Gearing up for Competition off the Field

March 23, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On a Sunday afternoon, student-athletes piled one after another into the team rooms at McDonough Arena. Their clothing was a little different - no team-issued sweats, or sneakers - instead the mandatory attire was khakis, shirts and ties, skirts and blouses. On this day, these student-athletes are not here for team meetings. Instead, Georgetown student-athletes ranging from sophomores to seniors attended a career development workshop.

The student-athlete skill development workshop was the first of its kind for the athletic department. Georgetown Athletics is integrating a career development aspect into its Leadership Academy and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). The workshop lays the groundwork for a career once the student-athletes' time on the Hilltop has come to a close. 

"It's incredibly beneficial for our student-athletes to not only understand the interview process, but the skills they need to demonstrate during their internships, and early employment to move forward with their careers," said Augie Maurelli, the Assistant Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Leadership and Performance. "It's extremely important for our student-athletes to hear this from professionals in the real world. The one-on-one interaction and quality skill development that our panelists were able to provide helps to enable our student-athletes to manage through what is a difficult job-hunt right now."

Georgetown hosted six employers at the workshop including Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse, Coca-Cola, Georgetown Athletics, Georgetown Hospital and Q-Industries. Panelists covered simple business etiquette, what students should be doing to earn a summer internship in this tough economy, how to set themselves apart from other candidates for the job and leadership skills in the workplace. Students were inspired by the panelists' individual stories that told of how they got to be where they are today, with four out of the six panelists being former student-athletes during their college years.

"I thought the career skills workshop on Sunday was very helpful," said junior Norah Swanson, a member of women's soccer team, SAAC and a veteran Leadership Academy member. "The employers were all very nice, and they represented a variety of career fields. It was also great that many of them had been college athletes; I felt as though they could better relate to our situation ... I felt as though I am now much more knowledgeable about how to prepare for an interview and the types of things that stand out in an interview."

The guest speakers addressed the importance of life beyond the court, playing field or water. Students asked questions during the panel, and each business representative then positioned themselves around the room and broke into smaller groups, giving one-on-one insight and pointers to the soon-to-be young professionals anxious to launch their careers.

"I enjoyed listening to all of the speakers; they were very engaging and knowledgeable about their jobs, and what it takes to get there", said junior football player Chudi Obianwu, who is also a SAAC member and veteran leader in the Leadership Academy. "The small group, and intimate setting was also very beneficial to myself. It was easy to interact with each professional and have my questions answered."

Come May, many GU student-athletes will prepare for competition off the court and outside the world of athletics. It is one of SAAC's areas of focus to incorporate career development into its curriculum to aid a smooth transition of the student-athletes once they leave Georgetown to pursue their future endeavors.

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