Monday, February 17, 2014

Becoming a Student Again

Has it been several years since you obtained your undergraduate degree?  Are you in the process of changing careers?  Do you have a family and will be working part-time or full-time while you're working towards your degree?  Are you nervous about making the leap or keeping up with school work after being away from school for so long?  If so, you may have heard the term non-traditional student.  It may seem daunting, but it wasn't so long ago that I was in the same position.   Many students at UMSI follow a non-traditional path and have been able to complete the program and find successful (and satisfying) job opportunities post-graduation. 

I applied to UMSI after working for five years in architectural design (not to be confused with information architecture!)  I felt something missing in my career choice and decided to take a chance and pursue a career I was more passionate about.  I was wondered if the last five years of my life was all a waste and if I would be able to start over and be successful in school.  I may only be in my second semester of school but coming to UMSI has opened more doors than I could have ever dreamed of.  I now know that going to UMSI was the best decision I could have made both personally and professionally. 

Knowledge Transfer
Many of the classes at UMSI are project based and require working closely with teams.  My professional work experience has only helped me become a better student, providing me with additional insight and being able to manage tasks and group projects more efficiently and effectively. Teams consists of students from all different backgrounds and experience levels.  One of the strengths at UMSI is its diversity.  By working with students of with different backgrounds, students are able to share their strengths and learn from each other. 

The classes as UMSI are typically in three hour blocks as to allow students to continue working part-time or even full-time while taking courses.  In fact, almost all UMSI students work part-time while they are students.  The flexibility of the program also makes it easier for parents to coordinate their schoolwork with their families.  Part-time students are able to complete the program within 3-4 years compared to the full-time 2 year program.  Evening courses are available; however, you will need some flexibility from your employer as not all classes are available during evening hours. 

Career Development
UMSI has amazing career development staff who are there to help you craft your resume to make sure that you are able transfer your previous experience as you're beginning your new career.  They are able to advise you on which classes to take based on your interests and connect you with alumni and potential employers.  The career development office offers a series of  workshops and events throughout the semester to help students find internships, create and design portfolios, and ways to best present yourself to potential employers.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Career Development at UMSI

Last year around this time, Joanna Kroll, UMSI's Director of Career Development wrote about how career development at UMSI contributes to student success.  Below is a re-post of her letter, including a link to our 2013 Employment Report.

In the report you'll find data on our graduates - where they work, how many are employed or continuing their graduate education (99%!), and much more.  Career development is not an afterthought for UMSI, it's an integrated part of the program.  For more information, read Joanna's letter, check out the report, and the careers portion of our website.
UMSI places a high priority on your career success. The UMSI Career Development Office will work to foster a positive career development experience for you, from your first day at SI through graduation, and beyond. Our goal is to guide you in building a career development skill set that will help you succeed for a lifetime.

Our Careers team works closely with you in assessing your career interests, exploring career options, and developing effective job search strategies for securing internships and full-time positions through individual career counseling sessions, professional development workshops, employer/alumni panels and networking events. It is our goal to not only help you secure internships and jobs, but to help direct you to the career pathway that is the best fit in terms of your values, beliefs, strengths and goals.  We will help you connect with a broad range of employers through job postings, arranging resume collections and on-campus recruiting, connecting  with alumni across fields, and actively engaging in outreach to employers in the U.S. and abroad!

As a UMSI graduate you will find awesome and diverse career opportunities available to you.  Our graduates are in high demand with top organizations across the U.S. and abroad.  From major software firms such as Microsoft, Apple, and IBM; to national libraries and archives such as the National Library of Medicine and the National Archives and Records Administration; to eBusiness  firms such as Google, Amazon and EBay; to social media companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn; our graduates are recruited by companies and corporations from small to large in a wide range of industries.

UMSI graduates are working as digital media archivists for some of the world's leading creators of entertainment content; as a chief information officer for an international nonprofit organization; as an associate fellow for the world's largest medical library; as an information protection advisor for one of the largest professional services companies in the world;  as an emerging technologies librarian for one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, to a user experience designer for the world's largest search engine.  For a more comprehensive look into the careers of UMSI graduates, check out our most recent employment report.

Joanna Kroll
Director of Career Development
University of Michigan School of Information

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Student Events

When I first started at UMSI, I was amazed by the number of interesting events on campus.  It's easy to fill up your schedule attending seminars, workshops, career fairs, expos, and service days on and around campus.  These past few weeks have been packed with career related events to help students find their summer internships!  This week, we asked students about their experiences attending a few of these events. 

  • MPowered STARTUP Career Fair
  • "I was excited to learn that there was a career fair targeted to smaller companies.  This career fair was a wonderful opportunity to talk to new and emerging companies and how I could potentially fit within these organizations." - Joyce, First year student
  • "One thing I enjoyed about the start-up career fair is while professionalism is still important, it's also a more relaxed atmosphere than a typical career fair. Your personality becomes much more of an asset here than it would be at a typical career fair, and the interdisciplinary nature of SI helps us have a broad set of skills that could be more appealing for startups that need people that can cover a breadth of roles." - Stephen, First year student

  • UMSI Service Day 
  • "I volunteered at the university radio station looking for mold on turntable records. Removing these records prevents it from spreading to the entire record book.  It was a fun way to give back to the community.  I learned a lot about the music records and turntables. - Xi, First year student
  • [International Students] Michigan's Global Future Conference 
  • "Michigan's Global Future Conference provided me tips and resources for seeking an internship as an international student. It certainly boosted my confidence." - Zuo, First year student
  • "It was a great way to network with some of the amazing companies around AA. I felt more motivated after learning about the support for international students by MI companies." - Xi, First year student
  • Winter Career Expo 
  • "The winter career expo even has a list that indicates companies that are international student friendly, and it was a great opportunity to present myself to a variety of employers. " - Zuo, First year student