Podcast

3 Ways Penn Implements Career Everywhere

Michael DeAngelis, Senior Associate Director of Communications and Technology for the Career Center at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about three ways his team implements Career Everywhere.

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Michael DeAngelis, Senior Associate Director of Communications and Technology for the Career Center at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about three ways his team implements Career Everywhere. 

Those three tactics include:

1. Starting a Career Champions program

Launched in Fall 2023, Penn’s new Career Champion program empowers faculty and staff on campus to have meaningful career conversations with students. DeAngelis and his team have built an entire resources page on their virtual career center dedicated to Career Champions, with training videos, resources, faculty and staff profiles, and a regular newsletter.  

“A Career Champion is someone who is willing to have those kinds of career conversations and is knowledgeable about the resources and the processes that Penn Career Services has in place so that they can direct their student to us or say, ‘You know where you should be looking? You should be looking on Interstride or CareerShift, or do you know about these Vault guides?’ So that they’re comfortable having those conversations and we’re all on the same page,” DeAngelis said.

2. Strategically sharing student stories

The University of Pennsylvania provides summer funding grants to students who need financial help for summer internships, volunteering, research, and other opportunities. In addition to helping award those grants, DeAngelis and his team also ask every student recipient to provide a blog post about their internship or other experience. After funding over 150 students last year, the Penn Career Services team had enough blog content to last them an entire year.

“We know students like hearing from their peers. We know students love seeing their peers highlighted. And it’s really great to get the first-person perspective. So these blogs are great advertising to let people know that we have this funding, and here’s an example of someone who got it,” DeAngelis said.

“It gives people a great view of all the different things that Penn students do, all the different industries they work in, all the different research experiences that they have, all the different volunteer experiences that they have. It just shows the diversity of opportunities that are available and that are pursued.”

3. Producing the CS Radio podcast

DeAngelis, a theatre major, is right at home behind the mic and hosts a popular podcast for Penn Career Services called CS Radio. Featuring career-related discussions and interviews with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and more, the podcast boasts about 200 episodes. DeAngelis said many students have come into the office after hearing an episode, and he also mentioned that the podcast is popular among parents.

“A lot of parents would love to have more insight into their students’ lives on campus. And particularly their careers, what they’re going through, and the career conversations that are happening on campus. And they get to hear it straight from us without having to involve their child,” DeAngelis said.

Resources from the episode:

Transcript

Meredith Metsker:

Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Career Everywhere podcast. I’m your host Meredith Metsker, and today I am joined by Michael DeAngelis. He’s the senior associate director of communications and technology for the career center at the University of Pennsylvania. Thank you for being here, Michael.

Michael DeAngelis:

It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I’m so glad to have you. Like I said in our prep call, I’ve been wanting to have you on the podcast for a while now, so I’m so excited you’re here, and I am super excited to talk to you today about a few different ways you and your team are implementing Career Everywhere there at Penn. And I know we talked in your prep call about a Career Champion program, some specific ways you’re sharing student stories, and a Career Services podcast that your team is producing. So I’m excited to dig into all of those. And-

Michael DeAngelis:

Yes, I’m in my natural habitat here on our podcast.

Meredith Metsker:

I was going to say we didn’t have to do any prep, because you know the deal. You’ve done this many, many times before. So before I get into my more specific questions, Michael, is there anything else you want to add about yourself, your background, or your role there at Penn?

Michael DeAngelis:

Yes. So I am approaching my 20th year at Penn, which I can’t believe, and almost all of that time has been spent in Career Services. It’s a place that I really love being a part of the team there, and really appreciate that it’s a role that has really grown with me. And so the podcast and a lot of social media initiatives that I’ve started have all sort of become part of my job that were all just extra things that I were doing.

And I really appreciate that because I was a theater major as an undergrad, and so I did not envision that I’d end up spending 20 years working in Career Services. But I use a lot of that background to not only do the work that I do in Career Services, but to have conversations with students about the many different ways your career might turn out.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. I remember when we first met at NACE a couple of years ago, you mentioned that you were a theater major, and I think it was after I had done an interview with you, and I was like, “That doesn’t shock me in the slightest. That makes so much sense.”

Michael DeAngelis:

Yes, put a theater major on camera. We’re happy as we can be.

Meredith Metsker:

Or a former journalism major like me.

Michael DeAngelis:

Oh, excellent. Yep.

Meredith Metsker:

Cool. All right. Well, before I get into the more topic-based questions, I want to kick us off with a question I ask all of our guests, and that’s what does Career Everywhere mean to you?

Michael DeAngelis:

Well, that’s a great question. Career Everywhere, which I think is a great term because it really does encapsulate what your career journey is because it is not just any one thing, and it doesn’t take place necessarily just in one place.

So particularly for an undergraduate student or a graduate student, someone still in school, they’re getting their career advice from Career Services hopefully. But also from their professors, their peers, their colleagues if they’re doing a job or an internship, or if they’re working in a lab. Staff.

When I think back on my time as an undergrad, the person who influenced my career more than anyone was an administrative staff person in the theater department. He was my boss eventually, but I met him just because he was the department admin. And he influenced the career decisions that I make. To this day, I think about the advice that he gave me.

