An Interview with Associate Director of the Graduate Career Development Center, Anne Steen
Film by Kaveri Marathe (MSFS '13)
Article by Haysel Hernandez-Holschu (MSFS '13)
An unassuming office in the Intercultural Center houses the School of Foreign Service’s Graduate Career Development Center, where students can access a wealth of resources to guide them through their career and internship searches. Anne Steen, Associate Director of the GCDC, explained that attending graduate school is a life-altering decision and utilizing the time and resources offered at the School of Foreign Service can make that decision pay off.
“A graduate degree is a credential. Students come here to build a skill set. In a tough job market that is becoming increasingly over-educated, having a skill set is critical,” explained Steen.
Steen sees many benefits of visiting the Career Center versus searching for a position alone without guidance, “We can help students focus their job search. If you are here and we get to know you, we can help you with more tailored services.”
The CDC offers a range of services from individual counseling, workshops ranging from interviewing skills to cover letter writing, and Simplicity, a website popular with students where jobs are posted.
However, there are many pitfalls students stumble upon while on their career paths. While incoming students focus most of their time on academics, Steen reminds them of the need to engage with members of the Georgetown community outside the classroom. “Our first-year students make some common mistakes; they don’t realize the opportunity of networking right away and utilizing the resources on campus to do so,” Steen said, pointing to the alumni networks and connections to professors as ways of effectively beginning the networking process.
Steen encourages students to start working toward their careers early on in their graduate careers. In the Master of Science in Foreign Service program, students are required to complete an internship, an opportunity from which Steen said they shouldn’t shrink away. “The internship requirement is a must. The theoretical knowledge you are learning is important--applying that in the field is critical. [In addition, students gain indispensable skills and relationships by] finding a relevant internship and networking. It’s important to build skills that are transferable. During your internship, you learn to hone skills and demonstrate impact,” she clarified.
As a final remark, Steen reminds students to be open to learning outside the classroom in the global community of work offered by MSFS. “The MSFS brand is rock solid and there are many success stories. Utilize all the resources we give you,” she suggested.