Major Decisions: Discovering Your Path at Michigan

July 16, 2012

“Is there a ‘test’ I can take to help prepare me for my future Michigan experience?”

a signpost pointing to various cities

The Career Center Presents:

Major Decisions: Discovering Your Path at Michigan 

Take the Strong Interest Inventory® Career Assessment TODAY and explore your future opportunities through learning about YOU!

The Strong Interest Inventory® (SII) is a widely respected career interest inventory designed to help people find a fit between their personalities and work. It compares your interests and preferences to the interests of people who have been happy and satisfied in their careers. The results from the SII identify careers that best fit a person’s interests.

The SII results will be used to guide meaningful conversation, providing a space for students to engage in intentional reflection and learn effective decision making strategies geared towards academic and career related choices. Within this 1.5 hour session, we will help you identify majors, student organizations, and activities at Michigan that will help in the exploration of your personal interests and career possibilities.

Session will include:

  • Career Assessment Test and Group Interpretation
  • Reflection Exercises With Fellow Prospective Students
  • Valuable Career and Concentration Resources
  • Ongoing Support Through a Career Coach and the Career Center

Session cost: $20.00

**This program is not part of orientation and should not be scheduled while students are attending mandatory orientation sessions**

Dates are from August 27 to August 31 2012.

Visit to register.

Photo Credit: will ockenden / CC BY 2.0

Chicago Finance and Trading Immersion Excursion

July 12, 2012

Want to get a jump start on Fall recruiting?
Thinking about a career in Finance and Trading?
Interested in working in Chicago?

Join The Career Center in Chicago on the Finance and Trading Immersion Excursion!

This unique event offers students an insider’s look into finance and trading careers through the eyes of two different organizations. BP (for more info on BP, take a look at this guest post from two UM students who interned there) and PEAK6 (proprietary trading) have generously opened their doors to University of Michigan students to learn more about their organizations, potential opportunities, and what a typical “day in the life” looks like at their Chicago offices. Tour their trading floor, meet representatives from both organizations, and discover if trading is the right fit for you.

On Friday August 10, Career Center staff will guide participants through an on-site visit. This is an all day event and students must be present in Chicago the day of the event to participate.  Travel arrangements are the responsibility of the student. If you have concerns about these arrangements, please contact Geni Harclerode at The Career Center ( The event will begin at 9am and conclude at approximately 4pm, (central time).

Interested students must apply via the posting in their Career Center Connector account (Job ID: 25348)

Applicants will be notified of their status following the July 15 deadline.

Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Intern Insights: “Start Small,” and other advice on finding the right internship

July 5, 2012

This summer we’ll be sharing ‘Intern Insights,’ a series of guest posts all about internships, from students enrolled in UC 225. Today’s post from Katie Trucco, an English major interning in Chicago, offers some great advice from her own experience on how to approach your internship search. Thanks Katie! For more insights, be sure to check out other posts in the Intern Insights series.

photo of katie truccoIt goes without saying that the search for a worthwhile, interesting internship is a long and sometimes frustrating one. Students spend hours on the internet, filing through job search engines and different career pages, hoping there is a position that fits their professional interests. I know I spent many nights delving into whatever information I came across, even just the results of a simple Google search like “Chicago Public Relations Firms.” While the actual application process is heavily focused on detail, I learned that the beginning of a search should be broad. To find opportunities to submit carefully crafted cover letters and refined resumes begins with a open-minded hunt for the right position.

I grew up just outside of Chicago, and I wanted to experience the city in a different way by working somewhere within the city limits. Along with that criteria, I knew I wanted to find an internship in public relations or marketing. I’ve always been interested in finding a way to spark interest among a group of people, and I enjoy brainstorming with others to generate positive energy. After looking for many months for a position fulfilling my personal criteria, I was finally offered a position at a public relations firm specializing in theater and hospitality. I’m not necessarily a theater buff, and I can really only name a handful of hotels in the city, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to work in an unfamiliar field, all while gaining skills and proficiency in public relations and marketing.

