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Grantham University Career Booster
18 minutes | Jun 17, 2020
A Career Services Podcast About the College of Arts + Sciences: Part 3
Learn how to get involved in Grantham’s online campus through virtual student organizations like the American Criminal Justice Association and Political Science Commons. In this final episode of the College of Arts and Sciences podcast series, our panel also discusses important certifications Arts and Sciences graduates will likely need, and how to best prepare for them. Ready to take the next steps toward a new or improved career? Explore our degree programs or reach out to our Career Services team.
13 minutes | Jun 4, 2020
When Will I Use What I Learn in the Real World? (Podcast)
A Career Services Podcast About the College of Arts + Sciences: Part 2 In the second episode of the College of Arts and Sciences podcast series, the experts explain how each course is carefully designed to provide students with practical skills to make them workforce-ready. You’ll get a comprehensive answer to the cliché “When am I ever going to use this in the real world?” question and a crash course in the importance of general education classes. Ready to take the next steps toward a new or improved career? Explore our degree programs or reach out to our Career Services team.
15 minutes | May 21, 2020
Enhance your understanding of the world we live in. (Podcast)
Enhance your understanding of the world we live in. (Podcast) A Career Services Podcast About the College of Arts + Sciences: Part 1 Grantham University Career Services specialists and members of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty discuss the college’s wide variety of degree programs, which includes everything from computer forensic investigation to multidisciplinary studies. Learn about class sizes, the time commitment it takes to complete an Arts and Sciences degree, and earning credit for prior learning experiences. Ready to take the next steps toward a new or improved career? Explore our degree programs or reach out to our Career Services team.
12 minutes | Mar 18, 2020
Starting—or Restarting—Your Nursing Career (Podcast)
A Career Services Podcast About the School of Nursing + Allied Health: Part 2 Hear from Dr. Cheryl Rules, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health, about an upcoming initiative that will bring traditional on-campus student organizations to Grantham’s unique online format. Dr. Rules also shares helpful advice for students wanting to advance in their nursing careers, including the importance of earning a BSN and why going back to school won’t be as difficult as you think. And with one of the lowest tuition rates4 in the country, we make reaching your goals affordable. Ready to take the next steps toward your nursing or allied health career? Explore our degree programs or reach out to our Career Services team. collegecost.ed.gov/
17 minutes | Mar 4, 2020
Discovering Opportunity in the Healthcare Industry (Podcast)
A Career Services Podcast About the School of Nursing + Allied Health: Part 1 In the first episode of this podcast series, the Career Services team and Dr. Cheryl Rules, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health, discuss career management as a healthcare professional. Learn about different nursing and allied health education paths; how they translate to traditional clinical positions and new, informatics-based roles; and the types of personalities best suited for a career in healthcare. Ready to take the next steps toward your nursing or allied health career? Explore our degree programs or reach out to our Career Services team.
