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STEM Panel Encourages Lifelong Learning

STEM Panel Encourages Lifelong Learning

Although graduating with a degree in chemistry, physics or math often leads to job heavy on technical expertise or specific scientific skills, the variety of a career paths represented at a recent panel consisting of University of Dallas STEM field graduates underscores the fact that these degrees can open doors to many fulfilling careers. And according to the panelists, a liberal arts degree from UD uniquely prepares graduates to become lifelong learners–a characteristic that is crucial to success in the knowledge economy. The panel was presented as part of the Clare Booth Luce Speaker Series.

Dominic Hilario, a self-employed chemical consultant, said that his degree in chemistry from UD gave him the technical skills he needed to start his career. “But my job in the lab wasn’t that exciting,” he said. “So I decided to learn the business side of things.” Although he didn’t have a business background, Hilario believes that his liberal arts degree gave him the tools to be able to learn from others.

Joe Constantino
Joe Constantino

MacKenzie Warrens, a junior physics major and a Clare Boothe Luce scholar, said that her experience doing undergraduate research last summer highlighted the contrast between herself and other students. “Liberal arts students are able to talk about so much more than just physics,” she said. “You can have conversations with other majors as well.”

Alessandra Marchi, another CBL scholar, said that her boss specifically noted her problem solving ability. “He called me a hard worker,” she said. “And said that I could grasp concepts without having learned them previously.” According to the alumni on the panel, this ability to grasp complex situations, along with an ongoing desire to learn, is the key to success in any field.

Joe Constantino, owner and president of Einstein’s Eyes, said part of the learning process after graduation includes taking chances on a job you’re not sure if you’ll like. “Don’t resist doing something for just a year,” he said. “You’ll find out something about yourself in the process. As an employer, I don’t look down on that.”

Anne Hoeschler
Anne Hoelscher

Anne Hoelscher, senior manager of product development at BMC Software agreed. “It used to be that you would probably be in a job for the rest of your life,” she said. “Now, I see resumes where people stay at a job for a year, fifteen-months, two-years. That’s not a big deal any more. But I do want to know what you learned from each of those experiences.”

For Kara Earle, working for Fidelity Investments has allowed her to try different career paths, all while staying with the same company for sixteen years. “Fidelity really invests in its people and in their career development,” she said. “I would recommend looking for a company whose culture values its people learning and growing.”

Along with becoming a lifelong learner, Dr. Carla Tiernan, Assistant Dean, UTA College of Engineering, said that being flexible and open to opportunity is also an important part of future success. “I never wanted to be an academic,” she said. “But you never know where your career is going to end up. Be open to possibilities,” Tiernan added that internships and research experiences can also be help with discernment. “Find out what you don’t like to do is really helpful,” she said.

Kara Earle
Kara Earle

An audience member remarked that University of Dallas President Thomas Keefe often says that students are preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet. He asked how undergraduates should prepare for those job without knowing what they will entail.

Hoelscher said that adaptation is the key: “UD grads are continually learning. Because of that, when a new industry comes out, you’ll be capable of adapting your skills to meet the challenge.”

Hilario’s answer came complete with a graphs entitled “Knowledge Acquisition of Normal Humans Over Time” and “Knowledge Acquisition of Lifelong Learners Over Time.”

He explained them like this: “Normal humans are born and continually acquire knowledge until they graduate college. Then they get a job and learn just enough to keep the boss happy, completely flattening out until retirement. Lifelong learners, on the other hand, know that just keeping the boss happy isn’t enough. They have to keep learning and growing. A couple of years at this pace and they’re managers. Then maybe CEOs. And finally, if they keep learning and innovating, they might even make it out of the cave.”

Graphics by Dominic Hilario

Graphics by Dominic Hilario

Hilario added that the real engine of the kind of growth represented on his graph is innovation. “When you keep learning, you can become a specialist in your field,” he said. “Then you can leverage your knowledge and begin to innovate.

The Henry Luce Foundation has provided a grant for one-year full-tuition scholarships for female students at the University of Dallas majoring in computer science, mathematics, physics or engineering. These scholarships are named Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Scholarships, and students receiving these scholarships are named as CBL Scholars.

In addition to the scholarships, the University has established a Clare Boothe Luce Speaker Series, Clare Boothe Luce Discussion Panels for Undecided Students, and a support organization for women in the sciences.  These initiatives are designed to attract women into physical science, engineering, and mathematical areas and to support them once there.