While conducting my search, my dad always reminded me that sometimes, you have to “start small.” Often, the term ‘internship’ paints images in our heads of brewing coffee, taking meeting minutes, and performing other menial jobs. These are not acquired skills, but rather small tasks. Many times, this might be what “starting small” means. You meet a few people, hope you make a good impression, and cross your fingers that they remember you as the guy who refilled the copy machine toner every once in awhile, and now you’re looking for a job post-graduation. This summer, I have learned that “starting small” is just the opposite. The company I’m interning at does not employ hundreds of people, but rather a small but powerful ten. Smaller firms work in an intern’s favor, as I’ve learned from my own experience. My fellow interns and I often say that sometimes we feel like associates because of how involved we are in the day-to-day business. We sit in on every conference call, reach out to every client, attend every opening night of the current play we work to promote, and craft promotional events just like the full-time employees do. I know that my experience at a smaller firm will serve me so well in the future, because I’ve built a set of professional skills and confidence that I don’t think I would have at a larger firm.

Before you begin your search, talk to someone in the field. This past winter, I met with a girl who grew up in my neighborhood who now works at a major PR firm in Chicago. I had applied for an internship position at that company, and was definitely interested in an opportunity there, but I really found that just picking her brain about what she does everyday was the most worthwhile form of networking. Over lunch, she told me what she did to build her resume, how she prepared for interviews, and what she plans to do in the next few years. It really helped me form my own career plans when I heard what someone else’s were. We still keep in touch every once in awhile to talk about what we’re doing. I have found that it invaluable to have a resource like this, just to even to simply bounce questions off of and help organize my career plans.

A concern among many students looking for internships is the issue of paid vs. unpaid. I am lucky enough that I can live at home and don’t have to factor in certain expenses like rent and groceries, for the time being. But not everyone is lucky enough to have their mom making dinner for them, or being able to grab a ride home with their dad from the city. My internship is unpaid, which is a bit of a change for me. Growing up, I’ve always had some source of my own money during the summer, whether it was babysitting for neighbors or working in retail. Taking kids to the pool on a hot summer day for some cold hard cash might not sound too bad as I sit at a desk and type all day, but let’s be honest, I’m not learning anything that will move my future forward. I’m not getting paid in currency at my internship, but everything that I’m learning is well worth it. My suggestion to students looking for an internship next summer: don’t let “unpaid” worry you! You will be amazed at all of the details about your position you will be able to talk about in a future interview, or highlight while updating your resume. Not paid rarely means not worth it.

In short, any advice I would offer when looking for an internship is to not freak out. There are a ton of opportunities out there, and you have to go into your search with an open mind. Size does matter, so if it is not as recognizable of a company, don’t immediately leave their homepage. Starting small is important, so be open to all opportunities. Research many positions, and talk to someone who has been an intern before. And last but not least, unpaid doesn’t mean unworthy!

Intern Insights: First Steps Into Media and Matt Lauer’s First Tweet!

July 3, 2012

This summer we’ll be sharing ‘Intern Insights,’ a series of guest posts all about internships, from students enrolled in UC 225. Today’s post from Maryam Squillace, a Screen Arts & Cultures major interning with NBCUniversal in NYC, offers some highlights from her experience so far, and insight into the increasing importance of social media within the media industry as a whole. Thanks Maryam!

maryam squillace

Maryam Squillace on the set of TODAY

I don’t think many people realize how important social media is in our lives. It is more than tweeting what you are doing tonight, or checking in to a cool restaurant on Foursquare. What started back in chat rooms before I was born has now become an inexpensive way for many massive media conglomerates to interact with their audience. I knew this summer I wanted an internship doing something media-related, but I never imagined how large a role social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram play in the success of media corporations.

I knew this summer I wanted to get out of Ann Arbor for a little while and move to a big city. This past semester, I felt somewhat at a crossroads in my college career. I knew I needed some experience to say more definitively what I want out of a future job. I decided to look for internships in New York because I had family I could stay with there. After applying to multiple media and PR internships, I received an email about an interview from the News Communications department at NBCUniversal. I learned in early April I had gotten the internship and the rest of the month was a blur. I moved to New York only days after my last final, without ever setting foot in the city. I love living here, and it is amazing to walk into 30 Rock every day and have a badge that allows me into the building. I love knowing that so many brilliant minds have been in this building, are currently here, and will be when I leave; it’s the same feeling I have walking around Michigan’s campus.

