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The What, Who, and How of DUE: Global Education and Career Development (GECD)

Global Education & Career Development (GECD) comprises three complementary areas within one office.
Photo courtesy of GECD

This is the sixth in a series of articles from the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE) that answers the questions: What does that office really do? Who works there? And how does the office advance/impact education at MIT?

What is the Office of Global Education & Career Development (GECD)?

Global Education & Career Development (GECD) comprises three complementary areas within one office: Global Education, Career Services and Prehealth Advising. The GECD staff advises and supports undergraduate and graduate students and alumni as they:
  • Explore career and global education opportunities;
  • Prepare and participate in study-abroad programs, including academic exchanges;
  • Explore and apply for distinguished fellowships, including Marshall, Rhodes, Gates and Truman;
  • Network with potential employers and prepare for interviews;
  • Plan and conduct internship and job searches;
  • Prepare and apply to health profession and graduate schools.
As GECD Executive Director Melanie Parker explains, "Global Education & Career Development strives to be an integrated and holistic office, where global competency intersects with future educational and career plans."
Photo courtesy of GECD
Global Education: go global

Global Education advises students as they choose from the various MIT-based and external opportunities offered all over the world. These opportunities include: study abroad, internships, research, public service and service learning. Students that participate in these programs often gain a newfound confidence and independence, and acquire skill sets essential for success in both graduate school and the global workplace.

Global Education staff assist students in selecting global programs that best fit their academic, career and personal goals. The global advising process consists of four steps:
  • GECD helps students explore the variety of global programs offered through MIT and external opportunities.
  • The staff helps a student through the application process when it comes time to apply to their desired program.
  • The Global Education staff helps students prepare academically, financially and personally for the program abroad.
  • The staff assists students with the transition back to campus through post-program opportunities.
Over the past year, more than 700 MIT undergraduates have traveled to 41 countries, participating in MISTI internships, Cambridge-MIT Exchange and other study-abroad programs; the International Research Opportunities Program (IROP); and international development programs such as D-Lab and PSC fellowships. A helpful Go Abroad blog can be found on the GECD website. Students interested in the global experiences can now read personal posts from students who have been, and currently are, going global.

The Global Education staff also assists students in exploring and applying for distinguished fellowships, including Marshall, Rhodes, Gates and Truman. Winning a distinguished fellowship award gives students the chance to advance their education, research and career, and offers an opportunity to be a part of a network of extraordinary individuals and professionals from all over the world.

Career Services: discover a career path, apply to graduate school, master the job search process

Career Services works with undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of ways. They help students explore their career options, strengthen their networking and interviewing skill sets, create internship and job opportunities and apply for these positions.

Career Services offers one-on-one assistance during scheduled appointments or daily drop-in hours. Professional career advisors and career assistants (CAs) are available to guide students with the knowledge of what top employers and graduate schools are looking for in resumes, cover letters, graduate school applications and during the interview process.

Students can explore internship and job opportunities through a plethora of research tools the Career Services office provides. Self-assessment inventories and exercises completed by students help career advisors narrow down potential career fields for each individual.

The Career Services staff helps students strengthen their skill sets. Career advisors use traditional workshops and appointments as well as innovative approaches. The team has an online video portal to their website, where students can watch tutorials on how to dress for an interview, how write a cover letter or how to make a great first impression.

The staff works closely with employers interested in employing undergraduate and graduate students. This helps create a catalog of internships and job opportunities for MIT students. Last year, 45.2 percent of undergraduates and 34.2 percent of master's graduates used on-campus recruiting in their job search; 24 percent of undergraduates and 28.2 percent of master's graduates used networking; and 20.8 percent of undergraduates and 8.4 percent of master's graduates found opportunities through career fairs.

Career Services help undergraduate and graduate students well past the application process. These services range from helping with interviews and communications with employers to the salary process. The staff also helps guide students through the graduate school application process, assisting them as they apply to programs that are a fit for their future career plans.

Career Services provides students with the tools, personal assistance and opportunities necessary to develop their skills sets and make mutually beneficial connections with employers and graduate schools.

Prehealth Advising: applying to medical and health profession schools

Prehealth Advising assists students and alumni as they explore, prepare and apply to medical, dental, veterinary medicine and other health profession schools.

Through one-on-one and small group sessions, as well as instructional workshops, the Prehealth Advising staff advises students on the application process, as well as the coursework, extra-curricular activities and other factors considered by admissions committees. Prehealth Advising also helps applicants prepare for the application process through essay critiques and mock interviews.

Since relevant exposure is necessary before committing to a specific health profession, Prehealth Advising coordinates mentoring and shadowing opportunities through which applicants can explore various health care professions and learn from industry professionals.

To further support candidates as they apply, Prehealth Advising provides an online Credential Service that collects and distributes letters of recommendation. The Prehealth Advisory Board Letter, which is a comprehensive letter of recommendation written by the Prehealth Advisory Board, is also available to eligible applicants.

The acceptance rate for MIT candidates who used Prehealth Advising Services in 2011 was 81 percent. This is compared with a 58 percent acceptance rate for MIT candidates who did not. MIT Prehealth Advising provides services to undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni.

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