The Career Project

Bauer Faculty and Staff Conduct Study for Career Development

Published on May 16, 2023

C. T. Bauer College of Business Student Shakes Hand

Some students may enter business school with a declared major and a clear picture of where they would like to work after graduation. But it’s also common for incoming students to have only a vague sense of their career goals and aspirations, attending classes with hope their future will fall into place easily at an undefined later date.

Cognizant of the value of identifying and exploring career opportunities early in the educational process, faculty and administrators from the C. T. Bauer College of Business Department of Management & Leadership and Rockwell Career Center created “The Career Project: An Intervention to Facilitate Career Development.”

Associate Professor of Management & Leadership Dale Rude first identified many of the Project’s components more than 30 years ago and has included its exercises in the “Introduction to Management and Organizational Behavior” class he has taught for decades.

The project consists of a résumé assessment, the identification of short-term and long-term career goals, backup plans, personal strengths and selling points, conducting organizational research, an informational interview with someone in the student’s desired field, and a market assessment with a knowledgeable professional.

To test the efficacy of The Career Project, researchers included it in the curriculum of “Introduction to Management and Organizational Behavior” for approximately 400 Bauer College students. Another group of 400 students took the same class without The Career Project. Each group responded to a survey afterward.

“The results strongly demonstrate the effectiveness of the project for accomplishing career planning and job search goals,” the researchers write. “We also note the project can increase placement rates and salaries at graduation, which are major components of business school rankings and AACSB accreditation.

“Students who had completed the career project reported that they could better state their short-term and long-term goals and were more likely to have a backup career plan. They had better developed career-relevant stories and could better research a company or organization. In addition, they were more likely to have spoken with someone in their field and sought feedback regarding their career plans and credentials.”

“The career project helped me hone in on my credentials and experiences to see if my goals were in alignment with those. They were!” said Andrea Ibanez, a senior majoring in Finance and Sales.

Calvin Mai, a senior in Management Information Systems, said The Career Project helped broaden his perspective about what sort of professional life he wanted. “It helped me realize that there was much more meaning to a career than simply having a job.”

The Career Project research was published in the Southwestern Business Administration Journal. Authors are Rude, Instructional Associate Professor Marina Sebastijanovic, Assistant Dean for Career and Industry Engagement Jamie Belinne and Director of Career Counseling Troy Hopkins.