International Relations and Global Studies Department should have its own career services program

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Many students choose liberal arts majors as stepping stones for law school or graduate school. However, some students want to start their careers in their particular fields right after graduation. This is especially true among students majoring in International Relations and Global Studies (IRG).

Many IRG majors want to dedicate their lives and careers to foreign service related fields, but they do not know how to do so because the IRG Department offers limited resources in career services. With the exception of program overview and academic advising, the IRG Department does not have any career related resources.

Although, College of Liberal Arts Career Services and UT International Affairs Society do provide resources and advice for students looking for careers in foreign service fields, this assistance is often extremely broad. If one does a search on the COLA Career Services website for information on careers related to foreign service fields, numerous results will come with some of them not even relating to foreign service fields. Though COLA Career Services website does have resources for internship and career opportunities, it is mainly focused on professional experience development and preparing students for graduate school. From my own personal experiences, COLA does not do a very good job in advertising its career services department to inform students about their services. Also, the COLA Career Services department has a more hands-off approach in helping their students find career opportunities, which is a problem for IRG majors trying to enter a complex career field that requires expert guidance.

I believe that the IRG department should establish its own career services department similar to that of the McCombs BBA Career Services department. BBA Career Services is much more hands-on in helping their students to not only find career opportunities, but to secure them as well. Students at McCombs are given professional development classes and major-specific coaching for their career fields. McCombs students are also required to complete an internship before they graduate. If the IRG department can create a similar career services department, IRG students can find internships and receive ample amount of resources for career guidance. Of course, it all depends on whether or not the IRG department has the necessary funds to create such a career resource department. But through such a program’s creation, IRG majors could be better prepared to enter the job market and the IRG department can attract more students.

The IRG department should have its own career services department similar to that of the McCombs School of Business. The College of Liberal Arts should give IRG students the same amount of hands-on guidance and resources as what McCombs students give business students. This would make the IRG program even more worthwhile than it already is.

Chen is an Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @ZhelunC.