I have learned a great deal about the media industry at my internship. Working in News Communications, it’s a mix of PR, marketing, and digital media that work together to make the final TV product show up in as many households as possible. I am lucky to work with some of the most brilliant people in the industry, who work on promoting the news programs I grew up on and still love. Its incredible to see all of the work that it takes to look so effortless on the viewer’s side. Working in the media industry, I have seen how important social media skills are on a resume. Almost everyone I have had the privilege of speaking with or working with has told me that social media is something to know now because it is only going to get bigger. One of the first questions in my interview was if I had a Twitter, and what I newspapers I followed. One example of social media’s importance was watching the department prepare for Justin Bieber to perform during the Toyota Summer Concert Series on the TODAY show. I worked with the department to spread the #BieberTODAY hashtag throughout the media before the concert happened. NBC’s followers then began to use the hashtag to begin a conversation about the concert with their own followers, and the hashtag’s usage grew even more. The hashtag even trended worldwide at one point. I watched as Justin Bieber sent out Matt Lauer’s first tweet (on a TV, but still) and watched as Mr. Lauer’s followers rapidly grew by the thousands because of the help of Justin Bieber. It is a digital reminder of how linked humanity really is.

Advice from Alumni: Jessica Kaufman on breaking into the Real Estate Industry

June 25, 2012

photo of jessica kaufmanJessica Kaufman is a 2002 graduate of LSA with a major in Psychology. She is currently a Senior Associate Salesperson in New York City, working with residential real estate sales, rentals and investments. Today, Jessica shares her experience and advice on breaking into the real estate industry.

From the get-go, I was fascinated by the study of the human mind and behavior and declared my major in Psychology during Freshman year. I enjoyed taking various classes including those in psychology, film, botany and art. Although I loved learning about the human psyche in the classroom, I found my internships in inpatient and outpatient facilities, a crisis center, and graduate research proved very valuable learning experiences. I found the study of psychology fascinating, but during my Senior Year, I decided to apply to business school and get my Masters degree in Accounting.

After graduation from business school, I moved back to NYC and started working at one of the Big 4 accounting firms performing audits on public and private companies. As an auditor, I was always working on client-sites and developing strong business relationships with my fellow colleagues as well as clients.

However, like my professor always said, you have to start looking for your next job the first day you start your new one. So after working as an auditor for two years, I decided to transition to the non-for-profit world. I was responsible for the accounting work at the largest regional non-for-profit organization in NYC in the Planned Giving and Endowments Department. I enjoyed working with donors on a daily basis, but wanted to get in front of clients rather than sit behind a desk. So with my business background, enjoyment for relationship building and working with people, I signed up for the real estate course to become an agent and haven’t looked back.

There are many rewards and advantages to being in real estate. One benefit is that it allows you the flexibility of setting your own schedule and setting your own pace. Your income is directly linked to the work you put into your career. With being self-employed, you have autonomy, time freedom, and potential for high earnings.

In order to be successful in this industry, you must be self-motivated, well-organized, personable, flexible, patient, understanding, trustworthy and knowledgeable. You have to remember that buying, selling, and renting a home is one of life’s necessities and a stressful time for your clients. For a vast majority of Americans, buying a home is the single largest financial transaction.

Most clients will have a hard time separating business from their emotion and won’t understand why their home isn’t worth what they feel it is worth and why somebody doesn’t love it as much as them. As a result, many hire experts like myself, and ignore the professional advice given to them.

Understand that real estate agents are all commission based. So time is very valuable, as agents are not paid based upon hourly or salaried work. You might put in a ton of time working with a client only to get to a closing or lease signing and have them change their mind last minute or buy somewhere else.

If you have a flair for working with people, and want to live in a fast-moving environment, then a career in real estate might be for you. Like venture capital work, high-risk…high reward.

