A Vision for Career Services and Study Abroad at MIT

By Melanie Parker, Executive Director, MIT Careers Office

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” So says a Japanese proverb that underscores the importance of vision and planning. The MIT Careers Office (MITCO), including Study Abroad, has recently begun a strategic planning process to plan for its future. This process will include assessment of client needs, including students and employers; input from major stakeholders; an internal review of key programs and services against professional standards; and program benchmarking. Strategic initiatives at MIT and DUE will provide significant guidance in this process, in particular the holistic education of our students and increasing their opportunities for global experience.

As we look to the future, these are some initial directions that will be paramount to our success:

  • We will be acknowledged leaders in the areas of career development, study abroad, pre-professional program preparation and employment services, incorporating expertise in the career paths of our students and alumni and the skill sets and preparation required for success in the workplace and global community.

  • MITCO programs and services must be clearly defined and aligned with institutional priorities and characteristics.

  • We should strongly consider shifting to competency-based career development model that capitalizes on preparing students for life, promoting a culture of lifelong learning, and empowering MIT students to effectively plan and manage their career transitions. This model strongly aligns with the MIT practice of “learning by doing.”

  • We will need to focus on innovative methods to increase student access to and participation in global experiences, career services programming and professional experiential learning opportunities by expanding venues and creating a variety of delivery methods.

  • We must use current and emerging educational technology to diversify delivery of our programs and to enhance student development of career management and global competency skills. These new methods are not meant to replace more personalized programs and services, but rather to enhance and expand our reach and stay current with student expectations for on-demand resources.

  • We must create a career services and study abroad facility that provides adequate space to support this vision, that facilitates student exploration of career and global opportunities and that conveys the conveys the institute’s image well to prospective students, parents, alumni and corporate representatives.

MITCO is working to create a clear vision for the future. Fortunately, we start this process with an incredibly talented and dedicated staff. Rather than daydreams or nightmares, we plan to turn our dreams into reality to strengthen career services and study abroad programs at MIT. MITCO’s strategic planning process is expected to be complete by early 2008. Please send any suggestions or feedback to Melanie Parker at mlparker@mit.edu.