Cori Nelson (second from right) speaks while other members of the Dean's Leadership Council look on.

Students get career advice from successful graduates

April 19, 2017 by Greg Katski

Students asked questions and took career advice from successful College of Arts, Sciences, and Business graduates at the Dean’s Leadership Council’s first-ever career panel and discussion.

Panel members fielded both submitted and spontaneous questions from a group of about 20 students. Questions ranged from how to prepare for the career fair to whether to attend graduate school or get a job to how to work as a member of a diverse team.

The event was moderated by Dr. Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of history and political science, and featured four members of the DLC – Ted Kelly, a 1977 economics graduate and principal at Burns & McDonnell; Pam Leitterman, a 1975 applied mathematics graduate who is retired from Hewitt-Packard Co.; Cori Nelson, a 2002 management systems and computer science graduate and project manager at Cerner; and Carl Schmitz, a 2010 information systems and technology graduate who is manager of IT Systems at Boeing.

Schmitz, who recruits S&T students for Boeing at the university’s biannual career fair, recommended that students do some advance research on any company they may be interested in, to demonstrate their preparedness and engagement to the recruiters. He also encouraged students to have a carefully prepared elevator pitch that they can use to highlight their qualifications.

Kelly noted that the decision to attend graduate school varies from person to person. Schmitz added that some of his friends who graduated during the 2008 recession decided to go to graduate school because job prospects were dim at the time. Leitterman advised students to “think about why you need an advanced degree,” before applying to graduate school.

Gragg and Dr. Stephen Roberts, vice provost and dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business, also chimed in during the discussion. Gragg mentioned that one specific hiring manager he talked to said that S&T students were well-prepared technically for the workforce, but that the university needs to do a better job of preparing students to work on diverse teams.

The DLC is a core group of alumni and friends dedicated to helping the vice provost and dean strengthen the growth of the college, transform the student experience, and improve the impact of faculty involvement. Council members provide support to the Dean’s Fund, which strengthens the impact of philanthropy at the college-wide level.  They also help identify philanthropic and professional development opportunities among their networks of alumni, corporations and friends of Missouri S&T, with the goal of benefiting both students and faculty.