I am willing to speak with anyone looking to get into real estate, and please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you are looking to relocate to NYC. I would be happy to offer advice and/or help you find your new home. Please email me at with any questions.

Go Blue!

Jessica Kaufman

Make the most of your summer internship!

June 18, 2012
Sign reading: "Hello, I am a new intern"

Hello, intern!

It seems like the last day of classes is long gone, and you may have already started work at a summer internship. Here’s a list of three great ways you can make the most out of this experience, so that you come away with more than just money (or college credit) and a few more lines on your resume:

Take Initiative. Some companies have well-established internship programs that are packed full of responsibilities and activities for their interns, but many internships aren’t quite as laid-out. If your role as an intern doesn’t define how to spend all of your time while you’re at work, use that opportunity to go above-and-beyond what your supervisor has planned for you. This doesn’t mean simply asking “what else can I do?” but actually identifying an area in which you can contribute, and running a plan past your supervisor. This is a sure-fire way to get yourself noticed, and it shows that you’re not just there to meet expectations.

Network. The value of networking doesn’t just go away now that you have your internship. Remember, this could be an audition for a full-time position, and the more people you have in your corner, the better your chances of snagging that offer will be. One of our former peer advisors, Dhruv, really took advantage of this strategy, and made sure to have lunch with different people from his office as often as possible. He was able to ask questions about the organization, questions about each person’s role within the company, and to discuss some of the projects he was working on. He ended up with a full-time offer after his internship, in part because in addition to doing an excellent job, many people beyond his immediate supervisor were able to see what an excellent job he was doing. He definitely stood out among all the other interns.

Evaluate the Company/Industry. I mentioned that internships are like auditions for full-time jobs, but this is also the organization’s time to show you what they’re all about. Make sure you use this summer to figure out what you like (and dislike!) about the organization, so that you can make a better decision about full-time offers later on. For instance, if you find that it’s frustrating working in a huge, hierarchical organization as an intern, that will help you focus your full-time search on smaller companies, with a more flat organizational structure.

If you need some career coaching this summer, don’t fret — The Career Center is open 8-5p every weekday, and you can make an appointment to stop and see us.

Photo credit: adpowers on Flickr.

Lots of debt and no income? You’ve still got options.

May 21, 2012

Radhika Singh Miller serves as program manager of educational debt relief and outreach at Equal Justice Works

Graduation season is upon us, and it’s hard to ignore that, in this economy, more and more students are facing the possibility of being unemployed after graduation.  When your six month grace period on student loans ends and your monthly payments begin, what do you do if you are unable to afford the payments?  For those struggling to find employment: don’t fear; there are options available for you to avoid default.  Here are some tips for those entering repayment who aren’t able to shoulder the financial burden just yet.

First and foremost, grab the bull by the horns and figure out exactly what you’re facing.  Make a list of all your student loans and how much you owe.  Federal loans can be found in the National Student Loan Data System and private loans will show up on your credit report.  By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year.  Make sure your loan servicers have your current information and be sure to keep them informed of any name or address changes – payments are still due even if you don’t receive an invoice!

If you cannot afford to make payments on your loans, talk to your servicer now.  Do not miss your payments! If you are behind on payments, you are delinquent on your loans. If you are delinquent for a period of time, you will go into default. For federal loans, default is usually declared after nine months of delinquency. But for private loans, you could be in default as soon as you miss a payment.

If you default on your federal loans, the government can seize tax refunds, garnish your wages and take a portion of Social Security payments – without a court order. You are also in jeopardy of losing your professional license and eligibility for new loans and grants.  Private lenders’ collection powers are not as strong, but this is still debt you owe. If you default on either your private or federal loans, it affects your credit and could prevent you from securing a credit card, mortgage, apartment or job.

You may be able to postpone repayment on your federal loans through deferment or forbearance, but you will lose these rights if you default first, so be proactive about your situation. It doesn’t matter whether you borrowed your loans for undergrad or graduate or professional school, federal loans come with several options.

Deferments are temporary suspensions of payments that are available if you reenroll in school, are unemployed or facing economic hardship. Deferments also are available in instances of disability, certain military service and for a period following active military duty.

