The Ithaca College School of Business kicked off a new extracurricular program for students this fall that may give them an even greater competitive edge when searching for jobs and internships.
The purpose of the initiative, called the Professions Program, is to build students’ professional skills and foster career preparation through a series of experiential workshops, Bethany Kilgore, professional development coordinator for the School of Business, said.
The program is geared toward business students, but students of other majors can attend the workshops, Kilgore said. Workshops vary by class rank and include topics like “Dress for Success” and “Finding and Utilizing Alumni Contacts.”
“[The program] lets students … work at certain points within their own college careers, from freshman all the way to senior year, at a developmentally appropriate time,” Kilgore said.
Junior Jake Tenenbaum, a Business Link student leader who was involved in the student input process during development of the Professions Program, said he looks forward to starting the program.
“It’s really helpful for students to have a resource to turn to and say, ‘You know, I’m not as involved as other students, but I really want a job. What can I do?’” he said. “So for the average student, it’s really nice to have that resource that you can turn to and get that advice.”
Kilgore said she worked with a similar program at Xavier University in Ohio before coming to the college this fall. She said students had to pay about $300 to attend the workshops, and the program was mandatory. Students at the college can go to the events for free.
But even with a $300 price attached to the program, Kilgore said, students reaped the benefits of the program. In the class of 2008, 95 percent of business students at Xavier University secured a job or were successfully enrolled in a graduate program within 90 days of graduation, according to Xavier University graduate reports.
Kilgore said she hopes the Professions Program will follow a similar trend at the college.
Mary Ellen Zuckerman, dean of the School of Business, said she is pleased to see the Professions Program coming to the college. Though the plans for the program were already in motion before Zuckerman began her post as dean of the School of Business in July, she said she immediately liked the idea when she heard about it last spring.
“The program is just an outstanding complementary piece to our excellent in-the-classroom education that the students are already getting,” she said. “It’s going to make them ready to get that internship and job, and also, once they’re there, to really be a step ahead in starting their careers.”