When I was a little boy, the most common question I was asked was, “what do I want to be when I grow up?” My answer was easy, it was either a doctor or a pro tennis player. Well—since that day, and after prototyping many careers, I quickly realized that—I have always been drawn to a place where student development and career readiness is really at the core of everything I do.
The forward-thinking students I witness daily getting recruited by top employers are truly my inspiration. It’s become a natural progression for our bright students (the success path), as they understand what it takes—and more importantly, manage their careers seriously.
What a sensational time it is for the Career Design Lab at Columbia University. Since founded in summer 2017, we have both reimagined and reinvented not only the career center, but what it really means to be a career coach. What we do is so much more than career services, it’s really career and life design. We are located in Times Square, our new home that showcases a new state-of-the-art career center.
Our Connector Model, entitled “BRIDGE” stands for:
G: Goals &
E: Educational Pathways
We no longer believe in bricks and mortar, but the space itself is an integrated student and career center. We believe career services is bigger than our department, and that it’s really about customized connections and communities. Not only that, we understand that we really serve as informed connectors—allowing for organic networking in a connection economy, full of chaos and happenstance.
The difference between finding a job and finding a career is passion. But you can be passionate about many things. You also don’t know you are really passionate about something until you are doing it. So, in one respect, passion is a result, not an organizing principle. Thus, we use innovative tools and design thinking to help students be life designers—so they can build their way forward, prototype their careers, and test their interests. We want students to embrace uncertainty and explore their curiosity.
In a relatively short time, we have grown as an impactful team—we not only strive to help students connect passion to purpose, but believe in instilling “career readiness”— that “Career Readiness IQ” defined as “the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition to the workplace.” (Source: NACE)