Sustainable Business Network: Christus Health

Sustainable Business Network: Christus Health

How does an organization not only stay relevant but also flourish through 150 years of technological and societal changes? By staying committed to its mission. Christus Health, a Catholic faith-based healthcare company, has done just that. Established by a group of sisters in France in 1866, Christus Health has grown become a $6.2 billion global organization with 42,000 associates still dedicated to the original mission: to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to everyone who comes through their doors. “There’s a reason we call our employees associates,” said Ernie Sadau, Christus Health CEO. “We’re a team.” Sadau and other Christus executives spoke on September 30 to a meeting of the University of Dallas’ Sustainable Business Network about how Christus Health is meeting the challenges of managing and growing a complex global organization through building trust among its leaders and associates.

SBN Meeting at Christus Health
SBN Meeting at Christus Health

With locations in the southern United States as well as Mexico, Chile and Colombia, developing leaders in a meaningful and consistent way has become an integral part of Christus Health’s plan for success. And one of the key components of developing leaders is through coaching. “In the past, coaching at Christus had the reputation of being used only when something needed to be fixed,” said Lisa Reynolds, Vice President of Talent Management. “We had to change that perception because we know that coaching is essential to stable and effective leadership and and an engaged workforce.”

Reynolds described for the group the many ways in which Christus uses both internal and external coaches to develop current and potential leaders, from the C-suite to front line associates. “We have an standardized Executive Assimilation Program that uses coaches to introduce new executives to the culture and processes of the organization,” Reynolds said, adding that the program has helped Christus reduce executive turnover by 46%. “In addition, we use coaches to help high potential leaders improve target behaviors. This helps them to develop into effective leaders.”

The Christus coaching philosophy doesn’t only apply to corporate-level managers. All leaders within the organization manage with a coaching approach. “It’s really about trust,” said Scott Hopkins, Director of Leadership Development. “In order to build relationships, we have to have trust. Patients trust associates and associates trust their leaders.” To build this level of trust, Hopkins said that much of Christus’ leadership training focuses on how to have conversations. “Sometimes it’s tough conversations,” he said. “And other times it’s checking in.” To facilitate “checking in,” leaders have regular conversations with associates, asking questions like, “How are you doing?”; “What’s going on in your life outside of work?”; “Do you have any suggestions that could improve our processes or employee safety?”; and “What kinds of tools or equipment could help you do your job?” According to Hopkins, having discussions that focus on the positive creates trust and takes away the stigma of coaching as negative process.

Another key element of building trust among associates and leaders at Christus Health is through recognition. Hopkins said that studies show 65% of people say they received no recognition whatsoever for their work in the past year. “So we developed a Facebook-style forum where leaders can recognize associates,” Hopkins said. “And not only do associates receive organization-wide exposure through this system, but leaders can also award incentive points that associates can use to purchase items on the system website.” Peers can also recognize one another through the forum.

Hopkins added that leaders are encouraged to write handwritten notes to personally recognize outstanding associates. “Imagine the impact of a handwritten note from your boss posted up of the refrigerator for your whole family to see,” he said. “It really engages your heart.”

Hopkins and Reynolds agreed that learning to build trust starts on a leader’s first day. “By creating the expectation of transparency, you build relationships and you develop consistency,” said Reynolds. “Basically,” Hopkins added. “Do what you say you’re going to do.”

The University of Dallas Sustainable Business Network (SBN) is an open forum for building relationships, exchanging best practices, and fostering dialogue around issues of corporate social responsibility, sustainability and eco-innovation, and corporate governance. Hosted by the AACSB-accredited Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas, SBN hosts quarterly events and panel discussions on relevant topics led by recognized industry experts. For more information, visit

Executives on Campus: Jennifer Boyanovsky, AT&T

Executives on Campus: Jennifer Boyanovsky, AT&T

AT&T is a Fortune 5 company, and, as you would expect, its marketing program is complex. Jennifer Boyanovsky (MBA ‘03), Executive Director, Brand Management for AT&T, spoke on September 15 to Dr. Laura Munoz’s Marketing Theory and Practice class at the University of Dallas about approaching the market, market segmentation and her own roles at AT&T.

Boyanovsky began her marketing career making cold calls. “I was literally doing door-to-door sales. It not only forced me to get outside of my comfort zone,” she said, “but it also helped me learn to deal with different types of people.” After moving on to business acquisition sales, Boyanovsky eventually took a role in consumer marketing at AT&T, helping to establish the company’s early online presence. She then worked in channel marketing, where she served as a liaison between the marketing and distribution channels. “I was really a negotiator in that role,” she said. “It was my job to make sure marketing’s plans got executed on the front line.” From that experience, Boyanovsky learned marketing departments can’t sit in a silo making plans: “Marketing has to figure out how the front lines can improve the customer experience.”

