Summer Career Academy gives incoming students an early start on their professional development

August 09, 2017

Career Development Center Associate Director Adam Motenko, MBA'16, meets with a student in his office

Career Development Center Associate Director Adam Motenko, MBA'16, meets with a student in his office.

This summer, nearly 200 incoming Heller students are participating in the Summer Career Academy (SCA), which has been developed and delivered by the school's Career Development Center. Assistant Dean for Career Development Linnea Löf talked with Heller Communications about the program. 

What is the SCA, and how do incoming students participate?

The purpose of SCA is to begin providing students with the resources to help them manage their career so that by the time they graduate, they will have the skills they need to achieve a lifetime of professional success. The goals of the program are to: introduce incoming students to career staff and resources; provide tutorials on Handshake and LinkedIn; and introduce resume-building templates so students can create/revise their professional resume.

It is a four-week program sent via email to students with instructions for completing a set of tasks. These tasks include: self-assessments; customizing Handshake profiles; updating LinkedIn profiles; and other tasks to help students build their personal brand and explore career paths.

This year, 190 incoming students have received the program.

How many years have you been running the academy, and has it changed over that time in response to student feedback?

The Career Development Center introduced SCA in 2012 and each year we ask for student feedback to improve the program. Over time, the program has evolved to include more skills assessment and personal reflection exercises in addition to traditional tasks such as building their resumes and LinkedIn profiles (100 percent of students responding to a final survey last year found it helpful and would recommend the SCA to other students).

Why do you start career training before students have even started their academic experience at Heller?

Students have a lot of choices to make during their one or two-year program. The courses they choose, the networking they do, and understanding their resources are all crucial to a student’s success. Starting SCA prior to arrival helps students set career goals so they can choose the best courses, networks, and activities to reach those goals. We encourage students to focus concurrently on their careers while excelling in coursework.

In fact, our fall career course picks up right where the SCA leaves off, so students have ongoing career development opportunities.