A Doctoral Student’s Tips for Life Balance

Blog A Doc Student's Tips for Life Balance

An exceptionally challenging part of my life as a Walden student has been maintaining a healthy balance between school and career.  Like many Walden students, I have work and family obligations, and I must carefully structure my daily routine to accomplish the sometimes overwhelming amount of work and study.  Let me share four time-saving strategies I use to maintain a healthy balance.

Organize Space to Stay Focused
I’ve found that having a specific space set aside for my course studies works well.  While most of us don’t have the luxury of having a personal office and a work or school office, there is a trick I use to make it seem like two offices.  I have a folded sign that reminds me of my end goal of earning my doctorate, which is located next to my computer monitor.  When it’s time to study, I stand up my sign with “Dr.” in front of my name; when I’m at my desk working on non-academic projects, I fold it down.  This simple step serves as a powerful reminder of why I’m studying so hard and helps me stay focused on achieving my long-term goal.

Manage Time Wisely
Focusing on the here and now is the most important habit I’ve cultivated.  Some call it mindfulness, a habit of disciplining the mind to focus on what is in front of you, not the past or the future.  This takes practice!  One tool to help with this task is the Pomodoro technique, a popular way to give yourself a break and refresh your focus.  While it’s common to use 25 minutes of study and breaking for 5, you can experiment to find what works best for you.  On days when I feel sharp and on my game, I like to study for 30 and take 5.  On days when I feel sluggish, I may go 20 and 10.  Learn how to get started with Pomodoro to save time and get more done.

Maximize Technology Tools
Technology provides many great tools to assist with time management.  I prefer to use Evernote to organize my research, and Nozbe to manage my busy schedule.  Learn more about these tools to determine if they are right for you!  I have also found that using technology effectively requires personal habits that reinforce the strategies.  In other words, these tools will work only if you stay truly committed to your goals.

Say “No” or “Later”
I also consider a part of staying focused is being willing to say no when necessary.  If a friend wants to go out on Saturday night when you have a big paper due on Sunday, you may have to politely decline.  You can always tell her another Saturday night will work, but you need plenty of notice to organize your week in advance.  This approach will enlist your friend as part of your support group, an important strategy to help leverage your efforts.  Rewards, whether a night out with friends or a piece of chocolate for a great study day, are also great motivators to keep you energized.

I have discussed time management and technological tools to assist you in creating a productive space, rewarding yourself for work well done, and enlisting your support network for leverage.  Whether you are balancing your academic work, professional career, busy personal or family life; or a combination of all these factors, these tools can help you stay on track for long-term success. My final recommendation follows from the successful implementation of these ideas: enjoy the process!  Learning is a joyful experience, like feeling the excitement grow every day as you take small steps toward the finish line.  Deploy the strategies, enjoy the journey, and success will follow!

Written by Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson
Martin Culberson

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Dan’s Take – Residency Networking

DAN'STAKE

Graduate Assistant Dan Ambrosio is currently pursuing his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree at Walden University. In Dan’s Take, he shares his perspective on career management from a student’s eye view. Dan lives in Germany where he teaches business English. He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out. 

Residencies are an excellent way to network with faculty and classmates.  Fortunately, I was able to attend my first residency early on in my doctoral program and had the pleasure of meeting many fantastic people.  I was actually surprised to see this many people attending a residency and was very satisfied with my experience.  The faculty were extremely helpful, and the information has helped me to better prepare for my course assignments and particularly for the final doctoral research project.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet my classmates, many of whom are experienced business professionals with very interesting backgrounds.  I was not only able to learn about their careers and professional lives, but most importantly why they chose to pursue a doctoral level education with Walden University.