20 minutes | Feb 19, 2020
Career-Starting Tips in Engineering and Computer Science (Podcast)
At Grantham University, we believe in going the extra mile to help our graduates prepare for long-term career success. Our Career Services team met with Dr. Nancy Miller, dean and director of Grantham’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, to talk about the changes her college is making to ensure the education provided is relevant day-one in today’s workforce. One hundred years ago, people got around in Model Ts or street cars. Today, we’re ushering in an era of driverless cars. Back then, movies were silent. Today, we experience them in full color on hand-held devices using wireless headphones. Then, insulin and penicillin were new. Today, neuroscientists are developing prosthetics patients can control with their minds. Forget 100 years ago, the pace of technology is such that our world is a different place than it was just 10 years ago. What will the next 10 years bring? There’s a myth that says most of 2030’s jobs haven’t even been invented yet. Whether or not you believe it to be true, the fact remains, if you want to maintain relevancy in a tech career, you need the right education—one that provides the fundamentals and the thinking skills required to change with the times. How is the College Helping Students Prepare for Long-term Tech-Career Success? For one, Miller and her colleagues are taking a good long look at every program and every class. They are currently revising a number of existing courses and programs, as well as introducing several new ones. “We have some new courses in the works,” says Miller. “We have a systems engineering course, a three-credit hour course, available to any student as an elective. And it’s systems engineering, a great topic area, and very relevant to a lot of work, especially if you do work for the military, working on large systems.” A snapshot of the courses the college has been working on includes: Mobile application development for work on both android and IOS Programmable logic controllers Security of cyber-physical systems (i.e. how do you secure industrial control systems) Big Data New labs for security classes “We just re-did our course on circuit analysis,” says Miller. “It includes the platform that has videos already in it. It has problems that you work—there are no assignments in the course. You have weekly quizzes instead.” Practice assignments for the class come with a handy clickable icon that provides tips to help solve the problem. It will also provide the answer if the students are stuck, helping them learn where they went wrong and how to attack similar problems in the future. In addition to individual courses, Miller is hard at work on overall degree programs. “We’re also trying to reduce some of our master’s courses to really focus on information management, what that means today in terms of data analytics and really focusing on what information is, as well as what data is and how do you create information from data.” What about Offering Additional Career-Prep Certifications? The College of Engineering and Computer Science offers two certification opportunities directly in two of its courses: computer networks and network security. Both courses have been aligned to the certification provided by CompTIA and TestOut. “(CompTIA) is a very well-known certification group,” says Miller. “TestOut is less well known. Their tests are skills-based versus knowledge-based. As employers get familiar with it, it has the potential to be a more valuable certification, it shows you can do something, not just that you know something about something.” These classes offer practice exams for both certifications. Within the platform used for these classes, students have an opportunity to take the Network Pro or Security Pro exams—they can earn the certifications in the lab. And, if they fail, they can pay $40 to take it a second time. Taking these classes through the College is a lot less expensive than paying $1,500 to $2,000 for a week-long exam prep and testing bootcamp. Plus, students earn college credit toward a degree. Download Our Podcast Now that you’ve gained some insight into what’s happening in Grantham’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, take time out of your day to get the full story. Listen in as Miller shares additional insights into how to make yourself as career-relevant to employers today and for the future in our podcast.
17 minutes | Jan 30, 2020
Career-Starting Tips: Turning School Learnings and Experiences into Job-Ready Expertise Insights from a Career Services Podcast
At Grantham University, we believe in going the extra mile to help our graduates prepare for long-term career success. Recently, our Career Services team met with Dr. Nancy Miller, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, to talk about how the coursework her college offers translates into expertise students can use on the job. How relevant are classroom exercises to what I’ll encounter on the job? Does college coursework really translate into work experience? I want to be successful in a real-world tech career—can an online degree program actually help me do that? Good questions. Better than good. They demonstrate that, although a well-rounded education is valuable and necessary, being able to use that education to pursue career prosperity is more than essential—it’s the bottom line. Fortunately, with career-preparing simulations, virtual environments and lessons built on real issues that happen in the real world, online education has come a long way. Today, Nancy Miller, Dean of Grantham’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, shares her insights on how the University is helping students prepare for success in tech careers and beyond. How Does an Academic Education Translate into Real-world Application? “We tend to go to more hands-on experiences with our assignments and labs,” says Miller. “I think that’s really how it’s more real-world, we tried to have things that are a scaled-down version of something you might be doing at work. “We don’t want a paper on disaster-recovery plans. We want a disaster-recovery plan.” From simulations to virtual environments, the coursework in the Engineering and Computer Science college offers a number of work-relevant experiences. For example, coding. “There are starting to be some fairly decent web-based, browser type environments that you can work with for early coding,” says Miller. It’s a Balancing Act Ensuring students have the tools and the time needed to get the theoretical knowledge required by the class along with the hands-on experiences they’ll use on the job takes some doing, according to Miller: “We try to balance ease and access for the student, realizing at the same time what