Alumni Affairs Senior Director of Alumni Career Programs, Nick Theodorou provides an overview of the many programs UCLA offers to help students sharpen their interview skills, network with alumni and take steps towards their career ambitions.

While the department of Alumni Affairs at UCLA is dedicated to providing life long resources to graduates of one of the most prestigious public schools in the country, it is becoming increasingly clear that the intersections between alumni and students are where some of the greatest gains are felt both from students and our graduates. At a time when parents are rightfully concerned with return on their investment, how can UCLA Alumni Affairs be helpful in delivering results?

Before answering this question, it is important to understand that career development has been something of utmost importance here at UCLA throughout its history. The UCLA Career Center is widely regarded among our peer institutions as one of the best career centers in the country. Due to the size of this institution, many other areas on campus have evolved to include career focused offerings to students as well.  In fact, student groups have also began to find ways to incorporate career development into their weekly or monthly gatherings.   There is significant career development energy on campus, but for the most part, it has been decentralized. Hence the perception that UCLA isn’t very good in this career space.  While perception is sometimes thought of as reality, UCLA Alumni Affairs is devoted to help change that perception.

Career Development Opportunities for Students

So, how can UCLA Alumni Affairs assist your UCLA student?

UCLA Alumni Affairs is uniquely positioned because we are one of a few areas on campus that has access to our alumni database as well as access to the current student body. As a result of this, we feel like we can be a great conduit for connecting these two groups.  Not only can we connect students to alumni, but because of our relationships on campus we can also act as the bridge for our campus partners. So, make sure your student is consistently checking the Student Connect newsletters as well as Alumni Affairs emails for future career programs.

UCLA Career Services are made up of a myriad of amenities that alumni and students can utilize for career enhancement. These amenities make up a convergence of three major departments on campus that are working together to provide students with career guidance. In an effort to provide programs that will enhance the student experience – the Bruin Careers program (Alumni Affairs), the Career Center (office of Student Affairs) and Partnership UCLA (the College of Letters and Sciences) are collaborating to provide experiences that can help further professional development through Bruin to Bruin networking. These programs include student-alumni networking events, alumni mentors, information sessions, internships with UCLA partnerships, experiential learning opportunities and individual career counseling.

Through different entry points, each component (outlined below) allow Bruins to gain access to UCLA career services. Below is a snapshot of career offerings from each area on campus, that we hope you encourage your student to check out.  Please feel free to click on the program or event title to be connected to their webpage and learn more!

UCLA Alumni Affairs

  • Interview with a Bruin is a program that pairs current UCLA students with alumni whom conduct mock interviews to sharpen students’ interview skills.
  • The Alumni Mentor Program matches alumni to current students to mentor them in a number of ways and provide academic guidance, career advice and personal development.
  • Entertainment Networking Night is a high-profile Student Alumni Association event that gives students the opportunity to learn about careers in the entertainment field by interacting with UCLA alumni in the industry.
  • Both students and alumni can participate in Dinners for 12 Strangers, a UCLA tradition, that continues to expand globally and bringing UCLA affiliates together to share a meal and network.
  • Students and Alumni can connect with over 14,500 members of the UCLA Alumni Association LinkedIn group to stay connected.
  • Alumni Affairs also coordinates company information sessions, panel discussions and workshops.

Off Campus Alumni Networks Dedicated to Professional Development

  • Students can ‘Like’ the Bruin Business Network on Facebook to stay ‘in the know’ about events and networking opportunities available to them throughout the year.
  • Bruin Professionals was established to assemble a diverse group of UCLA Alumni who are well established in a profession or business and are willing to make a commitment to attend meetings, develop relationships and expand their business activities by sharing referrals, resources, information, ideas and advice.

Partnership UCLA

  • The Sharpe Fellows Program, named in honor of our Nobel Prize winning UCLA Economics alumnus, William Sharpe, is designed to bring together top employers with our brightest students.
  • Econ Lab courses (engaging alumni to teach real world application) focus on strengthening students’ analytical thinking, communication skills, and writing techniques, and link theory with the real world to provide them with a more comprehensive academic and applied skillset.
  • If your student is looking to sharpen their teambuilding, public speaking and presentation skills encourage them to check out the Economics in Action Conference.

UCLA Career Services

  • Be sure your student is aware of the UCLA Career Center and all the services/resources they offer!
  • BruinView grants access to hundreds of jobs and internships as well as access to other essential employment, internship and graduate school resources.
  • Even after graduation, UCLA alumni can take advantage of Career Counselors, for a discounted fee, to help them make decisions and plans related to life and career directions.

In my interactions with most students, I find it challenging to remember how difficult it felt to be on a structured academic path for roughly 22 years, knowing that path will be gone soon. The inevitability of an ‘unclear future’ can cause anxiety and reluctance to move onto the next stage of life, so encouraging your student to be pro-active in this career space from freshman year is paramount in this process.   Remind your student that there are ways to prepare, and there are people on campus that can help them do this! We have over 400,000 Bruins that are working in every career field imaginable that are prepared to support your student…we just need to keep connecting them.

Please share your feedback on this article by emailing us at mybruinis@ucla.edu.