So we know that you are literally getting career advice everywhere, and so we are trying to embrace at Penn Career Services this idea that we want to partner with everybody at the university, give them tools to help have those conversations, and make sure that we’re all on the same page. Everybody sort of has the same understanding about how recruiting works, about how the graduate school application process works, all those sorts of things so that when they are talking with students, they have up-to-date contemporary advice and they know what resources are available to them and their students on the campus.

Meredith Metsker:

Well said. That was a really great overview of Career Everywhere. And it was making me reflect a little bit on my early career journey or when I was still in college, and how one of the people who was most influential over my career path was someone I only took one class with. It was a public relations professor. I took one intro to PR class with her, but she was the one that told me about an internship at the local newspaper, and that internship led to a job after graduation. And I never would’ve known about it if she hadn’t said something, and I only had her for that one class.

Michael DeAngelis:

Yeah. It’s those sorts of things that make the biggest difference. So we’re really trying to encourage those conversations, encourage our faculty and staff to say, “Hey, I know about this thing that you might be interested in.” Or just to be say, “If you want to talk about your career, you can talk to me.”

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, yeah, that’s great. It makes so much sense to just have everybody on the same page when it comes to career conversations, so that anytime any student approaches anyone, they’re prepared to have that conversation.

Michael DeAngelis:

Exactly.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. Well now, I would love to dig into our topic today, which again is about a few different ways your team is implementing Career Everywhere. And again, we talked about a Career Champion programs, some cool ways of sharing student stories, and then your career center’s podcast. So to kick us off, can you just give me a brief overview of each of those strategies?

Michael DeAngelis:

Sure. So let’s start with the Career Champions program, which is new. We just launched it this fall. It is something that we definitely took from uConnect. It’s something that we first learned about during a uConnect webinar that was showcasing some uConnect partner schools who had similar programs.

And so for a year or two, we just were ruminating on this idea and what might this look like at Penn. So last summer, I asked uConnect if they would connect me with some of those folks, and I did a little bit of a case study of all these different Career Champions programs that were happening across campuses. And they all looked very different, and I was trying to figure out what pieces of them could we take that would work best for me and my staff.

What we’ve launched, we have sort of an idea that this program will grow over time. But what we did was two years ago, two summers ago, we started with a Career Champions conference. We did a virtual conference over the summer, over the course of two days, maybe three days the first time. And we asked Career Services staff as well as some of our partners across campus to present to faculty and staff at the university about various career topics that might be useful in their own career journeys, but would also give them insight to the way we work and the tools that are available to their students, so that it would be in their head. So that when the semester started and they were talking with students, they’d be like, “I heard about this great resource from this conference and I can direct my students there.”

So we did that for two years. It was a really popular program. I’m sure we’ll be doing it again this summer. Brought a lot of attention from faculty and staff. And at the end of the last one, we announced that we would be starting a formal Career Champions program, and we put a call out to the attendees. “If you’re interested, please sign up.”

We set up a community on our uConnect page for Career Champions that houses sort of our most popular resources, the things, the kind of go-tos that are most frequently accessed, as well as a way to sign up for our newsletter.

And so the newsletter launched at the start of the fall semester, and we just put out the second issue today. And so we’re really using that newsletter as a really multipurpose platform, because we’re making little training videos in it, two to four minute videos on topics that we get asked about a lot. Today’s issue includes one about recruiting timelines for different industries, how we leverage student outcome data, and talking about extracurriculars on your resume, which we know is something that students have a lot of questions about.

We feature staff profiles. Eventually, we want to profile our Career Champion, so we’ve asked everybody to fill out a little form with a bio and what they’re interested in. Highlight upcoming events. We’ve got one more career fair this semester. We have a pre-med orientation program that’s mandatory for any student who wants to be part of the pre-med process next year, be applying to med school.

So we just wanted to get those sorts of things out in front of our faculty and staff. It’s gone really well. It’s been well received. We have 27 currently, which I’m pretty happy with for something that’s only a few months old. And like I said, we’re hoping to grow that. It’ll be essentially a twice a semester newsletter, probably one check-in over the summer. And then as it grows, maybe we’ll do some in-person events. Maybe we’ll do some in-person trainings. But we’re trying to build momentum through the newsletter.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. So I am curious, is it mostly faculty that are your champions so far? Is it faculty and staff? Any alumni?

Michael DeAngelis:

It’s faculty and staff. At the beginning, we’re not opening this to alumni yet, so we’re focused on faculty and staff. Right now, it’s skewed a little more towards staff as far as who has signed up, but we do have several faculty members on board as well, as well as some university leadership. The vice provost and the associate vice provost are both on there, so we’re very appreciative that they’ve joined up. Yeah.

Meredith Metsker:

That’s awesome.

Michael DeAngelis:

Well, we report to them, so it’s very nice that they took an interest.

Meredith Metsker:

So what does it mean to be a Career Champion at Penn?

Michael DeAngelis:

That’s a great question, and I think it’s something we’re still figuring out. But what I want it to be is just someone who is willing to have those kinds of career conversations and is knowledgeable about the resources and the processes that Penn Career Services has in place so that they can direct their student to us or say, “You know where you should be looking? You should be looking on Interstride, or CareerShift, or do you know about these vault guides?” So that they’re comfortable having those conversations and we’re all on the same page.