they are going to have to do in a work environment.” On the one hand, the school offers eight-week courses—fast paced to accommodate the lives and needs of students—and strives to provide students with the support needed to get complete and comprehend their coursework. Fortunately, Grantham University is a leading online educator and not merely a career college. Along with the hard skills students need for a career, Grantham gives students skills for life-long learning, critical thinking and communicating effectively. It’s a well-rounded education designed to do more than help graduates succeed in a job—it will set them up for success in life. Speaking of Careers, What Skills Should Students Develop to Make a Career Move? Often students will, through the Career Services department, provide resumes for review and evaluation that will land on Miller’s desk. It’s what she doesn’t see in those resumes that most concerns her. Experience, she shares, is the key—relevant, career-applicable experience. “I think you really need that,” she says. “If you’re doing programming, go find an organization that needs a mobile app or a better web site. Get on Fiber or Upwork. You may wind up doing these projects for practically nothing, but you’re building a portfolio. You’re building experience. And you talk to that in your resume: ‘Contract work: developed a mobile app.’” Certifications are another attention-grabber for recruiters. If the students have them, they should list them. And coursework at Grantham offers them. “We have certifications available in several courses,” says Miller. “Get those certifications. They’re free for you in the class. Get those certifications to add to your resume.” According to Miller, students might find transitioning into a tech career starts sooner than expected. Once they earn those certifications, they might be able to start pursuing job opportunities in those career fields, from network technicians on up. What Else Sets Grantham Apart from Similar Universities? In addition to certifications, Grantham is putting resources toward earning employer-appreciated accreditations. For example, the Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology is one of the few online programs anywhere to have earned programmatic accreditation from the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ABET). Programmatic accreditation—whether from ABET or some other prestigious nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring excellence in education—is testament to the academic rigor of a program. It shows students, industry professionals and potential employers that this degree is of the highest quality, and that graduates of the program are fully prepared to excel in the workforce. “There are only a couple of other universities that have ABET accreditation,” says Miller. “One has zero hands-on requirements for their online programming. In contrast, we have at least two courses with a hands-on component and we’re probably going to be rolling out some more of that.” “I think that’s our advantage,” says Miller, “we do have some hands-on component, and we have a substantial capstone experience. Those were the things that were impressive overall to the people that looked at us for the ABET accreditation.” Integrity is Key Part I—Don’t Cheat Every educator understands; students lead busy lives. It’s hard to fit in time to study with all the other responsibilities they take on. They feel they don’t have the time to look up the lectures or watch the videos, and they get stuck. So, rather than do the work themselves, they take a shortcut and cheat. In the end, it’s a huge risk to them and it’s a huge risk to the program. “Cheating is very serious to me,” Miller says. “Integrity is very serious to me. I consider it very important to me that our graduates graduate having done the work themselves. If they’ve done that, I know what they are capable of when they walk out the door.” If students haven’t been doing the work, that impacts more than job performance, it can damage the reputation of the university. And that can diminish the value of a Grantham University degree. “At the end of the day,” she adds, “it’s all about looking at this as a value. When we maintain the integrity of the student work, we maintain the value of the degree that you’re investing in.” Integrity is Key Part II—Don’t Allow Others to Cheat Her resolve can also extend to work done by students that somehow makes its way to Chegg, Course Hero or some other shared site that helps cheaters. “Your course work,” she says, “you are responsible for it and you are responsible for protecting it. My recommendation is that if you have stuff on Course Hero, you write them a letter and ask them to remove it.” In the meantime, Miller outlines plans to move more and more coursework toward timed exams with problems in the test bank that won’t be tied to Chegg. It will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge so Grantham test assessors can be reasonably certain the student is doing the work. “It’s important to the value of your degree,” says Miller. “We are not a diploma mill. I’m serious about this education. I’m serious about the value to you.” Integrity is Key Part III—Academic Support to Stop Cheating from Happening Sometimes the subject matter is hard. It’s tempting to take a shortcut. Instead, get help. “This is why I wanted embedded tutoring,” says Miller. “I wanted it where students can quickly get to a tutor.” The link to a live tutor can be easily found in the left navigation panel of the learning system. In addition to help from the school-provided tutor (or a private one, if necessary), Miller points out that online channels, such as Kahn Academy and YouTube, often offer helpful resources and can provide additional support. She also offers some advice on how to make the most of these resources: First, read the book. “Students often don’t read the book,” says Miller. “They don’t use the materials provided in the course and they come back with questions. It’s right there in that video, in that lecture, right there on (the) page in that text.” Be precise with your questions. “Ask yourself,” Miller adds, “what am I struggling with? Where am I having a problem? From there, I can create specific questions that I can send my instructor.” She says it’s difficult to address specific student needs if she only gets vague, non-detailed questions asking for assistance. “It takes time,” she continues, “but that’s what you have to sow to reap a solid knowledge of the field.” Download Our Podcast Speaking of time, take some time out of your day to listen in as Miller shares what Grantham’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is doing to preserve the integrity of your education while preparing you for the workplace.
