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Personalized Approach Ranks Southwestern’s Office of Career Services No. 4 in the Nation

Career Services offers a unique, one-on-one “Boutique Model” that keeps the office winning a myriad of awards, and leading students to successful careers.

Dateline: September 13, 2016

Southwestern’s Office of Career Services is stacked with a team of award-winning staff who serve Southwestern students and alumni year-round. The team is ranked number four nationwide and number one in Texas for Best Career Services by the Princeton Review. The office was also named the number one College Career Services in the U.S. by BestColleges.com. These rankings follow a long list of many other prestigious awards the office has earned over the last decade. The professionals that make up the team attribute their national recognition and, more importantly, their student success to a boutique model of service.

“Our student body is small—part of that liberal arts environment,” says Southwestern Career Services Internship Coordinator, Maria Kruger. “How we’ve approached Career Services, and what has been successful for us, is this idea of tailoring programming and services to the individual needs of students.”

Rather than holding numerous generic, large-scale workshops or programs, the team has designed their office to reflect a boutique model. Students are offered one-on-one services, such as resume building and internship guidance, that cater to each individual student’s interests.

“You really get a chance to dig down deep below the surface to where it is their boutique, it is what the client specifically needs,” says Southwestern Career Services Director, Daniel Orozco.

The team also remains cognizant of specific student interest trends by taking notes when students visit their office, and also staying connected to faculty and staff.

“It’s a campus-wide affair,” says Orozco. “We’ve had opportunities to have conversations and engage each other so we’re able to say, ‘We know some students who would be interested in this, or that.’”

A prime example of taking action for student needs is a partnership shadowing program between Southwestern and St. David’s Medical Center of Georgetown. After noticing a growing number of pre-medical students asking ‘How can I gain more experience?,’ Kruger spearheaded the shadowing program in 2014 by connecting with hospital staff, and working out agreement details.

St. David’s now offers Southwestern two spots every fall and spring semester on a ten week rotation. Students get first-hand experience in the emergency room, and then go on to choose from an array of fields—women’s services, radiology, the laboratory, and outpatient surgery.

“It’s one that I’m really glad that we put together because it goes back to this boutique model where we created a program based around a need that a particular subset of students had that has worked really, really well,” says Kruger.  

Mia Zozobrado, Class of 2017, is an English major who can attest to the benefits of the boutique model. The junior and student ambassador has been utilizing the services since day one.

“I was actually a super early starter,” says Zozobrado. “The first day of classes, the very first semester, I walked into their offices and said, ‘Fall of junior year, I want to intern at Walt Disney World—what do I need to do?’”

Zozobrado says that is when the one-on-one attention and relationship started with Career Services. While she was about a year early in planning her Disney internship, Zozobrado planted the seed that led to Kruger following up when the time was right to start the application process.

Since then, Zozobrado has completed her internship at Walt Disney and visited the office countless times for advice and guidance, including remodeling her resume and doing mock interviews.  

“They are so aware of the Southwestern student and community they’re catering to,” says Zozobrado.

She highly recommends each student visit the Career Services team at some point during their first year at Southwestern to get a sense of the sheer number of available resources.

“There is just so much opportunity in that one office that I really do feel like everybody should just walk through the door and look at everything.”

More information about the resources and services offered can be found by visiting the Career Services website, calling (512) 863-1346, or via e-mail at career.services@southwestern.edu.