On Penn’s campus, and I’m sure on a lot of campuses, faculty and staff often have some sort of sticker on the door that identifies them as a safe person to talk to about various things, whether that’s being a LGBTQ ally, or we have one for a mental health ally. So eventually we’d like to have a badge that says, “I’m a Career Champion,” that just is a little indicator that if you have career questions, I’m a good person to talk to.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. That would be really cool. I’m curious, you mentioned that you include some training videos in these newsletters and things like that. What are you covering in those trainings?

Michael DeAngelis:

So we’re trying to have a nice, split the difference between practical trainings and just covering informational topics. So on the practical side, my colleague Joseph did a 99 second overview of CareerShift, which is a really popular and powerful tool that we have as career exploration tool. So he walked people through how to use it. He did some example searches. He showed how you can leverage that when you combine it with our alumni database. You could find someone who say works at Google and they’re a Penn alum, so then you can contact them through the alumni database and say, “Hey, I’m a Penn person. I found your contact information on CareerShift,” have those kinds of conversations.

And then as I said, I did some brief interviews with other colleagues. So my colleague Emily, who is in charge of doing all of our outcomes reporting, talked about where you can find those reports. We now have interactive reports on our site, how you can leverage them. How they can help with both practical decision-making, but also career exploration. And our director of employer relations sat down with me and talked about the differences in recruiting timelines between industries, why certain students are really stressed out at the start of semester, and other ones are stressed out later on. And what advice you can give to students in your class or that you are working with in other ways who have questions about, “Am I too late? I see my peers are getting offers, but I haven’t even had an interview.” So that was a really great conversation.

And then finally, my colleague Natty sat down with me and talked about the different ways that you can highlight your extracurriculars on a resume, which is really talking about how to highlight skills and leadership experience.

And they’re all pretty short. The longest one was the conversation with the employer relations director. That was about four minutes. The others are about two minutes. Joseph did his in a minute and a half. We really want them to be digestible. I put right in the description in the newsletter, “This video is two minutes, this one’s four minutes,” so you know I’m not going to click into it, and then it’s a 45 minute, two hour video, so that it’s really something that we really want people to watch, and they’re easy to absorb.

And then of course, they also will live in the Career Champions community on the Career Services website. So it’ll be a little repository of them there. So if they need to go back and have a refresher or if they miss the newsletter, they’ll always be there.

Meredith Metsker:

I love that. And I suppose that makes it easy for new Career Champions who just sign up to immediately go to this resources page on your website, go through all of these trainings, all these resources, so that they can immediately feel like they are involved.

Michael DeAngelis:

Exactly. And in talking with some of our peer institutions who were doing either in person or virtual, but real time trainings, you have to come to this thing for an hour and a half or a day in some cases. We thought that’s a big time drain on us as well as on our Career Champion. So how can we get that information out there in digestible chunks, that doesn’t require a lot of time from anybody? Not from my staff, and not from the people that we’re asking to take in this information.

And I think that we’ll see how it goes. This is our first batch of videos, but I am really hoping that they’re going to be well received, and that this will be a great way for, just as you said, for people who are coming in late, if they just heard about it now and they missed the first two issues of the newsletter, it’s on the site. Or someone just remembers months from now that they’re talking with a student, has questions about recruiting timelines, they’re like, “I know there was a video about that,” and they can go and find it on the website. So really looking forward to growing that repository of knowledge, and keeping it fresh and evergreen so that it doesn’t become stale.

Meredith Metsker:

Right. Yeah. Because hopefully you’ll be getting new Career Champions all the time.

Michael DeAngelis:

That’s our hope.

Meredith Metsker:

I’m curious, why did you decide to start a program like this?

Michael DeAngelis:

That’s a great question. There’s certainly been a trend in the higher education in general of integrating Career Services or career education into academic programs. We were starting to hear a lot of that at NACE and eastern ACE, and other conferences, and hearing it from our peers. And that is not something that’s currently feasible at the University of Pennsylvania, just given the way the school is structured. We’re 11 different schools. That’s one university, and everyone operates very independently from one another. And we are the central career office for all those places. So we’re connected with everybody, but maybe the dental school doesn’t talk as much to the engineering school as you would expect or not expect.

But we realized that getting something, particularly at the undergraduate level, getting a class or getting real buy-in from the academic side of things to integrate these things into the classroom was going to be a challenge. So why not just do our best to get all of the information that we have out into the hands of the people that are teaching classes and that are working with students in different ways, so that it is better integrated into campus life, if not into the classroom?

And the other thing is, of course, as we said from the beginning, we know those conversations are happening anyway. You and I both had experiences talking with faculty and staff that really shaped our careers. So let’s just make sure that the Penn faculty and staff are really well-equipped to have those conversations and to know what resources are available to the students, and that they can share with them directly or just refer them to us.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. Yeah, never hurts to have more Career Champions across campus who can refer more students to you. Okay. Well, before I move on to the next strategy, is there anything else that you want to add about the Career Champion program?

Michael DeAngelis:

No, I’m just really excited about it. I’ve been really hyper-focused on it the last year, and trying to figure out what it will be. I think it’s going to evolve as it grows, which I’m excited about. But I’m really encouraged by how it’s gone so far.