19 minutes | Jan 17, 2020
Get a Head Start on Class to Get a Head Start on Life (Podcast)
At Grantham University, we believe in going the extra mile to help our graduates prepare for long-term career success. Recently, our Career Services team met with Nancy Miller, PhD, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, to discuss how the school is implementing processes to help students get the support they need to succeed academically and in the workplace. It’s no secret we live in the most scientifically advanced age the world has ever known. From the advent of self-driving cars to the supercomputers we call cell phones, technological marvels are a part of our everyday lives. In addition to helping make our lives easier, more enjoyable and more productive, these marvels give us something else: opportunity. As in, the opportunity to pursue a fulfilling career in a technical field. That’s where the Grantham University College of Engineering and Computer Science comes in. Its stated mission is to “prepare adult learners for careers in engineering, computer and information technologies.” And it’s a mission that the college’s dean, Dr. Nancy Miller, is determined to accomplish as she seeks out new ways to help students be successful in life and in their careers. And it all starts by giving them the support and help they need to be successful academically. An Online School Can Help Provide Real-world Technical Skills “We have a number of things,” says Miller, “that we’ve been implementing in the past year or two that I think really helps the students. For one, we continue to add more simulations and virtual environments for our students.” As courses are refined and developed, she plans to add even more simulations and to use more digital assets in the curriculum. She’s also looking into replacing some lectures with videos that show how problems can be worked. “I think that’s really going to give more of a hands-on component,” says Miller. “Even more than what we have already. I think that will be valuable for students.” In addition to digital videos, virtual environments and other assets, Miller also developed a technical support chain for students who struggle with software installations. The first links of the chain are made up of Student Advisors with more technical backgrounds who can triage the specific problem. From there, the issue can be escalated to Grantham’s internal IT support team. Miller has a little advice on how to streamline the process: “Make sure you let us know what your operating system is and send a screen shot.” Just-in-Time Help with Specific Course Materials Another process improvement Miller has recently added is a quicker way to get academic help. Just click on the helpful link in the left navigation panel of your learning system to access a live tutor. “This is something I’ve been talking about for a couple of years,” she says. “I call it ‘Embedded Tutoring.’ Some call it ‘Just-in-Time Tutoring.’ Either way, I wanted to have tutoring more accessible to students. Not having to go somewhere and click. It’s just right there.” In a nod to the scheduling needs of working adults, the school’s live tutor is available in the afternoons and evenings most days of the week: Monday and Tuesday, 5-10 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 6-10 p.m.; Friday, 7-10 p.m. and Saturday, 1-4 p.m.—all times CST. In addition to the live tutor, Miller wants students to know that Grantham’s faculty is also available to help, especially if there isn’t a tutor available through the link for the specific course they struggle in. “Tell your SA you would like some tutoring and ask them to contact me,” says Miller. “Sometimes we have some full-time faculty that can help out in more extreme cases.” You May Be Closer to Earning Your Degree than You Think Students can get credit for real-life experience using Grantham’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). With PLA, students are given the opportunity to gain college credit for work and life experiences. It’s a documented process where the student demonstrates they have met the objectives of the course. It’s a great way to move closer toward earning a degree, but it has to be thought through carefully and be very well documented. “It’s not just experience that you put down on a piece of paper,” says Miller. “We need to see those documents that demonstrate you’ve done these things.” It could also include getting a letter from supervisors who witnessed your expertise in the area under consideration. There is a caveat to the awarding of PLA credit, however. It takes more than just hands-on experience. It also takes a deeper understanding of the theories behind the practical skills. A student must understand why something works, not just that it does. “Sometimes we have people coming with some really good experience,” says Miller, “and while it’s really good, real hands-on experience, a lot of the theory is not really there. They