Only the Lawyers Cried

Homecoming Week is a busy one.  In addition to honoring Terry McNew at the Black & Gold Gala, we had our Dean’s Advisory Board Meeting, opened The Exchange and had a flurry of activity on Facebook.  As it turned out, all of these things became related.  Let me explain.

Part of our Dean’s Advisory Board meeting was spent interviewing 100 students.  Each board member had one-on-one conversations with four different students.  Each conversation started with the same question: Tell me what you want to do when you graduate from UCF and what you are doing now to make sure you accomplish your career goal.  After each ten minute conversation, our board member filled out an evaluation of how the conversation went with the student. When all the interviews were done, we tabulated the results and spent an hour talking about the experience.

The short story is that the students went 3 for 4.  Three out of four students had a career goal and could talk about what they were doing at UCF to prepare themselves for that future.  The fourth had a rougher go. The discussions that fell short ranged from vague to indifferent. Consistently going three for four in baseball gets you in the Hall of Fame.  Doing that in higher education earns you a “C”.

The very next day, one of our board members had the opportunity to do a similar exercise (i.e., mock interviews) with soon-to-be graduating law school students.  After her session with these students, she posted the following on Facebook:

Made two law students cry today doing mock interviews.  They are graduating in May and could not tell me what they wanted to do when they graduate. I reminded them that 3,190 students will graduate from law school in Florida this year and asked them why any employer would hire them over the other 3,188 if they can’t even tell me why the are “the one?”  I have been hanging out with Paul Jarley too much.

A flurry of comments followed.  I posted that the students cried because my advisory board member’s reminder told them what they feared they already knew.

That same day we were opening The Exchange in BA 1. There Terry McNew, the very alumnus we honored the night before at the Black &Gold Gala was telling students about his career journey to leadership at MasterCraft.  One hundred and twenty students chose to hear him speak rather than go to Spirit Splash.  They came with good questions and gained insight into how to become “the one”.  I’m betting our attendees won’t cry at their mock interviews.  The students even stuck around to take a picture with Terry.  We couldn’t fit them all in the frame, but it looked like this:

McNew Photo at Exchange

To join us in The Exchange and discuss something important to your future, click here.  Leave the crying to the lawyers.



7 thoughts on “Only the Lawyers Cried

  1. Jeff Lehman had the best description, the growth looked like a “hockey stick” laying on its side. Slow growth at first with a sharp increase toward the end. Proof that figuring out the rest of your life isn’t something you, “do on Tuesday” and certainly not something you put off until the end. It takes time and action!

  2. Branding yourself is just like branding a product. If you can’t explain what it is that sets your brand apart from competitors how on earth can you expect your customers (potential employers) to know?

  3. Maybe I’m the black sheep; I’ll have to respectfully disagree that there is a need to have a career goal in the traditional sense. We all seek success, but that’s a fuzzy state that would have gotten me a “C” in Cornerstone as a SMART Goal. From the finance program, those who wanted to join middle market shops where they could specialize in buy-side research within nine months of graduation are the ones still chasing that SMART Goal four years out of ugrad. They’ve taken positions out of necessity while they attempt to network their way through CFA Societies and LinkedIn into that goal career. So focused on defining their professional value through a fabricated measure of success, these alumni fail to realize the opportunities to make an impact and develop new skills that would pay dividends in their current role. The goal becomes the excuse. The goal becomes the reason to perpetuate mediocrity.

    Something not taught in the sterility of the classroom is the resounding need of young professionals to reject dogmatism and embrace the real options afforded in positions that are not directly aligned to their education. The ability to identify opportunity and to have the means to act upon it should be the message and exercise the College is supportive of, not “tell me what you want to do when you graduate.” I’m confident that Glenn Hubbard, Daniel Tosh, Lalita Booth, and Mr. McNew could agree that the execution is more important than the plan.

      • Very fair, Dean Jarley. I think the palindrome goes “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” My belief is that there is too much emphasis on planning for the sake of planning. The value is in the execution, and in doing some in a manner of flexibility

      • You are spot on in your insight about planning, maybe you should make reading Lewis Carroll a requirement. As a war planner in the military I always found Ike Eisenhower’s comment to help me keep a good perspective “Plans are useless but planning is invaluable.” Or as we would say after we published an OPORD (a type of military plan), once you release the plan, start working on MOD 1 (the first change) as it will not survive contact with reality. My first operations officer had us young “butter bars” put down our 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 year goals. I thought it was silly at the time, thank goodness we did that drill…it was invaluable.

  4. Anything we can do to help students make better choices and to recognize opportunities is worthy of exploration.

    This is one of the reasons I believe the Career Fest Dr. Jarley has twice a year is important. It allows the students to hear from various professionals and ask probing questions. The students also have an opportunity for mock interviews. Add this to the Exchange, Dean’s Speaker Series and a host of other activities which give the students the opportunity to develop the direction they want to move in.

    Life doesn’t come with a map. It is up to these students to make their own and the College of Business Administration is providing great opportunities to aid students in this development.

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