And I’m really enjoying the opportunity to help create the content, because I feel like I’m learning things from my colleagues too that are maybe not part of my daily job in Career Services. So I feel like I’m picking up things just by doing these videos with them.

Meredith Metsker:

That’s partly why I love doing this podcast too, because I get to learn new things every time I interview somebody. Okay. Very cool. Well now, I would love to move on to the student story strategy. So can you tell me a little bit more about what that entails and why you started doing it?

Michael DeAngelis:

Yeah. I consider the sharing student stories to be a major part of my job, especially since my title changed to include communications in the title. We’ve been doing it for a long time. I’ve just been trying to, again, just kind of grow it and be able to share student stories in different ways and in different places.

So a couple of ways that we do this, we’re very lucky that the university supports us with a summer funding grant. So students who are pursuing unpaid or underpaid opportunities for summer, or maybe have a nice opportunity that is paid, but it’s on the other side of the country, and they’re going to need housing expenses, or just to travel there would be a challenge. So they can apply for a funding grant, and we have a generous amount of money that we can distribute to students to pursue these opportunities.

One of the things that we decided when that became a reality was that we would ask each student who receives a grant to share a piece of writing with us that I could put on our blog.

So we fund a really generous amount of students. Last year, I think it was 150, 160, something like that. Yeah. So that’s a lot of blogs. That’s a lot of blog content.

And it’s great, because we know that students like hearing from their peers. We know that students love seeing their peers highlighted. And it’s really great to get the first person perspective. So those blogs are great, because it’s great advertising to let people know that we have this funding, and here’s an example of someone who got it.

It gives people a great view of all the different things that Penn students do, all the different industries that they work in, all the different research experiences that they have, all the different volunteer experiences that they have. It just shows the diversity of opportunities that are available and that are pursued.

Because I do think sometimes, particularly because we have a very famous business school on campus with the Wharton School, there is the feeling that Career Services is skewed heavily towards supporting finance and consulting and technology jobs. And those are the big three. I would be lying if I said the majority of undergraduate students didn’t go into one of those three fields.

But we’re a big campus, so even after you have the majority, that’s still a lot of students going into a really huge variety of things. Healthcare, education, entertainment, communication, social work, nursing. We have a nursing school.

So I like that we have sort of living proof of all the different things that people are doing. They provide pictures, they write really great essays. And so basically every other day, we’re posting a new student story. And then of course, because of the way our website is structured and the way the uConnect engine powers it, we’re able to then tag, if someone participated in a research project, a science project, we can tag that to our life and physical sciences community. And when students are looking at that page, then they see all of the relevant blogs of students who worked in the sciences, retail, entertainment, consulting. So when you go to those pages, we actually have a section called Penn Student Spotlights, and those blogs are pulled out and highlighted right there. So that’s something I’m really excited about. And then of course, we use that as a springboard to create social media content as well. Their students are providing us with great pictures. Excuse me.

So on Fridays, my colleague Megan kind of goes through recent blogs, picks one that was really interesting, and then highlights that. We have students Spotlight Friday on Instagram highlights. Takes a little quote from the blog, one or two of the pictures, the student headshot, and we have a nice little template that we showcase them that way.

This year, I made sure to ask the students when they submit their blog to also give us their social media handles and give us permission to tag them, because that’s a great way to get eyes. People get excited when they’re tagged in things, or when they see their friends tagged in things, and then they get reshared that way.

And then we’ve then sort of evolved that into a video on social media and on YouTube. This was something I had started pre-Covid. We were doing some pretty good student interviews, and then Covid happened, and all sorts of things happened, and we just sort of fell away from it.

But this year, I’m really lucky to have a work study student who is just really invested in doing video production with me and is really good at it, and has a really good sense of what students want to see. So when I interviewed him for the job, the first thing he asked was if he could have a talk show. And I was like, “If you can make that happen, you can have a talk show.”

So we’ve just done, the first episode is out, the second episode is in production. And he is sitting down with students and having approximately half an hour conversations with them about their summer experiences. So again, I gave him access to the blogs. He can pull from that, see who did something interesting. But we also have a summer survey where we ask students about their work experience, what did they do the summer? Did they take classes or work? And one of the questions is, “Would you be willing to share your summer story with the broader Penn community?” So I gave him the list of all the people that said yes to that, and he’s sitting down and having some great conversations with them.

In addition, he has started doing some short form content where he goes out on Locust Walk, which is the main sort of walkway on our campus with a tiny microphone, and he just stops people on the walk and asks them Career Services questions. And that’s been the most popular thing that we have put out on social media. He’s very personable. It’s great kind of stopping random people. He gets their tags, he tags them. There’s lots of comments on them that are like, “Oh my God, Jill,” their friends are seeing each other. So I’m really pleased with that.

And again, it’s just a really great, fun way to get student faces out there. Even with those little Locust Walk interviews, those aren’t necessarily student stories, because he’s asking them random questions, Career Services facts. But we want as much as possible, our social media and our communications to be very student facing and student forward.

