Give Us a Year, You Will Get a Career

The holiday season is upon us.  You are graduating this month with a liberal arts or social science degree, but you still don’t have the kind of job offer you were hoping to get or maybe you are still not sure what to do with your degree.

If this describes you, consider complimenting your undergraduate credentials with a business degree.  The combination can be very powerful.  If you want to stay in Central Florida and work for a small or medium sized firm, you should consider our  MSM in Integrated Business.  This one year program emphasizes development of applied business skills through a team-based, active learning approach and creates well-rounded business professionals who can combine knowledge from several areas to get stuff done.  Want to learn more, click below.

Why You Should Visit Your Career Coach

As unnerving as having my face on screens all over the college can be, it helps me get to know a lot of students. No matter where I am in town, there is a good chance I will run into a student who recognizes me and strikes up a conversation.  Because I tend to be a creature of habit who shows up at the same places a lot, I get to know some of those students pretty well.

One of my frequent stops, is my local CVS. It is about 40 feet from where I live and because I’m a less than prepared grocery shopper, I end up running over there about five times a week to pick up something. This is how I got to know Miguel. Miguel is a graduate of our economics program who has been looking for a job in data analytics.  It’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for him. He didn’t have the job he wanted right after graduation, but he has been persistent.

Last week, when I went in to pick up something, Miguel had a big smile on his face. He had landed a job in data analytics with a firm in Jacksonville. From our conversation, it sounded like it involved forensic accounting/finance. He went on to note: “I really owe this success to my career coach, Denise. She really helped me do the kinds of things I needed to land a job like this. I start in January.”

These are the days it’s good to be dean. It’s great to hear from hardworking students, that they are accomplishing their dreams. It’s great to hear that our career coaches are making a difference and that our students are realizing the benefits of the resources we have here in the College.

It’s only one student story and it’s easy to forget at times like this that we have 9,000 more of them, but I’m sharing this story because I want there to be many more Miguels. He used the resources available to him, built a relationship with a career coach, took their advice and it paid off.

I’m going to miss our chats, Miguel. Charge On…

And Now for the Hard Part….

I was trying to come up with some witty story to illustrate why success on the job is more difficult to achieve than success as a student.  I failed.  But trust me.  It is.  There are a number of reasons: (1) The rules aren’t as clear as a syllabus.  (2) The tasks aren’t as well-defined.  (3) There isn’t always a right answer. (4) The feedback can be much less frequent. (5) Not everyone always wants you to succeed (i.e., the internal competition).  (6) Sometimes its about being in the right place at the right time. And (7) the ability for you to engage in self-delusion about your performance can be far greater.

Tuesday, we hold Careerfest to help you start to think through your transition from school to a successful career.  You can see the schedule of topics by clicking here.    Don’t assume that success as a student will immediately translate into success on the job.  As my first paragraph suggests, school is more about rule following and showing mastery of subject matter than the real world.  You need a different kind of street smarts to succeed in your chosen profession.  Alums are coming to help you out.  Come and learn how.


How Your Military Service Thanks You Back

UCF has about 2,000 students with military service, including this semester’s failure competition winner Kevin Velazquez. About 25 percent of our vets are women. Most of our Vets are in their 20s and 30s, having come to UCF after completing four to ten years of military service right after high school. This gap in their formal education might lead Vets to think that they are behind and at a disadvantage relative to their younger classmates.

But in reality, Vets are ahead. They have already acquired many of the mindsets and qualities we try to develop in our students here in the college that are important to employers including:

  • A mission mindset that defeats a fear of failure and opens a path to success.
  • Experience in adapting to new situations. Soldiers are required to react quickly and precisely to new information in fluid, high-pressure situations where lives are on the line. If this isn’t data-driven decision-making outside your comfort zone I don’t know what is.
  • Excellent, concise oral communication skills that conveys what people need to know to get the job done. The battlefield demands this.
  • A record of Integrity. Many veterans are trained to meet the highest standards when it comes to ethics, safety and other organizational imperatives. Some even have high level security clearances.
  • Experience working with people who are different from you. Vets usually have years of practical experience working with teams of diverse individuals, frequently in international settings—a distinct advantage in our globalizing economy.
  • Leadership. Military service creates individuals who work to earn the respect of others and understand how to bring people together to achieve common goals.

Oh, and a bias toward doing rather than being. It is in giving you these qualities and experiences that your military service thanks you back. Use them. Here at school and during your job search. They will continue to place you on a winning team.

Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service. Now, charge on.

Winner of our Failure Competition

Congrats to Kevin Velazquez for winning this semester’s failure competition.  Second place went to Sam Kotenko and third place to Petrice Cineus.    If you haven’t listened to their stories, you can hear them by clicking here.

Failure, by the way, is only “a thing” if you learn something from it……

Why I Didn’t Hire You

If you are graduating in December, there is a good chance you are interviewing for jobs right now. If you’re not, you have already landed a job, are going to graduate school or have a different priority.

