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Preparing the Career Professional

A graduate student at the Roanoke Higher Education Center

"Through quality scholarship and cutting-edge research with top-ranked faculty, we prepare our students for dynamic careers." ~ Dean Karen P. DePauw

A central focus of the Transformative Graduate Education experience is preparing students for their future careers, whether in the academy, government, or industry. To help our students succeed and standout in the job market, we offer a range of seminars, workshops, presentations and other professional development opportunities.

The Graduate School, Graduate Life Center and Career Services work together throughout the year to provide networking and educational sessions for our students. And several of the Graduate School's courses, such as Communicating Science, help our students gain an edge over their competition.

For those who plan to explore or return to careers outside academe, one of our key offerings is the “Preparing Career Professional” course, taught by Associate Dean Kevin Edgar. Throughout the semester, speakers from different fields including company CEOs and vice presidents, faculty members and alumni who successfully started successful businesses, and others who have had different experiences share their insights and tips with graduate students.

Master's degree students process during Graduate School Commencement Ceremonies

Students who have taken this class have said they want to know what to expect in industry, even if they later choose to pursue a job in the academy. And those who do become professors have said this class helps them understand what their students may need to succeed in their fields.

Students from past classes have praised the perspectives and advice they received. Here are some of their thoughts on the class:

“In industry, one must be able to turn on a dime, depending on the needs of the company and market, while academia tends to be relatively more unidirectional and arguably more stable. Having this need for flexibility emphasized by the speakers was helpful, reminding us to not simply work ahead with blinkers on, but to be ready for change.

“We learned valuable lessons about entrepreneurship, networking, how to be successful in a job, and how to be successful in life.

“Mentoring is key. Finding a mentor after employment can help you so much in the long run.”

“One topic we revisited throughout the semester was the importance of networking effectively, especially in the context of establishing industry contacts.”

“Being successful in a job was one of the most versatile topics discussed in this class. We discussed one important aspect of this, negotiation, in detail. We learned that it is key to not just negotiate for money, but to also consider what kind of mentorship/training/development programs and opportunities the company offers.”

The Graduate School and Graduate Life Center, together with partners across the campus, offer a range of professional development activities and opportunities throughout the academic year.

The GLC Weekly offers the most up-to-date information on these activities.