Jennifer Boyanovsky
Jennifer Boyanovsky

According to Boyanovsky, one of the keys to marketing a big brand like AT&T is balance: “The trick is to keep the brand stable, yet evolving.” Marketing plays a key role in that process by continuing to evaluate customers’ needs. “Our business marketing is a great example of how we are evolving,” she said. “We want to provide solutions to everyone from mom & pops to huge corporations like IBM. So our marketing has to show them how AT&T can help them optimize their networks, manage their data, but also answer the phones.”

Boyanovsky said that in order to become an integrated communications company, AT&T has had to break down barriers between departments. “Our marketing plan focuses on advertising broader solutions rather than just individual products,” she said. Despite the brand evolving in this way, Boyanovsky said that the it remains consistent: “Our ads are predominately blue, they contain a particular font and include the iconic AT&T tone.”

Because AT&T values new talent acquisition, Boyanovsky said that the company has two programs aimed at college students and recent graduates. The summer internship program targets freshmen and sophomores and allows students to rotate through different departments within the company over three summers, with the potential to move into full-time employment after graduation. AT&T’s 16-week B2B Sales Program is a graduate apprenticeship-type program that Boyanosvky said allows for “excellent career and learning potential.”

The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information click here.


Getting From Resume to Interview to Offer

Getting From Resume to Interview to Offer

It’s not every day that college students get the scoop from real recruiters on what it takes to get hired. But on August 31, the lucky students and alumni who attended OPCD’s panel event, “Getting From Resume to Interview to Offer,” heard about resumes, networking and even pet peeves from some of DFW’s largest and most distinguished employers.

Panelists in attendance were:
Mary Mackenzie (BA ‘14), Human Resources, 7-Eleven Corporation
Noelle Bleich, Vice President in Recruiting, Human Capital Management Division, Goldman Sachs
Mariana Zayas (BA ‘12), Corporate Human Resources Manager, Omni Hotels
Kayla Cermak, Recruiter, Campus Reach Team, Southwest Airlines
Sarah Jane Semrad (BS), Entrepreneur

Here are some of their take-aways.

Bleich: At Goldman Sachs, we want to read your story. We want to know how you got to this point. Don’t just check the boxes. We assume you have a high GPA and have been involved on campus, so show us what you’re passionate about. Did you have leadership positions at school? Did you work to put yourself through school? What drives and motivates you?
Mackenzie: You should make sure your bullet points represent how your experience matches the job description.
Cermak: We’re looking for people who “live the Southwest Way,” so we want to know what you’re passionate about and what kind of leadership you’ve shown. We’re not really looking for someone who has a 4.0 GPA but who hasn’t been involved in the community.

Semrad: I don’t like looking at resumes that have the same super generic font on the same plain, white paper. Show me something interesting that will give me an idea of your personality.
Bleich: Make sure you know your audience, because at Goldman, we are actually looking for more traditional resumes that are 1-2 pages at most but still tell a story.
Cermak: Take the time to craft your bullet points using action verbs that link to the results you achieved during a job or project.
Mackenzie: Really think about the person who will be reading your resume and make sure that it matches the style they will want to see. And don’t be discouraged by online application forms. A well-crafted resume can still stand out.
Zayas: Having a profile statement–2-3 sentences on why you want to work for this company and why you want this particular job–will help you stand out against the more generic submissions.

Mackenzie: Don’t think of networking as a “dirty word.” Think of it as “who in my community can I seek advice from?” You’re not necessarily looking for a job, but talking with the people in your sphere to learn about different companies and careers.
Semrad: You always have to be open to the serendipity of who you’re meeting at a particular time. You never know who is going to be a church or who’s in front of you at Starbuck–it could be someone that could help your career now or in the future.
Zayas: If you’re nervous about going to a networking event alone, take a buddy. Set a goal to talk to at least five people you don’t know. It might seem scary but you have to be able to talk to people to get ahead in your career.
Cermak: Look all around your network or people that can help you, including your parents’ friends. They can be an invaluable resource. When you meet people, be sure to write their names and something interesting about them on the back of their card or flyer. If you can recall that information in a later in a follow up, you’re going to stand out. Set a reminder in your phone to follow up with them periodically.

Bleich: I skip the cover letter and go straight to the resume. If you include a cover letter, it better be perfect. It can sometimes hurt more than help.
Mackenzie: Organizations in Washington D.C. wanted to see cover letters as an example of your writing ability and to get a feel for your story.
Cermak: I say don’t bother with a cover letter unless it’s a writing job.
Zayas: I skip the cover letter unless the resume really intrigues me and I want to know more.

Cermak: If you haven’t had a lot of experience in the area you’re applying to, it’s OK to talk about projects you worked on in class and what role you played in any group work. You can also talk about obstacles you faced and how you overcame them as well as what kind of results you achieved.
Bleich: Don’t just say you are a problem solver, use examples to show how you approach problems. If you’re going to put something like “Excel skills” on your resume, talk about how you used Excel to solve a problem and what benefit that solution had.

