. Whether it was middle school or the professional world, people just didn’t talk about it. Imagine my surprise when I heard of a professional conference opportunity specifically for queer undergraduate students. It’s not just one opportunity, but four. Out for Undergrad (O4U) offers four different conferences all in major cities around the United States: The Marketing conference is offered in Chicago, the Business conference is offered in New York, the Technology conference is offered in San Francisco, and the Engineering conference is offered in Palo Alto, CA. Did I mention that they cover your airfare and hotel?

I had first heard about O4U from Kai Jia, a Davidson alumnus who served as an ambassador for O4U. O4U is meant to help queer undergraduate students get their foot in the door of so many of these major career fields. The focus on academic and career development by fellow queer peers who volunteer their time to make this conference a success is the very meaning of community to me. The speakers, the volunteers, the staff at O4U really do want us to succeed and so planned for an entire year to put together all four of these conferences.

This year I chose to attend the O4U Marketing conference in Chicago, IL. The year before I attended the Technology conference in San Francisco. It was my first time in Chicago and I had a wonderful time. The itinerary was of course packed from 8 am in the morning to 7pm in the evening but the connections I made were worth all the while. Coming into the conference we were already given an assignment to provide hands-on experience in the field of marketing. The selected few participants with exceptional presentations had the chance to present their assignments to all of us. The winner got a position for a first round interview with a major company.

Each conference has their own career fair and so I was able to network with so many people from companies like Pepsico, Henkel, Neilson, Pandora, and even the toothpaste company Colgate. There were plenty of networking opportunities throughout the conference and I highly suggest everyone take advantage of it to get their name known. It’s only one weekend around mid-September or mid-October so take your pick and I hope you’ll have a great time connecting with professional queer peers as I did.

New Online Appointment Scheduling – Digital Transformation for the CCD

We heard your feedback and acted on it! One of the pieces of feedback that I heard through my listening tour with students is that you would like it to be easier to access the Center for Career Development (CCD). As you know, we immediately responded by enhancing opening hours for walk-ins to an all-day service, which has already resulted in a huge increase in the volume of students accessing the CCD and leveraging our resources daily. As our next step in the continued enhancement of your experience, we’re transforming the scheduling experience to make it simple, immediate and instantaneous to get your one-to-one career advisory appointments scheduled with Career Advisors.

We appreciate that as digitally-native students, you are seeking an automated and immediate appointment system where you can instantly identify available appointment times that work for your schedule, and immediately book your career advisory session!

Here at the CCD, we are excited to introduce an advanced appointment scheduling software system called Appointlet.

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Appointlet offers a variety of user-friendly features, including a mobile-friendly website that will deliver fast and convenient scheduling services, to aid you in scheduling your appointment with a Career Advisor. Whether you’re seeking a career assessment, a career counseling session, or a mock interview, you can readily filter through open appointment times to select and book an appointment with each of our dedicated Career Advisors. Furthermore, the software offers Google Calendar and Outlook integration, so your scheduled CCD appointment will conveniently sync to your personal calendar, should you choose to do so.

Studying abroad and wish to set up a meeting via Skype or phone? Appointlet also enables you to schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor without having to worry about translating time zones.  Browse by your time zone and book an appointment with us, so you can continue your career development planning while abroad. Get help in preparing for internship and research applications and interviews, even while you’re on your semester abroad.  You are a priority to us, and we aim to make the CCD resources readily accessible to you, even when you’re across the pond, we don’t want you to miss out!

By streamlining the system for appointment scheduling, we’re enhancing your access to the CCD team and resources, and empowering you to select the timeslots that work best for your schedule – instantly! Of course, you can still always drop by the Center in person to schedule an appointment, call or email us to do so, but now you have more options, including putting the power of scheduling at your own fingertips, all the time.

The CCD is here to empower all our students with the resources, confidence, competencies and access for successful professional and career development. Thank you for letting us know how we can continuously enhance our engagement with you – we are excited about launching this enhanced booking system and look forward to welcoming you to the Center for your career advisory session with us very soon!