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Your future: Does that ring a bell?

Your future: Does that ring a bell?
July 01, 2017

Bring plenty of business cards, your elevator pitch, a firm handshake and a smile.

Jeremy Harris ’18 is a busy young man. A business administration major and a sprinter on the track and field team, he has already amassed an impressive resume, listing previous internships with R.M. Stark & Co. and Imex. He’s been working closely with Vandiver Center for Career Development since his first year at Queens, aiming for a banking career–or maybe one in utilities management.

Harris’s chances are good. Remarkably, post-graduate surveys and other data sources show that 97 percent of traditional Queens undergraduates from the class of 2015 are employed, in graduate school, completing an internship or working for a service organization

This kind of success in today’s market is impressive, and it doesn’t happen by accident.

Angela Tsuei-Strause came to Queens in 2013 as the Vandiver Center’s director, and the very intentional program she and her staff have developed is the opposite of accidental.

Consider just a few of the program’s components:

  • Required professional development courses and internships, part of the traditional undergraduate academic curriculum
  • Workshops for interviewing, resume writing, developing a LinkedIn profile, professional communication, company information sessions and on-site visits
  • Mock interviews with top organizations
  • Career Week in the fall, where students get a professional headshot and sharp business cards — personalized and printed on the spot.

“Bring plenty of business cards, your elevator pitch, a firm handshake and a smile,” says the notice for Schmoozapalooza posted on the Vandiver website. This professional networking event each spring gives students a chance to mix and mingle with employers from a variety of top organizations.

Tsuei-Strause considers the 30-minute mock interview to be one of the most powerful devices in the Center’s toolbox. First off, interviewers are volunteers from top organizations—sometimes a Queens alum. The kicker? It is video-recorded and played back to the student along with feedback from the interviewer.

“Mock interviews give students a real-world experience. They can learn so much from feedback and practice before taking part in an actual interview,” Tsuei-Strause says.

Jeremy Harris agrees. “It was great to ‘test drive’ my responses with a skilled interviewer and to hear constructive feedback in a low-stress environment,” he says. “It boosted my confidence and prepared me for my Bank of America interviews.”

Something worked: this summer, Jeremy is interning with Bank of America as an analyst.

About that bell. When students land their next step—like a job or grad school acceptance—they share the good news by ringing the bell that hangs in the Vandiver lobby. Odds are that Jeremy Harris will be ringing that bell sometime in the coming academic year.

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