Acquire Experience


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Acquire Experience

  1. 1. test your Strengths and interestsACQUISITIONEXPERIENCE in the World Duke students are renowned for being super-involved on and off of campus; filling their schedules with research, volunteer work, student organizations, creative endeavors, entrepreneurial ventures, studying abroad, internships. You name it, Duke students are doing it! With each experience you select, you are choosing to develop and utilize particular skills, work with or for certain people, function within a specific structure and environment, acquire particular kinds of knowledge, and grapple with particular problems. The Career Center recommends you examine each of your opportunities to better understand: What you want to learn or gain? How you want to challenge yourself? What you want to do more (or less) of? What curiosities do you want to satisfy? By looking at your array of choices with a critical eye, you will be well equipped to determine your next steps, whether your goal is to enhance current knowledge and skills or set forth in a newly-discovered direction. think differently about experience Once you have determined what you want to learn next by reflecting on your past experiences and future aspirations, there are many ways to pursue your immediate goals. Opportunities abound on campus and in the local community to develop specific knowledge and skills, to build relationships, and to generate further insight about who you are becoming. The key is to be discerning in your choices: the value of any given experience can only be measured in relation to YOUR unique goals and interests. The list below suggests some of the avenues for gaining experience. Keep in mind that no single club, project, or activity has a monopoly on the knowledge and skill development you seek! • Student organizations (active participation • Significant projects, in class or out and/or leadership) • Athletics • Community engagement and • Hobbies volunteering • Honors thesis • Research with a professor • Campus and national competitions • Independent research • Tutoring • Job shadowing • Military 18 18 • Entrepreneurial venture
  2. 2. Career Center advisors are eager to talk with youabout how these and other experiences may be theright fit for your personal priorities and interests. Internships 85% of Duke seniors Think of internships as a broad set of additional experiences that may complement your on- and off-campus activities and coursework or help you bridge gaps in your responding to a 2010 exploration, learning, and development. Internships are most often explicitly pre- survey reported having professional in nature and are one more tool for gaining self-insight, knowledge, had at least one internship and skills. before graduation. As with your other activities and courses, it is essential that you take a critical approach when pursuing and selecting from the range of internship choices. There is no objective measure for a good internship. The best internships are those that align with your unique values, skills, interests, and personality and that make sense given what else you have learned and experienced thus far. As you learn more and clarify your interests with each experience, your priorities and goals will likely change. Over time, you may choose to mix and match a variety of internship experiences along with your coursework and other experiences to best meet your needs and interests. Start Investigating Internships Don’t rule out an unpaid • Meet with a career counselor to clarify what you hope summer opportunity! There to learn from an internship and develop a personalized are many options if you act strategy—the earlier you begin the conversation, the early: Apply for competitive better! Continue periodic check-in meetings throughout your exploration and search. funding to cover your costs, • Request time to talk with members of your Board of stay close to home, take advisors for advice and perspective. Keep your advisors on a part-time, paid job up to date throughout your exploration and search. • Talk to other students about their internship experiences. alongside an internship, or build up your savings before Consider Professional Fellowships the summer begins. Though many students only associate “fellowships” with academic pursuits, professional fellowships are a great option for those seeking short-term work experience, training, and mentorship after graduation. These competitive opportunities—found throughout the world—are typically geared toward cultivating young leaders in various professional fields. As such, they can serve as a fantastic springboard for your career. For more information about post-graduate professional fellowships, make an appointment with a career counselor and explore from our website: http://www. For academic fellowships, e.g., Rhodes Scholars Program, the Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows at Duke and its website are excellent resources. 19
