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November 2010 Archives

Career Skills (BA3000)

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Hi everyone!  I'm Eric White and I'm a sophomore here at the Carlson School.  I'm here to tell you all a little more about a class called BA3000.  Now you may be wondering what BA3000 is, and that's a fair question.  BA3000 is a 1 credit class devoted to teaching Carlson students (generally sophomores) some very valuable career skills.  BA3000 is required for all students in Carlson (and for good reason!).  During the first day of one of my classes this term (where the class was made up of predominantly juniors), my professor asked "what's been the most practical class you've taken so far?"  One student said "probably BA3000" and his statement was met with many murmurs of agreement.  If I had to put a number on it, I would say about half of our class voted that BA3000 was the most practical class they'd taken to date, and that's saying something.

This career skills class exposes students to the many different resources around Carlson (and trust me, there are lots).  Everything students need to know about resumes, cover letters, recruiting, company research, networking, interviewing, and using The Edge (Carlson's online recruiting system used to get internships and full-time job offers) is covered in this class.  Assignments each week involve useful tasks that all students will eventually need to do, such as creating/refining their resume, conducting an informational interview with a professional, discovering how to use The Edge properly, and researching a company in preparation for an interview.  Another bonus is that BA3000 provides a safe environment to make mistakes and then learn from them without any major consequences (so those same mistakes won't cost you the job offer later on).

The instructors of BA3000 are all staff members at Carlson; they range from being Academic Advisors to Career Coaches to Faculty.  Your instructor for this class can really become a marvelous resource and ally.  My instructor's name is Sarah Oehler and she is a Career Coach at the Undergraduate Business Career Center in Hanson Hall.  I had been struggling earlier this year, trying to discover what major and career path fit best with my interests and personality.  I voiced this concern with Sarah and she gave me access to some career assessments and then asked me to schedule an appointment to go over the results with her.  She went through the results of my career assessments with me, helped me interpret them, and then, most importantly, gave me the next steps to take in discovering my career path and major.  Like I said before, your instructor for this class can be a great ally and source of knowledge for you when you are taking the steps to discover your future career.

In my opinion, the two most important assignments in this class are the Resume Assignment and the Edge Assignment.  The resume assignment is exactly what you think it is:  writing a resume!  Although this may seem simple, a resume is the first thing (and sometimes the only thing) that recruiters see of you when deciding whether or not to offer you an interview.  Sloppy resumes have cost many students offers throughout the years.  This assignment gives students the opportunity to look through examples of good and bad resumes, correct misconceptions about resumes, and create their own resume that looks nice and portrays themselves well.  I have many friends who came into college with resumes that looked like they were written in about 5 minutes.  After completing this assignment, their resumes now look clean, concise, and professional.  The other assignment I mentioned, The Edge Assignment, exposes students to one of the greatest tools they will encounter in their whole college career.  Carlson's online recruiting system (The Edge) provides an easy way for students to sign up for career-based events, get in contact with recruiters and alumni, and search and apply for internships and full-time jobs.  Almost all of the students I know who have gotten internships and full time job offers discovered and applied for the positions using The Edge.  Knowing how to use it properly is absolutely necessary when looking for internships and full-time jobs.

As you can see, BA3000 is a course that provides valuable tips and opportunities to all Carlson students.  Not only is it a fun class where you'll meet tons of new people, but it also provides practical knowledge that will benefit you throughout your 4 years at Carlson.

The Career Search

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After we've gone to all our classes, written all our papers, and presented all our projects, most students at Carlson are ready to hit the job market (or do more of the same in grad school like I'm planning to do!).  A place where many students start the search is the Undergraduate Business Career Center.  The UBCC and BA 3000, the career skills class which Eric will talk more about next week, can help you with anything you might need to start the job search, such as writing resumes and cover letters, improving your interviewing skills, and learning how to network at different events.  The UBCC also has career coaches ready to help students throughout the year.

Once you have all the skills, you can start contacting companies about the openings they have.  There are many ways to find out about job openings.  The easiest ways are to go to the career fairs in the fall and spring where hundreds of companies come on campus to hire students.  There is also an on-line job site specifically for Carlson students called The Edge.  You can search tons of jobs on The Edge and even sign up for interviews and send companies your resume.  Most of the interviews that you will have will also take place in the UBCC, so you don't even have to go off campus! 

With all of these great resources, trying to find your first "real job" does not have to be so scary, and for a lot of my friends it was even easier.  Many of them had internships during the summer before their senior year, and then the company they were working for offered them a job after they graduated!   So they can relax their senior knowing they already something lined up.  It's great to have all of the resources you need right in Carlson for both during college and after.

Laptop Program

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As you transition to your college life, one essential that people always seem to need is a laptop.  It affords you the opportunity to take your work on the go and have the ability to connect anywhere and everywhere you go.  There are also tons of options out there for laptops that have varying levels of service, features, and of course the coolness factor.  Carlson tries to make this purchase as easy as possible by having their own laptop program.

The laptop program is something that you can opt into (learn more about the program here).  I know that many of my classmates and I have decided to purchase a machine from the Carlson School, namely because of the four year warranty.  That warranty comes complete with a repair center right in the basement of Hanson Hall where all parts for the computer are stocked.  

My friend who also has the Carlson laptop was working on a paper that she needed to turn in later that day when she spilled the diet coke all over her keyboard. After freaking out and trying to clean it up off the computer, it became clear that the machine wasn't going to work.  She ran it down to the Hanson Hall Laptop Repair center where they were able to completely fix her computer in two hours flat and she was able to turn in her paper on time.  Not too shabby, eh? 

She saved herself the trouble of having to send the laptop out to get it repaired and paying extensively for the repair.  The turnaround time was so short compared to a retailer warranty center.  And best of all...her data was saved just in time.

The model is a business-class Lenovo ThinkPad that is used by almost all of corporate America.  After graduating, I know many students who continue to use their laptops in some facet of their professional careers because though the machine is four years old at that point, it still works perfectly.  The laptop is durable, reliable, and it comes with a warranty that can't be beat by anyone.