For those of you seeking a job, you have a lot going for you. The unemployment rate is very low. Employers are coming to campus looking to hire, and we have given you many opportunities to build an impressive portfolio of experiences and skills that employers covet.

If you are getting interviews, but not landing the job you desire, you might need to reconsider how you are approaching your interview. To help you think this through, let me share the main reasons talented people don’t get hired by me…

1. The candidate thinks the interview is about them, but it’s really about me. I am looking to hire someone who can solve a problem we have. You need to be the solution to that problem. Talk about how your skills and experiences give you the ability to meet my needs.

2. You did not do your homework. You cannot adequately address my needs, if you don’t know who we are or what we are trying to accomplish. Also, if you didn’t prepare for something that is obviously important to your future– getting this job, why would I think you would change your behavior and exhibit greater care in carrying out your duties once you got the job?

3. You didn’t seem eager about the opportunity. I like to hire people with fire in their bellies… people who are motivated by the challenge I have for them. This fire is very easy to see. People who have it are fully engaged in conversation about the challenges and potential solutions that come with the position. They eat and sleep this stuff and believe in what we are trying to accomplish. If you don’t show this to me in the interview, I have no reason to believe it will show up later.

4. You had no questions for me. This leads me to think you need a job, any job. Jobs are what people have when they are looking for money to fuel their real interests– it is just a means to another, more important, end. I’m looking for people who want fulfilling careers, embrace our values, and see the opportunity we have as a way for them to progress in their careers. Such people usually have questions for me about the nature of the work.

5. I didn’t learn anything new about you in the interview. Chances are, you aren’t the only person I interviewed for this position. In my world, I usually interview three finalists. I am most likely to remember the person who surprised me by giving me an insight I didn’t expect. All else equal, that’s the person I’m going to hire.

Are all hiring officials like me? Frankly, yes. I run a big organization. When people interview with me, they have already passed through several rounds of interviews and have been judged to be technically prepared for the task at hand. That allows me to focus a little more on mindsets, motivation and cultural fit. But all hiring managers want people who do their homework and bring their managers solutions rather than problems. They want people who are “all in” and genuinely enjoy what they are doing. Bringing something new to the organization, only adds to the candidate’s appeal. If you want to get the job, be that candidate.

Is Failure Really a Thing? Listen and Vote

Listen to our failure finalists tell their stories by clicking: HERE.  You can also listen wherever you normally get your podcasts. The podcast episode (Is Failure Really a Thing?) will tell you how to vote for the winner. The poll will close Monday, October 28 at 5 p.m. Good Luck to our finalists.




A Celebration of How Faculty Impact Students

Friday we had an investiture for Dr. John Solow, as we officially made him the Kenneth White and James Xander Professor of Economics. But the day was really a celebration of the importance of the student-faculty relationship.

The faculty in this case are Ken White and Jim Xander. They were here when this place was still FTU. Ken still teaches down at our executive development center.

The student was Dr. Glenn Hubbard. You may have heard of him. Glenn is on the faculty at Columbia University. He is the dean emeritus of the Columbia Business School, former chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors under George W Bush, and current Chairman of the Board of Met Life. He and his wife Constance Pond donated a million dollars to fund the professorship. Rather than name it after themselves, they named it after the two faculty who helped Dr. Hubbard start his career in economics. Glenn said it was a debt he had to repay.

John Solow, in accepting the honor of holding the professorship, reflected on the importance of teaching and named several faculty who helped him along the way, including his own father Robert.

It was an affirming day to be a professor, reminding all of us of the impact we have on our students. As I’ve written before, every student should be able to answer the question: Whose student are you? And, respond with the person(s) who helped show them what was possible, gave them new ways to see the world and shaped who they are today. Thanks to Glenn Hubbard and Constance Pond, many future UCF students will be able to answer that question with John Solow.

Changes in Mindsets

We had over fifty entries to our Failure Competition this semester. There were several good entries and I want to congratulate everyone who was willing to put their failure out there for everyone to see. In this way, the competition is an exercise in getting out of your comfort zone.

The three finalists emphasized another common theme of the competition: the need to change your mindset. Failure hurts. It makes you question who you really are. It’s a bit like being hit with a board between your eyes. People want to avoid this kind of pain. So they tend to do some soul searching in an effort to avoid that same outcome in the future. Many resolve to see the world differently and this leads to different behaviors that then lead to greater success. You will hear from our Failure Competition Finalists in an upcoming podcast I won’t steal their thunder here.

But if you are new to the college and struggling or just having a tough semester, you might want to examine your mindset and ask whether it is serving you well: Are you focused on what you want to be, or what you want to do? Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth one ( google that)? Are you focused on grades or learning? Do you see your education as an expense ( to be minimized) or an investment (to be grown and yield a return)? Hint: the second choice in each question is the better one. Adopting them will result in you doing things differently and experiencing more success.