Residencies give students the opportunity to network face-to-face.  Typically, students are divided into their respective doctoral programs.  In my case, students were primarily grouped by specialization.  This was advantageous for networking because we already have a common interest.  The typical conversation starts by asking people where they come from and if it was their first or second residency.  I happened to speak with two gentlemen who had already been to their first residency.  They both suggested that I attend a seminar about developing a problem statement for my doctoral research project.  This was not a mandatory course, but had I not gone, I would have missed out on some very valuable information.  I found it beneficial to get to know as many people as possible to get a feel for what my (DBA) program is all about.  Since I am a bit younger, it gave me a better idea as to what potential careers I could pursue when my program is completed.  In addition, since we are all experiencing a virtual learning environment, residencies allow the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff in person.  This was very helpful so that I could become more personally engaged with Walden employees.

Two residencies are required for DBA students. This is a great way to not only get questions answered, but most importantly to establish relationships with faculty and classmates.  I am very excited to go to my second residency.  I know I will also be better prepared and will have more ideas for my doctoral study.  Overall, I would suggest taking advantage of networking at residencies as much as possible. One of the best ways for me to follow-up was to connect with my new contacts via LinkedIn.  Exchanging phone numbers and emails were also common.  I highly encourage you all to get out there and be social.  I wish you all the best with your future residencies!

Written by Dan Ambrosio, Walden DBA Student, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Blog Dan Ambrosio

 

Meet Our New Marketing Graduate Assistant: Dan Ambrosio

photo Dan Ambrosio

Dan Ambrosio

Please join me in welcoming our new Marketing Graduate Assistant, Dan Ambrosio!  He is currently working on a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with a concentration in Marketing.  He began taking marketing courses while pursuing his MBA in international business.  Having developed a passion for marketing, particularly in the areas of health and wellness, Dan decided to further develop his skills.

While Dan is a fairly new student, he says that he has enjoyed his Walden University experience so far.  “I was fortunate enough to attend my first residency during my second week of my first course.  The residency allowed me to interact with faculty and classmates and it helped me to get a better understanding of Walden and the Doctoral program I am in.” He said, “I believe that we can all learn from one another and Walden does an excellent job of creating a challenging and rigorous academic environment.”

 One of the things that Dan likes about his new position in Career Services is learning more about our services and resources. He expressed that he hopes “to reach out to Walden students and help them as much as possible to utilize the great benefits of the Career Services Center,” and “provide students with the tools and information to help them succeed during and after their studies.”

He shares his favorite Career Services resources:

  1. Career Connections Events:  This tool allows students the opportunity to interact with students, faculty and alumni.  It is an excellent way for students to discuss aspects of their careers they may want to improve or change.
  2. OptimalResume:  Creating a powerful resume can make a big difference in a job application.  OptimalResume provides students with the resources to appeal to potential employers so that they can increase their chances of getting a job.
  3. Appointments:  Walden Career Services Staff are always available to help Walden students succeed during and after their degree.  The Career Services team will provide students with information pertaining to career options.  This is a great way to open the door to unlimited career potential!
  4. Interviewing Resources:  This is a great resource at Walden because it allows students to explore in-depth information pertaining to interview questions, tips, and preparation.  First impressions are very important which is why it is necessary to understand how interviews typically work so that you can be confident and prepared.

 Dan currently lives in Germany.  After completing his bachelor’s degree with a double major in English and German, he booked a one-way flight to Germany where he lived for over three years.  During that time, he taught business English at Inlingua Language School.  He traveled to over 18 different companies in northwestern Germany where he taught business English.  He moved back to the United States in October 2015 and lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a year and a half, and then moved back to Germany in April 2017. Dan plans to eventually return to the US again to begin his career in marketing.  He enjoys traveling, studying, riding motorcycles, and working out.

Written by Angie Lira, Senior Career Services Advisor, and Dan Ambrosio, Career Services Graduate Assistant

photo Angie Lira      photo Dan Ambrosio

Welcome Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson!

Martin Culberson

Martin Culberson

The Career Services Center is thrilled to introduce our new Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson, who brings many years of experience in educational technology and website design to our department.  In the following interview, Mr. Culberson shares his background, passion for technology, and favorite career resources.

Dina Bergren: What program did you complete at Walden and what degree are you currently pursuing?

Martin Culberson:  I completed my M.S. in Education–Integrating Technology in the Classroom degree in 2015, and I am currently pursuing my Doctor of Information Technology (DIT) degree.

