Economics department sponsors student career development program

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By Cody Louie | Published April 26, 2017

Twenty economics and business majors gathered in the North Avenue Building on March 16 to attend the first of a four-part career development workshop organized by the economics program coordinator, Dr. Moschos Scoullis. The workshop was available to economics and business majors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The goal of the workshop was to open the door for students to prepare them for their start in the field of economics.

“I can give them a gentle push to start in the development of their careers.” said Moschos. “However, once the door is open, the rest is up to the student.”

In addition to Dr. Scoullis, acting Dean of Liberal Arts, Dr. Jonathan Mercantini and Dr. Geofrey Mills, Associate Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration were in attendance and offered their words of wisdom.

Kean University graduate, Shah Choudhury, was the event speaker. Currently, he works for Morgan Stanley in its human resources (HR) department.

Choudhury opened with what he finds to be one the “trickiest question on the planet, [but] the easiest question to nail.”

Students and Faculty gather for a Career Development Workshop. Credit: Cody Louie

Dr. Scoullis introducing Mr Choudhury. Credit: Cody Louie

That question being: tell me about yourself. He further went in depth about how to respond correctly to it in an interview.

Most people who hear that question answer in context to their achievements and accolades that got them in that seat. But Choudhury made it a point to say that the answer should be formed into a non-transactional manner.

“It’s not what you say, it’s about how you say it,” said Choudhury. “Interviewers want to see potential hirees as people, not just employees.”

He stressed the importance of communication and the S.T.A.R. methodology. It serves as an acronym for: situation, task, action, and result. The method serves as a structure to help answer questions effectively.

What is the situation? What is the task at hand and how do we solve it? What action are we taking to fix it? What is the end result, do I have to try again?

While speaking about the importance of communication, he said that it is important to be personable in interview situations.

Choudhury said it is important, “to draw on real, personable, relatable stories in order to establish more of a connection with the person you’re talking to.”

Everything he spoke of dealt with communication, which even kicks back to when he first sees a resume. Choudhury related resumes to movie trailers and how to make and leave an impression.

Resumes should be tailored for each specific job that one applies to, HR individuals such as himself act as the first line of defense in the hiring process. In order for them to pass your resume on, their attention needs to be grabbed and kept within the first moments similar to what movie trailers do.

Students and Faculty gather for a Career Development Workshop. Credit: Cody Louie

Students engaging Mr. Choudhury with questions. Credit: Cody Louie

The first session acted as an overview for what’s to come in the following weeks. Sessions that are to follow deal with Leadership skills, resume building, and mock interviews.

“I wanted to gain better insight into the perspective of an HR person,” said senior economics major David Schneider, “what they’re looking for, what they like and don’t like.”

Schneider felt that the workshop would prove to be dry and boring yet he found Choudhury to be “electric” and learned a lot more than he thought he would about how to conduct himself in interviews and to put in the extra step ahead of others on a resume.

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