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Career Trajectory
Laura Czyzewski
Georgia Southern University
EDLD 7430


Career Trajectory
Higher education provides innumerable opportunities to interact with students and make
a positive influence in their futures. I have had the fortunate chance to work both in central
administration as well as in an individual academic unit. The challenge in developing a
professional plan is identifying those particular opportunities that marry your skill set with what
you enjoy doing most. As evidenced in my discussion of short and long term goals, I hope to
come full circle, going from central administration to academic unit, and then back to central
administration in a senior-level management position. Through membership in professional
organizations, mentorship, and taking advantage of existing networking opportunities on campus,
I am hopeful that I will acquire all skills necessary to reach my higher education career goals.
I never even thought of higher education as a career option while pursuing my
undergraduate education. I studied theater and psychology and quickly learned that unless you
have the desire to live an unstructured life in New York or have an advanced degree in
Psychology, finding a job is near impossible directly out of undergraduate studies. I moved to
Atlanta in 2005 and after several months of seeking a position in a behavioral hospital, I became
desperate for employment. My mother, to this day, holds a senior-level position at Georgia Tech
and made the connections for me to interview and ultimately begin a temporary job in the
Bursars Office. That temporary position became permanent and I went on after a few years to
work for the Registrars Office. I left higher education when the recession hit in 2009 amongst
the hiring and salary freezes, with the intent of studying another discipline. I quickly discovered
that, not only was the other discipline not the right path for me, but more importantly, that I truly
missed working in higher education. That is when I identified higher education as my potential


career path. Through guidance of a friend and mentor, I secured an interview with the Scheller
College of Business at Georgia Tech where I have worked for the past four years. In enrolling in
the MEd in Higher Education program at Georgia Southern University, where I am in my second
semester, I feel I am taking the necessary steps to gain the skills required for a successful and
rewarding career.
Short-term Goals
For the immediate short term, I plan to continue on in my position as Program Manager
for the MS in Quantitative and Computational Finance Program at Georgia Tech. I just reached
one year in the position and want to see through many of the initiatives that I and my director
have put into place. After I feel I have learned much of what I can out of being in my role, my
next goal will be to seek a position as a program director. My most recent experience has been in
graduate business education, but I would be open to working as director for another type of
graduate program in a different discipline. A job similar to an opening at the University of
Wisconsin, (, 2014) for the Director of Recruiting and Admissions of Evening
and Executive MBA Programs would be of interest to me. No preferred qualifications were
listed, rather a breakdown of responsibilities are listed as requirements. A Masters degree is
required for this position, which I am currently pursuing. I have had experience in many of the
required mentioned skills, such as developing a recruiting strategy, presentation skills, event
planning and execution, and building relationships. Where I am lacking experience is web site
development and social media. My technological skills will need improvement, which I think is
something I can work on through professional development workshops.
Long-term Goals


As a long term goal, I would like to move back to central administration and pursue a
senior-level management position. A job such as that posted by the State University of New York
at Oswego for Associate Provost for Graduate Studies (, 2014) is an area of
great interest to me. Working to develop unified goals for recruitment and retention among all
graduate programs in an institution, which in my experience tend to be siloed, sounds
particularly exciting. This position would require a doctorate or terminal degree, which I may
plan to pursue upon completion of my Masters degree. Only requirements are listed; no
preferred qualifications are mentioned. While I have demonstrated an ability to manage finances
for a program, learning how to design a budget would be a next step for me to learn to be
successful in this or any other senior-level position. As part of my current Masters program, I
plan to take an elective in Higher Education Finance. Learning how to establish relationships
with industry and government would be an additional skill mentioned that I would have to
acquire. I do possess ability to manage a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM),
but would need additional practice in extracting that information for recruitment purposes to
execute effective marketing strategies. I will also need more supervisory experience, which is
something I have had a limited amount of in my career thus far.
Overall Career Trajectory
As mentioned above, my immediate plan is to stay in my current position while I
continue to build my skill set to prepare me for my short-term goals. I plan to complete my MEd
in Higher Education degree. Throughout my time in my current role, I will seek professional
development and networking opportunities to gain the experience necessary to transition. My
long term goal is to move into senior-level administration in the area of Graduate Education,