 Dina Bergren: What do you enjoy most about being a Walden doctoral student?

 Martin Culberson:  I enjoy the pattern of conducting hours of research punctuated by collaboration with peers and instructors who are doing the same.  This activity may sound tedious to some, but my goal is to make the research come alive and that’s exciting!

 Dina Bergren: What is your technology background?

Martin Culberson:  I’ve always been interested in technology.  As a boy in the 70’s, I built a science fair project featuring punch cards, something I had learned when reading about IBM.  In the 90’s, with the explosion of the computer age and internet, I spent a lot of time working on hardware.  I naturally evolved into software and, in 2013, I designed and programmed a Learning Management System (LMS) for a large K-12 school.  It was a fascinating project and, by simply using a little bit of creativity, I came up with an algorithm that was a big step forward.  This experience led to an interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality, two fields holding much promise for education. 

Dina Bergren:  How do you hope to contribute to the Career Services Center as a Technology Graduate Assistant?

Martin Culberson:  The Career Services Center team have great ideas for building a more dynamic website.  A great website is really the convergence of creative and technical skills into a cohesive presentation.  There should be a dynamic factor in the style, constrained by an aesthetic vision that hints at the underlying depth of real substance.  My hope is to contribute to this creative and technical effort in a meaningful way.

Dina Bergren:  What are your top 5 favorite resources on the Career Services Center website?

Martin Culberson:  My top 5 resources are:

  1. Resumes and CVs tab/OptimalResume. This information is real-world, and it works. I’ve rebuilt my resume and cover letters with these resources and will use OptimalResume in the future.
  2. Quick Answers. If you haven’t tried this tool, I highly recommend it.  Use the Quick Answers box on the Career Services Center home page, type in “resume,” and look at the great information you immediately get for this topic.  QuickAnswers is a powerful search tool.
  3. Webinars. The archived webinars resource is very popular with Walden students, and with good reason.  I’ve used the cover letter and LinkedIn webinars to improve skills in those areas.  The Archived Webinars section is another example of how Career Services delivers real-world tools to address students’ needs.
  4. Quick Start Videos. I watched a video on interview strategies before a sweat-inducing final interview last year.  It was very helpful and gave me confidence in my strategy.
  5. Career Spotlights. It is inspiring to see real people achieving the same goals you hold.  A smiling face and a story of success are great motivators to get you through the tough times.

Dina Bergren:  What do you like to do in your free time? 

Martin Culberson:  My girlfriend and I both have very busy schedules, so we look forward to movies, nice meals, and day trips. I also enjoy writing, and recently published a science fiction novel – I’m now wrestling with the sequel.  Also, I’ve been into strength training for many years, and find lifting heavy weights to be good therapy for a day spent studying!

Dina Bergren:  Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

Martin Culberson: I’m very happy as a student and graduate assistant with Walden.  I encourage everyone to visit the Career Services Center and look around!

 

Written by Walden Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson

Martin Culberson

Edited by Associate Director of Career Services, Dina Bergren

Webinar setup photo Dina

A Face-off with Finance

finance

Thanks to Angie Lira, Senior Career Advisor, for this creative graphic

I haven’t taken a math class in more than 30 years. Balancing my checkbook has been all the math I needed – until now. These days I’m facing off with present values, future values, net present values, and the Dividend Discount Model. I’m in a doctoral level Finance class, which is like climbing Mount Everest without a sherpa or climbing experience!

I know – there are infinitely more important things going on in the world right now – Executive Orders, Cabinet nominations, and world-wide marches. Absolutely! I watch Robert Reich’s “Resistance Reports” nightly and I’m tracking Twitter for the latest breaking news.

However, just in case this article helps others struggling with their own Mount Everests, here it is.

There’s a saying, “Leap and the net will appear.”

When I posted a plea for Finance help on Facebook, a friend suggested I consult local non-profits. I reached out to my local SCORE chapter. A retired finance executive called me to discuss the time value of money for more than an hour! I contacted an alumnus from our university via LinkedIn to ask whether he would consider tutoring me. He is very skilled at explaining financial concepts in layperson’s terms, and we had a very helpful Google Hangout discussion. When I offered to pay for his time, he refused, saying this was his way of “paying it forward.”

I reached out to my instructor – we met via Skype on a weekend. His helpful Excel spreadsheets and explanations made things so clear that I aced my next quiz. I must be catching on now. I just ran a complex course work assignment by a tutor in our university’s Academic Skills Center. He’s a finance expert and he said it looked like I was on the right track. Amazing!

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director, Career Services Center and DBA Student                         Originally published on LinkedIn, February 6, 2017

Lisa

 

“A New Year, A New You!”

angie-and-lisa

What are your career goals for your degree?  Are you targeting a new job, a career change, a raise, or a promotion?  Are you earning your degree to stay competitive in your field?

The start of a new year is the perfect time for career-related self-assessment and goal setting to recharge your batteries.

Ask yourself three simple questions:

  • Will you have work or volunteer experience to qualify you for your future career goal at graduation?
  • Are you proactively building your network and your knowledge of the latest trends in your field through professional associations, LinkedIn groups, and social media sites like Twitter?
  • Is your resume updated with your latest experience, your current degree program, and the expected date of completion for your degree?

Would you have a few minutes to learn how our Career Services Center team can help with these strategies?  We invite you to watch our short “Meet Career Services” video to learn how we can support you in kick starting your career this new year!

For information on upcoming webinars and other programs, please visit our Career Center website.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and productive 2017 from the Career Services Center Team!

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director of Career Services

Lisa

Top 10 Ways to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

linkedin networking

LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site.  Here are 10 ways you can improve your profile for career management and job search success:

  1. Update Your Profile Photo

Make sure you have a professional headshot photo that lets your personality shine through.

  1. Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition in Your Headline

Write a headline that reflects the different “hats” you wear as a professional, your professional passion, or what sets you apart from other professionals in your field.

  1. Use the Summary Section to Tell Your Story

The summary should be more personal than the resume and written in the first person. Highlight your background, major accomplishments, professional passions, and describe your goals.

  1. Customize Your Public Profile URL

Make your LinkedIn URL easier to share by making it shorter.

  1. Click on Profile.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click on the “settings” icon to the right of your URL.
  4. Under Your public profile URL section on the right of the page, click the “edit” icon.
  5. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  6. Click Save.

 

  1. Be Strategic with Groups

Choose 2-3 groups of interest to join.  These can be alumni, skills, or professional groups.  Recruiters are known to seek out talent in groups.

  1. Ask for a Recommendation

Recommendations are essential to a solid profile.  Reach out to former colleagues or supervisors, clients, professors, or vendors.  Make sure that you ask someone who knows you well to write a solid recommendation.

  1. Connect with Coworkers and Walden Classmates

LinkedIn is all about building and cultivating your professional network, so reach out to those around you and invite them to connect.  This is an easy way to build your network.

  1. Share Your Professional and Academic Accomplishments

Attract attention by adding visual representations of your work to your profile.  Upload videos, images, documents and presentations.

  1. Showcase Professional Expertise and Writing Skills through the Self-Publishing Feature

LinkedIn makes it easy to share your knowledge through its self-publishing feature.  You can write a book review, share how you have applied your learning to the workplace, or write about your subject matter expertise.

  1. Utilize the New ‘Open Candidates’ Job Search Feature

LinkedIn lets users privately alert recruiters that they are open to new job opportunities. On the Jobs tab, go to Update your preferences to indicate:

  • The types of jobs sought
  • Preferred experience level
  • Locations desired
  • Preferred industries
  • Preferred company size

Updating your profile using these 10 improvements could make the difference between being overlooked for a position or called for an interview.

To learn more ways to improve your LinkedIn profile and experience, view the Career Services Center’s LinkedIn Webinar Series.

 By Nicolle Skalski, Senior Career Services Advisor

Nicolle