Seth Godin is Coming to Welcome to the Majors

It’s going to be a special day in the College of Business Administration as Seth Godin is coming to speak to students at our Welcome to the Majors event on August 28th.  Don’t know Seth? Google him.  Or watch my favorite Seth video below:

If Seth can’t help you understand the importance of differentiating yourself in today’s world, I’m not sure who can…..

Rising Prospects

An improving economy and our emphasis on early job search activity is having a major impact on the immediate post-graduation experiences of our students.

Every semester we get survey responses from roughly 600 graduating seniors about their employment prospects. Comparing the results for the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters with the same two semesters for 2013/2014 (we don’t have the numbers for this summer yet) shows dramatic improvements in the percent of graduating students entering the workforce and securing employment. The percent of students who were either already employed or seeking work jumped from 75 to 84 percent. Eleven percent more students were either continuing in an existing job or had a job offer (62% vs. 51%) than the year before. Those staying in a job that they had already secured before school as well as those who had only a part-time job offer fell slightly (about 2%). So the entire gain in the post-graduation numbers came from students who reported they had secured a full-time offer of employment before graduation (31% vs 18% the year before).

For our career coaches, these numbers are early affirmation that their emphasis on internships and networking is working. For Lonny, it’s more than enough encouragement to continue his message about the importance of forming a career plan and putting it into action while the student is still in school. And despite being at this for only a year in our professional development courses, Lonny had the opportunity to deliver this message to many rising seniors this past year as they took his class to make up for core credit hour deficiencies they experienced as a result of our curriculum change.

Most importantly, these numbers tell students that having a job offer BEFORE they leave school is a very attainable goal. The number of students who are achieving this result is increasing and postponing your search until after graduation just means you will be shut out from more and more opportunities. If I were a slacker, I’d take that to heart, meet with my career coach and get busy.

Let’s see if working together we can drive the percent of students who graduate with a job in hand next year above 67%.

What Makes An Internship Credit-Worthy?

I frequently get inquiries from students who worked over the summer (or school year) wondering why they can’t get academic credit for their experiences after the fact. In other words, they worked for a company, learned some things along the way, and now want to apply for course credit. Some employers add to the confusion by calling these summer hires “interns”.

The short answer is that education and experience aren’t the same thing. So, we don’t treat them the same way. You only earn academic credit in the pursuit of education. Now for the longer answer…

One way to think about education is that it is preparation for eventual doing. The lessons we teach are based on the accumulation of knowledge over time and across settings and are meant to convey best practice and state-of-the-art thinking. College then “tests” your understanding of these things through activities designed to improve your critical thinking skills and apply that knowledge to specific settings. We believe this process will make you more successful upon graduation because you won’t waste time on trial and error methods and will have a clear framework for addressing problems and innovating where necessary.
Internships for credit are designed to be structured experiences that allow students to practice in areas where they are receiving preparation, get feedback on their current performance as practitioners from both employer and teacher and reflect on how this practical experience can be used to enhance their continued preparation. In essence, it is one way to test your ability to set knowledge into actions that produce desired results.

Simple work for pay does not guarantee any of these outcomes. That is not to say that work is devoid of learning and it certainly can be an excellent way of finding out whether a particular career path is the right one for you, but without guidance from faculty up-front, it is NOT a structured part of your preparation for doing later on. So we don’t provide post hoc credit for it any more than we would grant a degree to someone just because they have twenty years of experience, no matter how valuable that experience might be or how much an employer might be willing to pay for it.

So, if you want to earn credit for an internship, it is important to work with a faculty member early to identify the types of experiences and the sorts of reflective assignments you will want to do as part of the internship experience.  Done right, the internship can be great for both your future and the company that helps you along the way.

Our Failure Competition: The Summer Edition

At our 2014 Hall of Fame event, we featured a video of then Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley who is also CEO of Florida Hospital, Winter Park. The video starts out with Ken saying the following: “I came to UCF as a failure and left a success.” Ken had seen his dream to enter medical school dashed, but found his future at UCF. He has gone on to great things and now has doctors reporting to him! His achievements landed him in our Hall of Fame, a place where only 64 of our more than 50,000 alums have been recognized for their accomplishments.

Despite what helicopter parents think, everyone fails. It is part of life. A Knight should never fear failure. Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. Today, we begin the seventh installment of our Failure Competition. As in past semesters, I will be explaining the details of this semester’s competition to students in our Capstone Course. But we are adding two new twists to the competition this semester:

First, your failure story has to focus on a new experience, a time you stepped out of your comfort zone: the farther the better. Tell us why this was such a stretch for you, the failure that resulted and what you learned from the experience that would be of interest to others.

Second, in the past I have limited this competition to students in our capstone class, but this semester I am opening it to any student on campus: undergraduate, graduate or EMBA, business, education, engineering or whatever. The only requirement is that you currently be enrolled at UCF.

Here are the ground rules, complete with important deadlines:

1. To enter you must post your essay in response to this blog. If you are a capstone student this semester include your section number and name of your instructor. If you are not in this class, tell me your class standing ( e.g., freshman, senior, graduate student) and your field of study. You must complete this exercise by 5 pm on July 13th.

2. Instructors from the Capstone Course will then choose a winner from their section and explain why they chose the essay they did. A panel of College staff will choose no more than five finalists for me to consider from the rest of campus.

3. Those winning entries are then sent to me. I will select three  finalists by July 15 at 5 pm.

4. The finalists will be asked to submit short videos based on their essays. They must have those videos to me by Monday July 20 at 5 pm.

5. I will then feature one video each day on my blog  July 21-23 a vote taking place to determine the winner on Friday July 24th.

6. The winner will get a letter of recommendation from me along with a $500 prize. Second place will get $300, third place $200. These monies are awarded through our financial aid office.