Recently I got asked by the director of the Cohen Career Center at William and Mary to become a member of their Employer Advisory Board. I feel truly honored to be asked by my alma mater to advise the department which has such a huge responsibility to help students take the great lessons they have learned at the College and find a career that they find satisfying. Sadly, I was not able to attend the inaugural meeting a few months back, but I spent the day last Friday at our second meeting and I found it a great experience.
We had breakout sessions with faculty and staff from various departments and my group was focusing on science and technology. To step back for a second, one goal of this board is to help the College as a whole and the Career Center specifically get the message out to employers of the specific benefits of hiring students from William and Mary as opposed to other, well qualified students from other institutions. In my view, the argument is an easy one; a liberal arts education makes a more well rounded individual. Beyond the initial, strict qualifications for a job, I want a new hire who will have the intellectual depth that a narrow education doesn’t give. Someone who is capable of having a great conversation with me, my staff, and customers is extremely valuable to me as a businessman.
I firmly believe that William and Mary provides that level of graduates to the world. But, how do we make sure the world knows this and knows the benefits?
Our conversation came around to the fact that the information is available in mailings and online, but it is just too hard to get to. You can look at the statistics of job placements for graduates or the research interests of the various professors, but right now, it is too hard to find quickly. If I am an employer, I don’t have 30 minutes to research William and Mary, I have 3, maybe. If we can’t show you a compelling set of information that quickly, your next 27 minutes will be spent elsewhere.
So, that is the area I hope that I can help. I want to help the College make it simple for someone who has a resume in front of them from a newly minted William and Mary grad to find out why that individual has a better chance of succeeding for that company. I think this will be a fun project and I will try to remember to share as we make progress.
I will leave you with one project I think is great; Liberal Arts @ Work. This project has profiles of what grads have done with their liberal arts degrees and how they were instrumental in finding their passions.