Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting involved could get you the job

Every KU student has heard the advice, “Get involved.”

From orientation assistants talking about getting the most out of college to advisors talking about resumes, the buzz on college campuses is extracurricular activities.  For many students, extracurricular activities are fillers on their resumes, but they can be more.

Extracurricular activities can also mean skill development or a link to future employment.  Michael Luchen, the former president of Information Systems Association of KU or ISAK, secured his position at CremaLab through his role in ISAK.

Through the club, Luchen connected with entrepreneurs in the Kansas City startup community including CremaLab co-founder Daniel Linhart.  Luchen remained in touch with Linhart, and when he connected with Linhart again at Big Kansas City, Linhart told him about the open project coordinator role at CremaLab.

“Involvement is what I attribute to all my successes, and I ended up at what I would call my dream job,” Luchen said. “I wouldn't have been here if it wasn't for getting involved in clubs like ISAK.”

ISAK provides opportunities for students to separate themselves from the competition through job crawls, guest speakers and networking events.  Greg Freix, faculty advisor to ISAK, said by being in an organization, students are able to gain skills they would otherwise lack including leadership and interpersonal skills.

“It’s difficult to be a leader in a classroom,” Freix said.  “You can be a top student, but in terms of working with others — maybe in a group activity — but nothing the same as in an organization.”

Other business school clubs, including Alpha Kappa Psi, focus on professional development among their members.  Krutarth Gohel, president of Alpha Kappa Psi, said the club holds interview workshops, hosts guest speakers and provides leadership opportunities to give its members an opportunity to develop skills outside the classroom.

“The biggest factor that AKP contributes is an experience for the member or the students,” Gohel said. “Whenever you can provide some sort of experience, you can talk about it in an interview or you can talk about it while you’re networking.”

Whether an organization provides direct contact with a future employer, networking and interviewing skills, or leadership experience, it is an essential part of a well-rounded education.

Learn more about clubs at the School of Business here.

by Allison Kite