Semrad: When I ask someone for a resume, I look to see how long it takes them to get it to me and if there are any typos. And I look to see if they’ve put their best self forward.
Bleich: There is no need to have a resume more than 1-2 pages at most. Use your LinkedIn page to elaborate more if you need to.
Cermak: Make sure to proofread–check for typos and misspelled words. Make sure the company name is correct.
Mackenzie: Don’t put your GPA on your resume unless it was crazy good.
Zayas: Agreed! Don’t mention your GPA on your resume.

For more information on UD’s Office of Personal Career Development, click here.

LinkedIn from a Recruiter’s Perspective

LinkedIn from a Recruiter’s Perspective

As a recruiter for a national hospital system, UD alumna Anna Sowder (Business ‘15) sees LinkedIn profiles every day. Unfortunately, many fall short for a variety of reasons. In hopes of helping out UD students and grads, Anna has given us a recruiter’s perspective on how to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Anna Sowder
Anna Sowder

Post a picture!
While Anna acknowledges that some people think a photo might allow an employer to discriminate, she believes that it actually shows that you cared enough to take your time in building your profile: “It makes it more personal and allows people to see you as a PERSON, which is what we all want.” Make sure to dress professionally in your photo–that means no T-shirts for men and no low necklines for women.

Always keep your profile updated with your current role
This is one of Anna’s pet peeves: “Even if you aren’t really in the market for a job, you should ALWAYS update your profile! We message people all the time with opportunities to see if they would be willing to make a switch.” Anna says that although having the right contacts will often get you a job, recruiters are now actively emailing potential candidates based on the roles listed in their LinkedIn profiles: “You don’t always know what other people see in you until you get that email that says, ‘Hey, we think you’d be a good fit for this job. Wanna check it out?’”

If you really, really, really want/need a job, attach a resume or cover letter
Anna says that a resume gives a recruiter something to print out so she can compare you to other candidates. “It also makes it easier to pass on to the hiring manager/executives,” she said.

Remember, LinkedIn is NOT social media  
Anna is adamant about this point: “Your LinkedIn profile is your professional face to the rest of the world! So make it that way! Show that you have good judgement, can be professional, and should be trusted!” According to Anna’s HR Manager, her company’s head recruiter, this is the most important aspect of a LinkedIn profile.

Click here for more information about OPCD or to make an appointment with a career adviser.

Work/Study Job Fair Tomorrow!

Work/Study Job Fair Tomorrow!

Need a work/study job this semester? Look no further!
Don’t miss the Work/Study Job Fair hosted by Human Resources and the Office of Personal Career Development on Tuesday, August 23, from 2:30pm-4:00pm in Upstairs Haggar. Representatives from campus departments will be recruiting to fill their work/study positions.

Want to improve your chances of getting a job? Be on time, be prepared and and bring your resume!
Many departments hire ON THE SPOT so get there early and make a good impression by dressing in business casual attire. Bring copies of your resume if you have one and be prepared to discuss your specific skills and experience with the hiring managers present. Double-check to make sure you have all of the required documentation to begin work (you got an email with this information if you are eligible for work/study).

Not eligible for work/study? Come Anyway!
There will be a small number of non-work/study positions available, in addition to an outside employer who is looking for a few part-time workers.

Need more advice on getting a job? We’re here to help!
OPCD career advisers will be available to help students who are looking for off-campus employment.

OPCD Job Fair Essentials

OPCD Job Fair Essentials

“Hey, I think I’ll run by that job fair after class. I heard that one of the companies really likes UD grads.”

“But you’re wearing a tank top and cut-offs.”

“So what? I just want to grab the brochure and apply online.”

What’s wrong with this scenario, you ask? A job fair is more than just a “stop by if you can” kind of event. You can obtain advice about applying with a particular company directly from the company’s own staff. You might even get an interview!

Here’s how to prepare for an OPCD job fair

  • View a list of employers and professionals attending the job fair on the OPCD website. 
  • Research the employers with whom you would like to speak.
  • Prepare your resume and have a career counselor review it.
  • Bring several copies of your resume on quality paper—carry them in a folder or a portfolio.
  • Practice your 20 second introductory speech that includes 1) Who you are, 2) Your area of interest, 3) Why you are interested in their organization, 4) Relevant skills you have to offer. This could be the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU DO!

Making the most of the OPCD job fair

  • DRESS PROFESSIONALLY. For job fairs, campus recruiting events, and mock interviews, business attire is essential.
  • Collect business cards from every person with whom you speak in order to follow up and send thank you notes.

Click here to visit the OPCD website for more job fair, resume and interview tips.