perhaps after earning a Ph.D or Ed.D. Degree, and gaining some more budget and supervisory
Core Competencies
Student and academic affairs professionals are expected to have some core competencies
to be effective administrators, as outlined by ACPA (2007). These core competencies include the
following: Advising and Helping; Assessment, Evaluation, and Research; Ethics; Legal
Foundations; Leadership & Administration/Management; Pluralism and Inclusion; Student
Learning and Development; and Teaching. I will focus on two competencies that are of particular
interest to my future career goals and assess my strengths and weaknesses in comparison.
The first is Advising and Helping. Some of the basic and intermediate skills I have
acquired in my experiences thus far. I have developed excellent active listening and nonverbal
communication skills. I have also facilitated in group processes to assist with goal setting and
decision-making. (ACPA, 2007). Where I am lacking in this core competency is the ability to
counsel and apply career development theories. That will take additional research on my behalf.
The second core competency that I find most relevant to my future career aspirations is
knowing the cultural and political landscapes within the Organizational Development section of
the Leadership and Management/Administration competency (ACPA, 2007). These are areas that
will require much research on my behalf. This competency is particularly geared towards my
long-term goal of overseeing all of graduate education within an institution. Understanding
cultural trends and political influences, as described in the advanced knowledge of this
competency, will prescribe outside research and collaboration with other institutions and
governing bodies.
Professional Organizations/Development


As a result of working for graduate business education, I am currently a member of the

Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). I was unable to attend the annual
conference this year, but have plans to attend next year. I am also in the process of seeking
approval to become a member of NACADA which is the Global Community for Academic
Advising. They are hosting an upcoming conference this October, which I hope to attend. There
are several sessions geared to advising graduate students, such as Marketing and Recruiting
Tips to Grow Your Program and Are Their Needs Different? The Struggles and Triumphs of a
Graduate Advisor (NACADA, 2014). I also plan to further take advantage of professional
development opportunities at Georgia Tech. I have begun to take courses in a certificate program
entitled Student Academic Services Professional Development Program (Office of Human
Resources, 2014). I have also completed a certificate program entitled, Defining Customer
Professional Publications
Reviewing various professional publications can hold great advice for career
advancement. In an article in the Chronicles of Higher Education, Furlong and Vick (2013)
discuss 7 different resolutions that can be made to assist with career development. They mention
to practice presenting yourself and to always make sure to carry an updated resume so as to not
miss an opportunity. These are valuable tools that can apply to any stage of a career.
Betts and Suarez (2011) discuss 10 negotiation strategies for women in higher education,
citing the staggering statistic that men are 4 times as likely to negotiate their first salary offer as
women and that women in higher education tend to be less aggressive with salary negotiations.
They offer 10 great strategies for preparing for that particular conversation, such as doing
research to determine what is negotiable and embracing conflict rather than shying away from it.


This is a self-noted area of weakness for me, as I have, in the past, neglected to properly
negotiate starting salary effectively.
Networking and Mentorship
I have made some wonderful connections throughout the years in my time at Georgia
Tech. One particular person, who started as a colleague in a different department has become my
greatest mentor and sponsor. This particular connection helped me break back into higher
education after my hiatus by advocating strongly for me and my work ethic. He also endorsed
me for the position I hold currently. Without this relationship, I am not sure I would be where I
am today. I hope to someday pay it forward by being mentor and sponsor for someone else.
Very recently, I decided to attend a meeting of the Georgia Tech Womens Resource
Group. I did not know what to expect going into the panel discussion, but I left with a renewed
sense of awe at the brilliant women I have the privilege of working with and for at Tech. We
broke into groups and I made connections with 3 new women I had not previously met, with a
lunch date on the calendar in the near future. These are the types of opportunities I need to
embrace going forward throughout my career. Learning to network and sharing ideas can only
lead to a greater satisfaction in my current job and the potential chance for future growth. I plan
to continue to advance my education, review current literature, engage in professional
organizations, and take advantage of those development opportunities at my immediate disposal,
to recognize my career goals and become a well-rounded administrator.



ACPA: College Student Educators International. (2007). Professional Competencies: A Report of

the Steering Committee on Professional Competencies. Retrieved from:
Betts, K. & Suarez, E. (2011). Career advancement: Ten negotiation strategies for women in
higher education. Academic Leadership Journal, 9(3), 1-12. Retrieved from
Furlong, J. S. & Vick, J.M. (2013). 7 resolutions to advance your career. The Chronicle of
Higher Education. Retrieved from:
HigherEdJobs. (2014). Director of Recruiting and Admissions of Evening and
Executive MBA
Programs. Retrieved from:





HigherEdJobs. (2014). Associate Provost for Graduate Studies. Retrieved from:
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2014). 2014 Annual Conference
Program Topics/Tracks: Advising Graduate Professional Studies. Retrieved from:


Georgia Tech Office of Human Resources (2014). Certificate Programs. Retrieved from: