|By John DeSio
Over the past year, Fordham University’s Department of Career Planning and Placement has undergone a facelift. The changes began with the hiring of new director Andrew Cronan a year ago, and have since included moving the department’s Lincoln Center offices from the Lowenstein Center’s fourth floor across the street to the eighth floor of 33 West 60th Street.
|Andrew Cronan, director of the newly named Career Services department.
Cronan’s department is now called “Career Services,” a name he said embodies the same commitment to job placement and career development that the department has always had, but offering a better description of all Cronan and his staff can do for their clients: everyone from students starting careers to alumni seeking new interns.
“This more comprehensive title better captures all that we do, and will look to do, in the areas of student development and education, programming, employer relations and support to alumni,” Cronan said. He noted that employer relations are especially enhanced by taking advantage of the University’s location in the New York metro area, and by reaching out to Fordham’s large and successful alumni base.
Cronan also sees the new department name as a way to keep himself and his staff focused on their mission: a means of keeping them from forgetting not just what they do, but who they serve. “I like the new name because it reminds each of us in this job that we are in a service industry. The name change helps us to remember that we do that every day,” Cronan said.
Working with alumni has taken on a new significance under Cronan. Not only does the department help alumni employers find students for internships or entry-level careers, it also works to keep alumni abreast of employment opportunities, holds workshops at which alumni can hone their career skills, and even offers a career counseling session to any alumnus or alumna who wants one. But the main focus of the department is the current student, and alumni play a major role in that regard. “Whether they need interns or a new hire, we’re happy to help them in any way we can,” said Cronan.
Employers are more than satisfied with the work of Cronan and his staff. “I wouldn’t be doing business with them for 22 years unless I thought they were doing a fine job,” said William Burke, FCRH ’65, LAW ’68, senior vice president at AG Edwards, one of the nation’s largest brokerage firm.
Burke said that he routinely pulls interns from the University’s top-notch pool of applicants, and had done so previously during his time at Paine Webber and Merrill Lynch.
“Fordham students work very well with my firm,” Burke said. “They bring a strong work ethic, and we help sharpen their skills, their knowledge of the business, and show them how to be team players.”
Burke offered specific praise for Gregory Pappas, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean of student services at the University, for his years of sound management of Career Services. He also hailed Fordham for offering an internship seminar course to all undergraduate students, allowing them to gain valuable experience in the working world while gaining course credit at the same time. Burke trusts Fordham’s interns so much that he has allowed them to write his company’s internship handbook, and to update it year after year. He also tries to keep in contact with as many of his former interns as possible, always mindful that a great intern might someday make a great executive.
“Fordham is such a great school, with such a diverse student body that represents so many different nationalities,” said Burke. “I’ve always been happy with the performance of students from the University, and those students are well-served by the career services department.”
Cronan plans to continue building on the stellar reputation of his department with an increase in networking events and other workshops this academic year. He points to the department’s annual diversity networking banquet, now in its third year, which he said plays a major role in helping minority students find the right employer. With expanded services on the Marymount College campus, the further expansion of the wildly popular career fair at Rose Hill, and by simply working the phone and developing relationships with employers throughout the New York City area, Cronan plans to continue giving Fordham students and alumni the best possible internship and career opportunities at the University and beyond.