Showcasing reflections and commentary from Schulich’s thought leaders on the latest emerging trends in management and the world of business.
Preparing Students for Careers in a Fast-Changing World of Work
One of the main strategic priorities at Schulich is enriching and enhancing the student experience, and one of the ways we’re doing that is by injecting greater career readiness and professional skills development directly into our curriculum. Helping us drive that change is our newly restructured Centre for Career Design.
We’re introducing more experiential learning, as well as more work internships that are part of the degree requirement and more work-integrated learning. We’re also expanding our level of engagement with Schulich’s large global alumni network to leverage our alumni as a strategic asset to help our students begin their career journey from day one. Basically, it’s a recognition that the career portion of a student’s journey – the part that happens once they finish their studies and get their degree – isn’t the final step. On the contrary, it’s what takes place right from the first day of the program and then every step of the way along their educational journey.
In this month’s column by Hollis Sinker, Executive Director of Schulich’s Centre for Career Design, we look at some of the ways Schulich is focusing on career development and workplace readiness – preparing our students for careers in a fast- changing world of work and the digital revolution that is transforming business.
Detlev Zwick, PhD
Dean, Tanna H. Schulich Chair in Digital Marketing Strategy
Schulich School of Business
Design Your Career at Schulich
Why do students pursue management education at a leading business school like Schulich?
There are myriad reasons depending on the individual, but the through line across the student body is clear. The ability to secure personally and financially fulfilling work post-graduation – whether starting, advancing, or changing careers entirely – is top of mind for every student who passes through Schulich’s front doors.
While these students are enrolled in our institution, we are responsible for providing them with the career readiness tools required to set them up to earn the full-time work they desire once they’ve completed their studies. Enter Schulich’s newly rebranded Centre for Career Design (CCD).
Formerly known as the Career Development Centre, the incorporation of the word ‘design’ into our rebrand is important as we want to take a life design approach to the career preparation work that we do with our extremely diverse student body. The incorporation of design thinking into the ways that we work with students – as well as the employers seeking to hire them – will allow us to be much more in tune with individual student needs, challenges, and goals, which in and of themselves have seen radical shifts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the team in the CCD, there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to ensuring our students are prepared for career success, thus the application of some of the fundamental tenets of design thinking to the work that we do is truly resonant.
While traditional “career services” such as resume and cover letter reviews or mock interviews remain an important staple in the catalogue of offerings to our student body, moving forward the CCD is also investigating the ways we can step away from a largely one-to-one transactional service delivery model, and move towards playing the role of connector or facilitator.
How are we doing this?
Academically, we are working closely with our Program Directors and the Professional Development and Experiential Education Office to enhance and amplify opportunities for professional development and career preparation within individual programs and courses. Our goal: to ensure every program has a mandatory professional development component.
We are also partnering with other service areas within the School such as Student Services and International Relations and Development and Alumni Relations to identify opportunities to insert career preparation touchpoints regularly into the student journey, while offering alumni the opportunity to give back to the School in the form of enhanced career mentorship opportunities.
And programmatically within the CCD, we are recognizing and embracing where we are best suited to play the role of professional development content curator, as opposed to creator. An exciting example of this is the orientation programming we have planned for incoming students this Fall. The CCD has partnered with Second City Works, the corporate education and entertainment arm of the world’s foremost institution for improv and sketch comedy, to deliver the custom, interactive virtual keynote Collaboration through Change: Improv Foundations for Building Relationships and Navigating Uncertainty to over 600 incoming graduate students.
While the careers our students seek – and the industries they’re drawn to – will continue to evolve over time, students’ collective desire to secure personally and financially fulfilling work upon graduation will always be a key driver behind their decision to pursue a management education degree. The CCD is in the privileged position of facilitating students’ career design process and is committed to ensuring our students have the tools required to become transformative leaders in today’s dynamic business environment.
Hollis Sinker (She/Her), MBA
Executive Director, Centre for Career Design