MEMP Students Get Head Start on Career Development

October 3, 2006

Students in the Masters of Engineering Management Program (MEMP) are getting a head start in their career development through a series of workshops led in part by Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), the world's leading career services company.

Before classes even started, the students were introduced to the program in an intensive two-day orientation. The new career development program was developed over several months by MEMP student and Program Development Committee member Jon Reifschneider, in conjunction with MEM faculty and LHH.

"The program takes a project management approach to career development and job searches—perfect for engineering students," said MEMP director Jeff Glass.

This year's 107 incoming and returning students – including citizens of India, China, Singapore, Panama, Russia and several other countries – were required to create or update their resumes and submit them for review prior to their arrival at orientation. They also completed a self assessment to reflect on personal career objectives as they relate to their individual identities and values.

"The purpose of this phase is to establish your professional objective, which is the end goal for your entire career search effort," students were told in an introductory letter. "It is a concise statement describing what type of work you are looking for. This statement will give direction to your search and set the tone for your resume, cover letters, interviews and all other communication you will have during this process."

The first day of orientation included an introduction to MEMP followed by Myers Briggs personality testing and team-building exercises. Students also had the opportunity to network with several MEMP alums and friends of the program. On the following day, LHH representatives led the students through sessions on "how to create an effective accomplishment-based resume and communications strategy," job search strategies and the interview process.

Afternoon sessions offered advice to students on how to best leverage their MEMP education with potential employers and a primer on Duke's career resources available through the Duke Career Center. The day wrapped up with a resume evaluation session, mock interviews, and a surprise visit from Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen, who spoke about the importance of having a global perspective.

Future career workshops under development will provide more in depth focus on interviewing skills, networking and negotiating and evaluating job offers, among other key topics. Students will also have the opportunity for one-on-one coaching and counseling from LHH representatives.

An upcoming networking seminar and dinner will bring another 20 to 30 MEMP alums and friends to Duke. A new mentoring program, which will pair MEMP students with an alum or other industry affiliate, is in the planning stages, Glass said.