don’t get that in their work. The course will be providing that theory that really substantiates and gives understanding to what they’re doing hands on. And so, in those cases, we can’t give credit for that because they haven’t had that theory.” Any Advice for Success in the College of Engineering and Computer Science? “There are two things to being successful,” says Miller, “stability in your life and a solid schedule that you stick with.” Students whose lives are in upheaval—sick parent, child with a medical emergency, natural disasters—their focus is not on their schoolwork. This might not be the time to pursue a degree. “I think timing for school is very important,” says Miller. “In general, having some stability is very important.” The other thing is having a schedule. “One gentleman I know,” Miller continues, “every single term, he mapped out the hours that he was going to get work done. And not just school work. It was this reading, this assignment, this lab. That’s the key. I think those two aspects, stability and schedule, are so critical.” Download Our Podcast Take some time out of your day to listen in as we explore what Grantham’s College of Engineering and Computer Science to improve the online learning process to help you pursue real-world technical career opportunities.
37 minutes | Dec 5, 2019
An Interview with Dr. Mike Edwards, Trainer for Homeland Security (Podcast)
At Grantham University, we believe in going the extra mile to help you prepare for a successful job search. Recently, Jeremy Bell, Grantham University’s Associate Director of Talent Development and Career Services, was joined by Dr. Mike Edwards from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, in a discussion of the Pathways program, USA Jobs and the various opportunities available to everyone interested in pursuing a federal position. Dr. Mike Edwards, trainer for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, spent the first 23 years of his career in the U.S. Army. “I started the first half of my Army career in tanks,” says Edwards. “Abrams, Bradley, Striker, name it, I’ve ridden in one.” He’d spend the second half of his Army service working as a sub-Sahara, Africa foreign area specialist before retiring to be an instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Kansas. From there, he’d go on to more government work as a trainer in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department. It’s a journey that has given him unique insight into how to apply for and win jobs in government. Opportunities Abound “There are many different opportunities to find employment in the federal government,” says Edwards. “But there are two things I want to make clear,” he continues in regard to the Pathways program and other routes to federal work. “First, for veterans, this is not a job guarantee, this is just getting your name closer to the hiring authority.” And second, these programs offer civilians many of the same opportunities—even in the face of their disbelief. “I get a lot of pushback from civilians,” says Edwards. “They say ‘Oh, I’m not going to apply for those jobs. It’s all veterans getting the jobs anyway.’ That’s not true.” As Grantham’s own Associate Director of Talent Development and Career Services, Jeremy Bell preaches, “Skills still count.” “As long as you have the skills on your resume that match up with the job description,” says Edwards, “you have a chance.” These programs are designed to get qualified applicants in front of hiring professionals. But as with veterans, just getting your resume in front of a reviewer doesn’t mean you’re going to get the job. Or even an interview. What it does is put you in contention. That said, if you are a veteran and have access to hiring authorities like the Veteran’s Recruitment Appointment (VRA) or programs that recognize Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA), then you should use them. Resources for Veterans “Veteran’s Recruitment Appointment, VEOA, 30% or More Disabled Veteran Appointment,” says Edwards, “those are all things that if you are eligible for them, you should try for them.” Edwards describes one recent success story that happened using VRA. In his district, more than 200 federal employees are spread throughout the Midwest – the largest office he serves has about 50 people. Smaller, one-person offices are spread out in different cities. He is constantly looking to find qualified candidates in hard-to-fill locations. A couple of candidates used VRA to get in front of the hiring manager. “Our hiring manager looked at these resumes,” says Edwards, “the skills matched. They’re VRA. They’re veterans. They are eligible. Let’s see if we can get these guys.” That wouldn’t have happened if the candidates hadn’t applied under the VRA, getting their resumes in front of the hiring manager. His point: If you’re eligible for it, try it. Just remember it’s not a job guarantee. Resources for Non-veterans Likewise, for non-veterans, there