And it gets a lot of attention. The Penn communications office office who puts out a daily newsletter, Penn news today, they often pinging me and say, “We saw so-and-so had a really interesting blog. Can you get us in touch with them? Because we’d like to highlight it in this.” Or the alumni magazine, the parents’ magazine pulled four or five students from our summer blog this year, and re-interviewed them, and had them highlighted in the parents’ magazine. So it’s a really, really great PR tool for us in addition to being a celebration of all the great things that Penn students do.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I would say so. That’s really cool that not only is it getting attention on your channels, but it’s getting picked up by the university newsletter and the parents’ magazine, the alumni magazine. That is super cool, and I imagine continues to elevate the career center as a huge player on campus.

Michael DeAngelis:

That’s our goal. It doesn’t always feel that way, but we’re appreciative for any attention that we get.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Well, it sounds like you’re doing incredible work on that front. I’m curious, in these blog posts or these essays that the students write about their experiences, do you give them prompts or do they just kind of come up with their own format? How does that work?

Michael DeAngelis:

Yeah. Because we’ve been doing this for so long… I think this is our seventh year, sixth or seventh year being able to give funding. There are a lot of examples. So when we give them the instructions, we say, “You can look at past examples here.” But it’s very free. I want them to feel that they can say whatever they like and describe their experience in a way that suits them best.

I, for many years, acted as a sort of general editor. So only very rarely have we gotten one where I’m like, “Well, we just won’t put this one on the website.” For a variety of reasons. Either it was maybe not the most positive. I can only think of one time where that happened. Or it was sort of hastily written, or not long enough, just a paragraph or two that just wasn’t substantive.

But otherwise, we basically put them out as is. I’m very grateful my colleague Gareth has sort of taken charge of getting those blogs posted and acting as the editor in my stead now as I’ve taken on different other duties. And he does a really great job of organizing that and getting them posted on a regular basis.

So like I said, there’s so many. It really takes us a full year to post all of the blogs. I think that we’ve literally posted the last three blogs from 2022 the week before the 2023 school year started. So it really gives us a full year of content.

And there’s an undergraduate funding program, and now there’s a separate grad student funding program too. So between them, we had hundreds of blogs to publish. And that’s in addition to, like I said, those are every other day. On the alternate days, my staff is contributing to the blog. So we have something new on the blog every day, or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Meredith Metsker:

Every day. Wow, that’s-

Michael DeAngelis:

Every weekday. Yeah, Monday through Friday.

Meredith Metsker:

Wow. Yeah, I was just thinking as a marketer, I’m thinking this is such a smart strategy because you have your pillar piece of content with these blogs, that you don’t even have to create. They’re created for you, and then you can just create tons of content off of them for a year. That’s the dream. That’s great.

Michael DeAngelis:

It is great. We’ve had a blog for a really long time. The first iteration of our blog I think was 2010. And particularly at that time, some of the staff was really skeptical about it, and definitely felt like, “This is a huge ask. You’re now asking me to write content on a pretty regular basis.”

So before we had the student blogs, people were having to contribute two or three blogs a semester each, because I was really adamant that something go up every day. That’s always been the goal. And we have a large staff, so it is possible to make that happen. But once we started getting student content into, I was like, “Okay, we can go down to two days a week staff content, three days a week student content.” And now of course, thanks to uConnect having external feeds that we can bring in. So if it’s my turn to write a blog and I just am too busy, I can find something from The Muse or one of the other external partners and publish that on our feed. So that’s been a big help as well. But my staff writes great content, and I find that those are often really heavily viewed blogs when it’s a topic written by one of my peers.

Meredith Metsker:

Nice. That’s super cool. And for those who are watching or listening, I’ll be sure to include links to some examples of these student stories, to the virtual career centers, to the blogs, so you can see all of these things that we’re talking about. Well, Michael, before I move on to the podcast strategy that y’all are doing, is there anything else you want to add about the student story strategy?

Michael DeAngelis:

I think there’s one more way in that we tell student stories, which is through our outcomes data. What better way to share a story by then literally telling you what our students are doing after graduation?

So we work hard, really, really hard on getting good outcome data from our graduates. We try and launch our first destination survey as early as possible without freaking people out. We have definitely had that problem where we launched it early in the spring and students were like, “Oh my God, I haven’t even started my job search yet.” It’s a difficult thing. Particularly again, because it’s such a diverse campus in terms of what people are pursuing. A lot of folks maybe went through early recruiting that are going into finance. And they might know. At the start of their senior year, they’re already locked into a job for post-graduation. So they know September, October, they can tell us right away.

But if I am an English major or sciences and I’ve not started that process, those sorts of opportunities aren’t even available to me yet because they’re going to do as needed hiring. There isn’t really a formal recruiting process. It could freak me out a little to be asked too early what I’m doing.

So we’ve tried to find the right balance, and then we do a lot of follow-up. We do a lot of follow-up, and confirming, and research, looking on LinkedIn, and trying to get students to confirm what they’re doing post-graduation that we have a really robust dataset.

And my colleague, Emily, who works directly under me, who is our associate director for data visualizations and analysis, has put all of these outcome reports into Power BI, which is an interactive product from Microsoft so that you can look at the graduation report and filter it three ways to Sunday.

You want to look at just a particular major. You can see what just that major is doing. You can look at it over time. We have data going back to 2018 in the interactive report. So you could say, “Just show me the class of 2023,” or, “Show me what all English majors did the last five years, the last six years.” You can look at it by geographical region.