  3. 3. Next Steps and Selected Resources: Experience Acquisition Schedule a career counseling appointment to identify steps toward experiences that strategically align with your curiosities. Create an account and set up personalized searches in each of these Duke databases to become more aware of the options. erecruiting ( inet ( internship exchange ( Use dukelist ( to identify volunteer, research, and work opportunities at Duke. Attend a career fair. Look for leads and ideas using these consolidated lists: internship Series online ( internship feedback database ( feedback-database) e-leads ( Advice for Graduate Students: Experience Acquisition As a graduate student, it is crucial that you use opportunities provided by the university and your own ingenuity to get experience in organizations outside the university. Fulfilling the curricular requirements of your study program and earning an advanced credential will not be enough to convince many employers that you are qualified to assume positions with more responsibility than those offered to BA/BS graduates. Curricular requirements do not always satisfy employers for these reasons: Faculty search committees may want tenure-track candidates with more than one area of research expertise. Biotechnology firms may prefer candidates who can perform research and also demonstrate experience leading research teams. Liberal arts colleges will select faculty candidates who have designed their own courses and received excellent student evaluations. Government contractors may not only require security clearances, but will also favor applicants who have had relevant internship experience. Engineers who apply for jobs with smaller investment firms must demonstrate not only quantitative modeling skills, but also exposure to operations in one or more of the sub-fields of finance, such as risk management, derivatives pricing, or econometrics. Your challenge will be to find ways to apply your knowledge to actual problems encountered in the workplace at the same time you are pursuing your graduate degree. Gain experience outside the department, the laboratory, and the library through formal internship programs or by taking on projects you create for yourself. Your applied learning experiences will convince your first employer after graduate school that you have not used your graduate years to hide out, but to reach out.20
  4. 4. Making the Most ofthe experience BuffetPicture a delicious buffet with your favorite dishes as well as delicacies that youhave heard of but never had the opportunity to try. Food and drink from aroundthe globe, each prepared to perfection. How do you approach this buffet?Would you start at the beginning piling on everything that looks delicious as itpasses before you? But then you would be too full to enjoy your favorite dessertat the end. You could take only a tiny taste of a few things to keep your optionsopen, only to find yourself still hungry in the end. Perhaps you are alreadyimagining another, more strategic approach as you read.When it comes to the vast and tantalizing smorgasbord of experiences accessibleto Duke students, it is not difficult to understand why Dukies tend to behave likehungry diners piling their plates as high as possible. We also know that one ofthe reasons you were admitted to Duke was because of your diverse experiences, Photo: fazenwhich demonstrated that you were an intellectually curious and interesting person.You may deftly balance your overloaded plate, but are you getting the most enjoyment and benefit fromyour meal? Or is your palette overrun by all of the flavors and textures, unable to distinguish savoryfrom sweet, crisp from creamy? Do you conclude your meal feeling satiated or stuffed? Well nourishedor just full?Let’s go back to the buffet. What’s your best strategy?Scan your options. Based on what you know about your tastes and preferences, what must youhave? Do you see anything that hadn’t previously piqued your curiosity but does now? What dishes areavailable that you have not seen or heard of before now?Make your selections and enjoy. Choose a balance of nutritious and indulgent options, old favoritesand something new. Not too many selections on one plate—you can always go back for more! Tasteeach item on its own, then see how the flavors blend or complement each other. Enjoy slowly and savor.Assess your satisfaction. Are you still hungry? Was your anticipated favorite less tasty than you hadhoped? Leave it on the plate to save room to eat something else.Go back for more. You are even more prepared this time around. You know what you like andwhat you have yet to try. You have gotten feedback about the things that others have enjoyed. Yourpreferences are more specific and you are scanning for particular items that will satisfy you.Talk about the meal. After leaving the meal you are still talking about it. What did you like and why?Did you skip anything appealing because you were no longer hungry? Would something else havehelped round out the meal for you? Would you go back for more? If so, what would you have? Whatwould you pass over?Your career development process is like a buffet. It entails tasting and trying, learning what youlike and what you find unappealing, and even experiencing moments of hunger and excess. You are alsolearning how to satiate an appetite that changes with time, and how to get more out of your experienceby discussing and reflecting with others. 1717Bon appétit!