are opportunities to make their case for a job, including Schedule A and Pathways Internships. Edwards knows of one person who used Schedule A to participate in the competitive appointment process: “He came in, non-veteran, went through school with a documented learning disability. That got him into the agency. Then he was able to compete for a competitive appointment once he was inside the agency.” The Pathways Program offers another path for non-veterans to compete for government job postings. In Edwards’ agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, he mostly sees Pathways applicants in four areas: internships, recent grads, Boren Scholarship and the Summer Enrichment Program. Internships give him the ability to get qualified candidates into hard-to-fill offices, giving them real work experience and real opportunities. The track for recent graduates provides similar opportunities. “Every year,” says Edwards, “we have about 200 part-time jobs. And most of those are internships. It’s a way to get people in the door.” Boren Scholarships are designed as temporary positions and are not intended for full-time, long-term work. He admits that a number of them do convert to other long-term positions with the agency. As for the Summer Enrichment Program? “It’s big in the D.C. area. A lot of them, again, have the opportunity to convert those temporary jobs into a full-time government position.” “What is the average length of these programs?” asks Bell. “Each one is different,” says Edwards. “Summer are only there for the summer. But most of them are traditionally a year. How to Know if You’re Right for the Job “Look on USA Jobs,” says Edwards. “That really gives you a lot of what you need to know about that particular job. Pay attention to what’s listed under USA Jobs. If it’s eligible for internships or a Pathway’s program, it will be listed under there.” As a bonus, for those areas featuring high-turnover, such as Baltimore, New York or L.A., many times a full-time job will be listed also as an internship, giving those candidates coming through Pathways or a veteran authority access to an opportunity to turn short-term work into a long-term career. “It’s a way to get someone in the door and start getting someone trained to get the position,” says Edwards. “USA Jobs is a great resource,” says Bell, “but you need to read the job description carefully. They look for very specific information. You need to make sure your resume matches up to get any interest.” Edwards agrees: “Within my agency, I get a stack of resumes to grade. I go from 1-to-10, and grade how closely it relates to the job.” Too often, what he sees is a generic resume that has nothing to do with the position listed on USA Jobs. And the shame of it, USA Jobs tells you exactly what they want. “That’s what I love about federal opportunities,” says Bell, “especially USA Jobs. Unlike most civilian positions, they do a good job of listing what the requirements are, the education you need, the experience and the skills required.” Never Turn in a Generic—or Indecipherable—Resume “You never want to send a generic resume to anyone,” continues Bell. “Whether it’s government or corporate, you always want to tailor that resume to the job opportunity. If you don’t speak specifically to those opportunities, Dr. Edwards may never see it.” “I review a lot of resumes from employees who want my opinion,” says Edwards, “and the thing that bothers me, especially from my military brethren, is how opaque a resume can be.” For example, he’s seen instances where the candidate wrote out, “I was the ‘observer-controller for the MCTP for two years.’ It’s very specific and sounds great, but unless you’ve been in the military, you may have no clue what that means or even if it applies. “I have to tell them,” says Edwards, “that they have to break it down to the closest civilian equivalent so they can identify the skills you actually used as an observer-controller to help you get that job.” His best advice is to find a civilian friend—someone without military experience, someone who doesn’t know an MOS from a FOB—and explain to that person what it is you do. If they don’t understand your explanation, you need to clarify. “If they don’t understand it,” says Edwards, “the HR rep probably won’t either.” Last Thoughts If you’re considering pursuing a federal job, Edward has one last piece of advice: “Try it,” he says. “The worst they can do is say no. USA Jobs listings tell you everything. Call them if you have question. Get on there. Look through it. Veteran hiring authority. Student process. Internships. Put in your name. Who knows? You may be eligible. You may get a call.” Download Our Podcast Now that you’ve gained some insight into what it takes to pursue and win a federal job—from internships to full-time positions, whether it’s via veteran or non-veteran resources—take some time out of your day to listen to the full podcast discussion between Bell and Edwards.