Forbearances are temporary postponements or reductions of payments because of financial hardship. You may be able to receive forbearance if you’re not eligible for deferment. The main distinction is that interest does not accrue on subsidized Stafford loans or Perkins loans (but will on any unsubsidized loans) during periods of deferment but accrues on all your loans during forbearance.

There are no standard entitlements on private loans, but you still need to call your servicer. You may be able to negotiate a short-term forbearance or lower your payment amount. Ignoring the problem will not help; you do not want to default.

Before you seek deferment or forbearance, however, figure out which repayment plans are available. If you can afford it, making some payments is better than making no payments. Federal loans have options that may reduce your monthly payment amounts and make them affordable. Income-Based Repayment (IBR) and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) can lower your payments based on your income. IBR generally will be better for most people, but do some calculations to make sure. These plans also extend your repayment period and will increase the total amount you will pay since you’ll accrue (and pay) interest over a longer period.

Consolidating your loans also may help because you’ll only have one payment on those loans. Avoid consolidating federal loans with private loans though, because you will lose the federal protections and repayment options. Your interest rate also may change so check to see if you actually are getting a better deal with consolidation.

Finally, consider switching plans if you find your payments are too expensive. Changing to an extended repayment plan or an income-based plan like IBR or ICR may help decrease your payments. You can always switch back or make additional payments (there is no prepayment penalty on federal loans but double-check the terms of your private loans) if your income increases.

Repaying loans is not fun, but it must be done. If you’re having difficulties making payments, be proactive about your situation and seek out options that can help. Visit the Educational Debt Relief section of the Equal Justice Works website and register for a free informational webinar to learn more.

Managing Educational Debt: Different Options for Loan Repayment

April 26, 2012

Today’s students are no strangers to debt.  With a collective debt of more than $1 trillion, the idea of repaying this debt can be daunting. Though calls for student debt relief abound and change may be just around the corner, there are programs that can help you right away.

Three different types of educational debt relief can ease the burden of repayment:

  • Income-driven repayment plans, such as Income-Based Repayment (IBR), which lower monthly loan payments based on your income.
  • Forgiveness programs, the broadest of which is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). PSLF allows forgiveness on Federal Direct Loans after 120 qualifying payments if you work full-time in qualifying public service employment (employment in government and 501(c)(3) nonprofits count).
  • Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs), which provide funds to help make payments on educational loans.

Both Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness can provide significant relief for those who work in public service by allowing you to make lower monthly payments on your federal loans and achieve total forgiveness of those loans after ten years.

For example:

  • If you have $25,000 in federal loan debt and make $30,000 per year, your monthly payment under a standard 10-year repayment plan would be $288).  Under IBR, your payment would be $166.  If your income increases, the amount you pay would too. But as long as you have a partial financial hardship it will be capped at 15 percent of your income. For example, if you receive 3 percent annual raises over 10 years, the amount you pay in year 10 would be $216 per month (still lower than a 10-year plan).
  • Under this scenario, over 10 years, you would pay approximately $22,776 and if you qualify for PSLF, the government would forgive what’s left: $17,291.

But even if you aren’t planning to work in public service, IBR can still help lower your monthly payments.  Providing you demonstrate a “partial financial hardship” IBR is available to anyone with federal government loans and offers total forgiveness on any balances that remain after 25 years.

If you are thinking of going to graduate or professional school and will need to take out loans, the numbers – and relief – can add up.

Consider “Dara Defender”.  Dara graduates from law school with $120,000 in federal loans and takes a position as a public defender with a starting salary of $45,000 annually.

  • Under a standard ten-year repayment program, Dara will pay $165,716 over ten years and is required to pay $1,381 monthly regardless of her income; this is more than half her monthly income.  Under a 30-year repayment program, her monthly payments would be $782 and total $281,632 over 30 years.

However, Dara is in control because she knows about IBR and PSLF. She enrolls in IBR right after graduation.

  • In her first year, Dara’s payments are $353 per month (less than half than what she would pay under a 30-year plan).  As she receives annual raises of 3 percent, her payments gradually rise. In 10 years, her monthly payments are $461.
  • Dara has remained in public services and after making 120 payments, she qualifies for PSLF. She has paid $48,570 (a little over one-third of the original principal) over ten years, and the federal government forgives $151,133, the balance of the principal and the interest left on her loans!