We have a new report that’s coming online soon. Actually, probably by the time you’re listening to this, it will be online, which is our industry report. Will you be able to look at things by industry or job function instead of saying, “Well, what did the English majors do?” Well, no, let’s look at who went into publishing. Oh, look, this was a philosophy major, or those all sorts of things. Or, what do people do?

We can look at Google and what were all the job functions that Google. A writer, a media producer, because even though Google is the technology industry, they have all sorts of jobs. They need accountants, they need finance people, they need media people, advertising people. So there’s all sorts of things that are available, and I just love that instead of it being… Although we made very, very nice reports, it was my job for over a decade to put those PDF style reports together. I just am so excited that they’re interactive now and more robust. And I think it’s just so great for our students, first and foremost, but also our Career Champions who can take a look at that. And also, employers who can look at that and see, sort of get industry trends and salary information off of that. So I really feel that that is another way that we’re sharing our student stories with the world.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Yeah, it sounds like it. And I bet parents also are eyeballing on those outcomes data as well.

Michael DeAngelis:

Absolutely, yes.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay, very cool. Well, now I would love to move on to your career center’s podcast. So can you just tell me a little bit about, again, what that entails and why you decided to start it?

Michael DeAngelis:

Yeah, absolutely. So the show’s called CS Radio. We’re currently in our ninth season. We’re almost at episode 200. We just recorded 192. The way it started was nine years ago, I had had the idea… I’m a big podcast person, I love podcasts. So I had had the idea in the back of my head that it was something we could do and probably should do, but I wasn’t sure who the person in my office to do it with. I didn’t think it should just be me. I really wanted to involve someone who works more directly with students, because that’s not my role.

And a former colleague, [inaudible 00:39:32], who had moved out of the country, moved back to the country and got rehired in Career Services. And on her first day I went into her office, I was like, “I’m so glad you’re back. I think we should do a podcast.” And she said, “Oh, did they tell you?” And I said, “Tell me what?” She goes, “When they interviewed me, they asked me what new ideas I had, and I said podcast.”

Meredith Metsker:

No way.

Michael DeAngelis:

“I’m so glad you’re back.” So we just did it. Our director at the time, Pat Rose, who was a tremendous leader and a great advocate, was very encouraging for us to experiment. So we just went ahead and recorded an episode. I brought in a faculty member who I’m friendly with, who has had a really interesting career himself and has a variety of different jobs outside of academia. We had a really great conversation with him, played it for the boss, and we said, “We’d like to do this every week.” And she was like, “Great.”

So it originally went up on our blog. And then eventually, I learned the nuances of podcasting, and we got it up on iTunes and all the different platforms as it grew.

It was just another way for us to have career conversations. We would interview members of our staff. We would interview students, faculty and staff, occasionally alumni or outside guests.

But what we always wanted the show to be was a conversation between two friends who were really knowledgeable about the topics they were talking about. And I think that’s where we really succeeded. I mean, [inaudible 00:41:34] really is one of my best friends outside of the office, so we have a very natural rapport. And we’ve both been in Career Services a long time at that point. So we were knowledgeable on the topics.

And so we would just have conversations. And the early feedback that we got was, it just is nice to hear two people having a friendly conversation, and then I’m learning things along the way.

Sadly, [inaudible 00:42:07] eventually moved on and left Pen, but I brought on a new co-host Natty, who I have a similar rapport with. And we just love doing it. And occasionally, we will do things like an article review if we’ve seen something interesting Inside Higher Ed, or The Muse, or something like that. We have a conversation about the article. We love having guests on. We’ve had some interesting alumni on recently. We just had a Wharton alum on who gave up his career in real estate investments to open a brewery and sushi restaurant.

Yeah, and it was an incredible conversation. And he had so many great things to say about the value of a liberal arts education and how that helped him pivot into this unexpected career.

So again, much like you said, I love having those conversations because I feel like I learned something. And if nothing else, at the end of the day, it’s an hour of my workday where I just get to talk with a friend. So it’s great.

We’ve had some really, really spectacular student producers. I was super lucky that I had two producers that I had all four years from the time they were freshmen until they graduated. And now I’ve got a really great producer. His name’s Sam Pasco. He’s brought a lot of great ideas to table. He enjoys being on microphone in a way that my previous producers didn’t do. So he’ll interject or we’ll throw a question to him, and that’s been great. That’s brought a new sort of flavor to the show.

So we definitely enjoyed it. It has been… It certainly does not bring in My Favorite Murder numbers or anything like that, but we know that it gets listened to. I get a lot of comments from peer institutions. If I’m at a conference, I definitely get, “You’re the CS Radio guy.” I get that a lot. I know it’s popular among, again, faculty and staff on campus. I’ve been stopped by them, complimented.

And by students, both Natty and [inaudible 00:44:33], I know have been in appointments and have had students said, “Well, I came in because I heard you on the podcast.” But also parents. The only people who ever write to us or give us shout outs on social media are parents. And I totally get that. I think it’s another great service that the podcast provides, which is a lot of parents would love to have more insight into their students’ lives on campus. And particularly, their careers, and what they’re going through, and the career conversations that are happening on campus. And they get to hear it straight from us without having to involve their child.