14 minutes | Nov 29, 2019
Career-Starting Tips: What’s Happening in Grantham’s School of Business? (Podcast)
At Grantham University, we believe in going the extra mile to help you prepare for a successful job search. Recently, our Career Services team met with Grantham’s Dean of the Mark Skousen School of Business, Dr. David Marker, to discuss what changes are happening in the school to help students excel as business professionals down the line. What are you doing to improve your prospects? Climb the corporate ladder? Move on down your career path? Whatever term you use to describe your professional promotability or ability to transition into a different job with more responsibilities and rewards, what are you doing to get there? Pursuing a degree from an accredited, respected business school is a great first step. Enrolling in a school that’s as serious about your success as you are—in and out of the classroom—is even better. Earning it at Grantham University, where they are constantly refining programs to meet the demands of today’s business best-practices will ensure you’re ready to meet the needs of today’s business environment. “We get this question a lot,” says Doug Dimler, Career Services Coordinator. “What skills should a student be developing in the workplace to assist them with their next career move after they earn a degree? Or even while they are still taking classes?” What Do Employers Want from Employees? “I’ve talked with a lot of employers about what our students need and what many students lack,” says Marker. “It comes down to two things. First, employers are looking for students who know how to look at an environment and determine what the problem is.” More than just a business skill, problem-solving is a vital life skill. Figure out how to get to the root of that problem, gather relevant data, organize the data, analyze the data and then, most importantly, come up with a solution. “A problem without a proposed solution is just a pain,” says Marker. “That just makes people angry.” What Else Are Employers Looking For? “The second thing,” says Marker, “which is a part of this, is a trait: you have to be curious.” But it’s not like being a three-year-old and asking ‘why?’ all the time. “Again,” says Marker, “you’re just making people angry.” In business, companies want professionals who are curious. They’re looking for employees who see a process and want to know why it’s done that way, or how their actions impact another department, or any number of things in their company and around the industry. They want people who wonder why something exists the way it does. They want employees who ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ “On my way to this very meeting,” says Marker, “I got pulled into an office with the question, ‘why does this thing exist in this particular way?’ And my answer was, and I chuckled, because it’s historical. There’s no other reason.” If someone isn’t curious, the question never gets asked. If the question never gets asked, problems remain hidden. If problems stay hidden, solutions aren’t proposed, and opportunities to run the business more efficiently, more profitably for all are lost. “I’ve asked this question before, myself,” says Marker, “but I hadn’t been pushy enough to get to the answer. When somebody asked me why it existed and the only response I can give is: because it was that way when I came here – It’s not a very satisfying answer.” “It’s because I said so,” says Jeromey Bell, Associate Director of Talent Development and Career Services. “Well,” says Marker, “that’s essentially what it was. A former provost said that’s the way it is, the way something should be. And we all just said ok. And I’m sure there are reasons why that person said it should be that way, we just don’t know what they were.” The point is, curiosity, channeled curiosity, is irreplaceable in an organization. You can make yourself incredibly important to your company by just wondering why it is something exists the way it does and then—and this is key—pursuing it. Two Final Thoughts “If you were to offer any words of wisdom to those considering a degree in business,” says Bell, “what would you say?” ‘Two major themes,” says Marker. “One, keep yourself open. Open up all of your senses. Don’t keep your head down. Walk with your head up. Walk with your senses open. When you walk in the halls of your organization, or wherever you are, keep your head up. “And two, be curious about the environment where you are operating.” Being open and being curious: These two things will help you at each stage of your education and at every stop along your career path. Incorporate these traits into your coursework. Make them a part of your daily life. Honestly, they’ll help you go far. Download Our Podcast Now that you’ve gained some insight into what’s happening in Grantham’s school of business and what employers are looking for in a business professional, take some time out of your day to listen in as Marker, Bell and Dimler continue to explore the many advantages of a business education at Grantham University.
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