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Graduate Student Professional Development at Rackham Graduate School

Paula Wishart

How did you get your first job after graduate school? The complex job market for Master’s and Ph.D. graduates can be daunting. Rackham Graduate School now offers graduate students more resources dedicated to professional development and career exploration.

A doctoral student recently told me, "These programs make you realize the professional piece of your life as a graduate student exists. When I come to Rackham, I think of people who want to collaborate in my professional development."

While many Ph.D. students will pursue academic careers after completing their degrees, more than half of Ph.D. graduates and nearly all Master’s graduates will go into a wide variety of other careers. Understanding the available options and getting prepared to pursue those options will equip Michigan graduates with skills and flexibility for the rapidly changing job market. Our current graduate students seek to engage with companies, public and nonprofit agencies, community groups, professional associations, and entrepreneurial enterprises to develop their capabilities and learn how their research skills can make a difference in the world.

In collaboration with faculty experts in each discipline and with partners all over campus, Rackham supports graduate students in developing strategies, plans and networks to be successful in their professional development during their time at U-M and as they transition into their careers. The effort makes a difference: Michigan is a national leader in graduate student placement.

Rackham Graduate School provides innovative professional development opportunities to all graduate students, hosting over 70 programs or workshops this academic year alone. Take a look for yourself at our calendar of events. Our services are designed to lead students through the entire arc of professional development, from the onset of their graduate experience to their placement upon graduation. To this end, we focus on three primary areas: core skill development, career development and job search skill development. Through workshops and seminars, online presentations and U-M partnerships and community embedded initiatives, graduate students can participate in workshops focused on topics such as:

  • Giving an academic talk
  • Interview practice sessions
  • Establishing writing goals and plans
  • Building professional networks
  • Leadership and creative problem solving

Rackham strives to help graduate students build a solid bridge between the classroom and their careers after graduation, encouraging students to master the tools they will need to be successful. Rackham today provides more programming, services and financial support for students than ever before. As alumni and friends of Rackham, we hope you take the opportunity to learn more about us and connect with Rackham.

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