What if Dara doesn’t qualify for PSLF? Here’s a look at how IBR can still help:

  • Dara leaves public service after seven years and begins to earn $80,000 per year. With 3 percent annual raises, in year 25 she will make $132,228 and pay $1,227 monthly (still less than a ten-year repayment plan).
  • Dara will pay $241,064 over 25 years, and the government will forgive $43,405.

IBR and PSLF can make a huge difference. There are also special forgiveness provisions for Federal Perkins Loans and for teacher loan forgiveness on Stafford Loans.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP’s) can also help you manage educational debt and are available from a variety of sources.  For example, the American Federation of Teachers has a searchable funding database, the National Health Service Corps helps fund State Loan Repayment Programs, and the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program offers loan forgiveness to veterinarians. Many law schools and state bar associations also provide LRAPs.

Because they provide funds to help you make payments on your loans, LRAPs are valuable on their own.  In a perfect scenario, you would qualify for low monthly payments under IBR and use LRAP funds to make these payments while working in a qualifying public service position, allowing you to earn PSLF – all without using your own limited income!

This is only a brief description of how these programs work and how you can qualify. Equal Justice Works provides free educational debt relief webinars every month to help you learn more. You can view our schedule and register for the session that fits your needs on our website. You can also download our Educational Debt Manual to help you manage your student debt.

Radhika Singh Miller is a program manager for Educational Debt Relief and Outreach at Equal Justice Works. In 2008, she served on the Student Loans Team in the Negotiated Rulemaking for the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) and has extensive knowledge of this landmark educational debt relief legislation. Radhika graduated from Loyola Law School Los Angeles. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, she was a staff attorney at the Partnership for Civil Justice, focusing on constitutional and civil rights litigation and advocacy.

Stay up to date on the medical and law school application process

April 23, 2012

With each application cycle, The Career Center sponsors two year-long CTools Sites to support UM students and alumni/ae applying to 1) medical or 2) law school. Subscribers receive timely updates and application tips from beginning to end of each cycle.

Subscribe to the Med App CTools site

Subscribe to the Law App CTools site

For questions about these CTools sites, please send an e-mail to For questions about your umich account after graduation, please contact ITCS at

Please note that even if you register immediately, the new CTools sites will not open for a few more weeks; thus, the Med App 12-13 and the Law App 12-13 tabs will not appear immediately in your CTools site menu bar.

Freshman Friday: Design Jams and Future Work Skills

April 12, 2012

Every Friday, we’ll be highlighting some helpful information specifically for first-year students. Today we hear from a couple first-year students who participated in Immersion Excursions. You can view all the previous Freshman Friday posts here.

Yes, I realize we’re one day early here, but we didn’t want you to miss this!

Have you ever heard of a Design Jam? It’s a ~2 hour event where groups of students brainstorm and respond to a problem statement presented by an external company representative. There’s one coming up tomorrow (April 13th) with Ford Motor Company, focused on mobility:

The growing number of mega-cities in the developing world will require us to completely re-think personal transportation as congestion, parking and pollution increase. By 2015, it is projected that there will be at least 35 Mega Cities with populations greater than 10 million. No one company or industry will be able to solve the mobility issue alone; therefore collaboration, communication and common global frameworks are required. The challenge is to develop new business models to determine how Ford will be relevant in these mega-cities as personal vehicles are banned or become impractical.

Why should you attend this sort of event, you ask? Consider the Future Work Skills 2020 report, released by the Apollo Research Institute. The report lists 10 skills that will be vital for future success in the workforce, including novel and adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competency, transdisciplinarity, virtual collaboration, and design mindset. It’s a pretty good bet that you can start improving on those skills by attending the design jam. Taking advantage of these sorts of opportunities is important while you’re here in Ann Arbor — they’re one of the things that separates Michigan from other universities.

If you’re interested in participating, please email Jean Leverich, Program Director – Living Arts (


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