And so that has been, I think, really great. I think some parents have encouraged their students to come see one of us after hearing the podcast or have been able to have conversations with their student because they learned something on the podcast.

So it’s great. Again, it’s something that we’re known for. So it’s another great way of having Career Services recognized. And I’m very grateful, because it’s something I enjoy doing. And so it keeps me very satisfied with my work. And I can’t wait for us to hit episode 200. We got to do something spectacular, but I don’t know what it’s going to be yet.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Maybe a recap episode, greatest hits of the last 200. There’s so many things to do.

Michael DeAngelis:

So for our hundredth episode… It’s going to be hard to top our hundredth. For our hundredth episode, we did my favorite thing of all time. We did a two part episode about the similarities between doing a case interview and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

So for the first part, I had Career Services staff play a game of Dungeons and Dragons. None of them had ever played before, but they were all experienced doing case interviews. And then after the session, we talked about, “Well, what were some of the things that were similar? Was the thinking process the same, the decision-making process, the problem solving process, the improvisation of it all?” You don’t know what case you’re going to be given when you go into an interview.

And then in episode 101, the second part, I brought in some friends of mine who are experienced gamers, and we gave them a case interview, and they aced it, and they were able to talk really eloquently about the similarities, how their gaming experience helped them solve the case. So those are two of my favorite things we’ve ever done, so it’s going to be hard to come up with something of that caliber for 200.

Meredith Metsker:

Oh man, that’s awesome. That is so creative. I love that. I’m going to have to go listen to those. I’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons, but I am sure I would enjoy it.

Michael DeAngelis:

It’s a ton of fun. In fact… I never did it. I could never figure out a way that I think it would’ve worked. But some students heard that episode and approached me about doing a workshop where we played D&D and then talked about it in terms of doing a case interview. And I was excited by the idea, but teaching people how to play Dungeons and Dragons is sort of a time intensive thing, so I couldn’t figure out a way that I could make that work on a sustainable basis.

But sort of out of that and out of some other conversations we were having, I did create, pulling from my theater background, I have a workshop that I do, which is improv techniques for interviewing. Because we heard from a lot of people, particularly faculty who were running fellowship interviews, prepping people for Rhode Scholars and things like that, that Penn students were really great about talking about their academics and about their research, but they could not talk about themselves very easily. Or if you took the conversation off the tracks just a little to be a more broad conversation about the application of your research, they got real unsteady.

So I created this improv workshop where we play different improv games to help you speak freely off the top of your mind, to be able to deal with sudden shifts in conversation, and to understand that there are no wrong answers. Particularly in a behavioral interview.

If someone asks you what your favorite book is, a lot of students… And I can remember being in interview situations myself and having the same moment where I go, “What do they want me to say? If I say my favorite book and they think that’s a stupid book, is that my job? Did I just blow this interview?” No, of course not. They just want to know something about you, and maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe that’s their favorite book too, and you can have a whole conversation about that.

But just being able to be in the moment and answer the question. So that’s something I offer on the regular now, and it’s something I really enjoy doing.

Meredith Metsker:

Oh, that’s really neat. Wow. I just love this whole concept of this improv class that you teach, but also the podcast, and just how you’re bringing in so many stakeholders across campus to share their stories. I’m assuming talking about their career journeys.

Michael DeAngelis:

Yep. That’s my favorite conversation to have. All the different things we talk about, whenever we’re able to have a guest on and tell us, “So how did you get from there to here?” It’s never a straight line. Right? It’s never a straight line.

I mean, even for me, even though I’ve been in this job almost two decades, even within Career Services, I’ve gone like this. Because I’ve had a lot of different roles in the office, and they aren’t naturally springboards from one to the other. But I was able to either bring something new to the table or see a gap in what we were offering. And like I said, I would just start doing those things as extra things. And then suddenly over time, they became my job, which what more could you ask for?

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah. Career paths are never linear. And honestly, I think that makes it more fun and more interesting.

Michael DeAngelis:

Yeah, absolutely. And we recently had… Actually a friend of mine, someone I went to college with who was also, we were theater majors together. And she went from being a director, a state theater director, to a fitness instructor, to a sex and relationships blogger, to now she just published her second book on depression and mental health. So what a variety of things.

And yet when you hear her story, you see how happened, how things evolved over time. And how though she’s not a theater director anymore, how those skills that she trained for are still informing her work today.

So that’s what I love. And I hope that when students hear those things, that they really absorb it and say, “Oh.” Whenever we talk with students, and I do a little bit of student advising, but if Natty, or [inaudible 00:52:47], or any of my peers were working with a student and they’re racking their brain about, “I have this offer, but I don’t really know that that’s what I want to do, and what about this one?” And they’re trying to weigh things. In the end, they’re probably both really good offers. And if one doesn’t work out, you’re not locking yourself in for life. You go and you try it for a year. And if at the end of the year you’re like, “This isn’t working.” You’ve got a year of experience doing something, and you’ve learned things, and you’ve grown, and now you can bring it over to this other thing and try that out for a while. And if that works out, great, or maybe over time it’ll turn into something else.

I know how stressful it is to make these momentous decisions. Everything up till now, you have to pick what college to go to. That was probably the most equivalent kind of decision you have to make. It’s going to shape the rest of my life. But now, I got to go be an adult. Now there’s not going to be the structure of school anymore and I have to figure things out on my own. So whatever decision I’m making here has to be, it’s so important that I make the right decision. And it is, but there’s probably not a wrong decision. And no matter what the decision is you make, your career is going to evolve over time anyway.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, things always change. And I think they kind of work out how they’re supposed to in the end.

Michael DeAngelis:

I think so. I am a big believer in that. I always say, when our former director Pat retired, I was asked to speak at her retirement party. And I said, very sincerely, “I would not have the success that I’ve had as a writer and a theater artist if I hadn’t landed in Career Services.” Because just somehow, one, just having the stability of a job and not having to go from job to job provided me with a way to keep a roof over my head.

But just being on the college campus, being exposed to so many different people, making so many new connections, and having the great fortune of working in an office that one, supports people’s careers. So when they hired me, they asked me point-blank, “If you got your dream theater job six months into working here, and we really need a two-year commitment from you, what would you do?”

And without hesitation, I said, “I would have to take that job. That’s my dream job. But I’ve been trying for three or four years to land that dream job. It hasn’t happened. So I’m here. I would work with you to make sure that you had everything you needed. But if that dream job came along, of course I would take it.”

And I left that interview and I thought, “God, what an idiot.” But apparently I walked out the door and Pat said, “Hire him because you can’t beat honesty.” So that actually landed me the job, my first job in Career Services. And next summer, it’ll be 20 years later.

Meredith Metsker:

Wow. See it worked out.

Michael DeAngelis:

Yeah. Yeah. So I’m a huge believer in things working out.

Meredith Metsker:

Well, I think that’s a good spot for us to kind of start wrapping up. I know we’re near our time here. Michael, if people would like to connect with you or learn more from you, where’s a good place for them to do that?

Michael DeAngelis:

You should just come over to the Career Services website. Careerservices.upenn.edu. My contact information is there on the staff page and various other places. You can connect with me on LinkedIn. And I must say the best way is to subscribe to the CS Radio podcast wherever you get your podcasts. And then I’ll be in your ears every Monday.

Meredith Metsker:

Nice plug. I was going to say that if you didn’t, so I’m glad you did.

Michael DeAngelis:

We’re available wherever you get your podcasts.

Meredith Metsker:

Yep. Isn’t that just the common phrase that every podcaster says, and just has ingrained in their brain? Yep. All right. Well, Michael, at the end of every interview, I like to do this answer a question, leave a question thing. So I’ll ask you a question our last guest left for you, and then you’ll leave a question for the next guest. So our last guest was Dr. Ellen Awad of Hope College, and she left the following question for you. What’s your why for doing the work that you’re doing?

Michael DeAngelis:

Great question. I think it’s got a lot to do with what I just said. I really believe that your career path is going to be an unexpected one, that’s going to take a lot of twists and turns. And that even if you aren’t doing exactly what you thought you were going to do when you graduated, you can still use the skills and the passions that you have for the things that you love and put them into an unexpected job.

If you went back in time and talked to me my senior year and said, “You’re going to be the director of technology and communications at an Ivy League institution career office,” be like, “You’re out of your mind. You’re out of your mind. How would I end up doing that?”

But the job that I’m doing is so me. It so draws upon all those things that I learned not just from being a theater major, but from going to a small liberal arts school in general. And there is a certain amount of luck involved and that I have found myself in a place that says, “Yeah, go ahead, make a podcast. And yeah, let’s have a blog.” And allows me to take those risks and see if they’ll be successful.

But you will find yourself in those places too. And I want students to know that they will find themselves in those places. And I want students to hear different people’s stories.

I’m a storyteller. I’m a writer. That is my passion, and so I have funneled that passion into Career Services, and helping students tell their stories, and helping students have access to people’s stories to learn and grow, and hopefully take something from them.

Meredith Metsker:

I feel like we’ve come full circle for this whole episode when it comes to telling students stories, just telling stories, and your why for doing this. Yeah. I just feel like it all makes sense to me. Your path makes sense to me when you explain it that way.

Michael DeAngelis:

Yeah, it makes sense to me too. I have to sometimes stop and think about it. Sometimes I do think, how did I end up here? But it’s a very twisty path, but it’s a path that makes sense.

Meredith Metsker:

Yeah, I love that. Well, Michael, what question would you like to leave for the next guest?

Michael DeAngelis:

All right. Well, I will ask the next guest, where did they see themselves? When they were a senior in college, where did they see themselves in 20 years?

Meredith Metsker:

That’s a good one. I like that. Thinking back for myself, I thought I was going to be working in the big leagues of journalism like New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, any of those. That’s where I thought I would be. And I after a few years in journalism, pivoted to marketing and did something totally different. Still storytelling, just different context.

Michael DeAngelis:

Exactly. Exactly.

Meredith Metsker:

Okay. Well that’s a great question. I’m excited to hear the next guest’s answer to that one. And Michael, thank you so much for taking the time to join me on the podcast today. This was such a fun discussion. I loved hearing about all these different strategies that you’re using to make Career Everywhere a reality there at Penn. And thank you again for sharing your time and your wisdom.

Michael DeAngelis:

Thanks so much. I love the podcast. Really appreciate you having me on.

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