NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The process of finding a job is a source of constant stress for college students during their four years on campus, and managing this career search becomes even more ominous when one factors in the time commitments and burdens associated with competing as a student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame.
In order to help Irish student-athletes navigate through the uncertainties of future employment, the Notre Dame Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), the University of Notre Dame Career Center and the Office of Student Welfare & Development joined together to host the athletic department’s second annual Career Boot Camp January 16 in the Joyce Center.
More than 100 student-athletes attended the event to gain valuable professional advice from Monogram Club members, peers, and recruiters representing 18 local and national companies.
Recruiters from Capital One, Credit Suisse, Ernst & Young, Finish Line, General Electric, Stryker, Target, and Whirlpool, among others, came from across the country to foster professional relationships with Notre Dame student-athletes while providing important information on industry practices, interview etiquette and job search tips.
“An event like this is extremely valuable for student-athletes,” SAAC member and Boot Camp organizer Sean Lorenz (’12, hockey) said. “It’s important to learn exactly what networking is, how to set up your resume, and the steps you need to take to get where you want to be professionally.”
Former Notre Dame football All-American George Kunz (’69) served as the event’s keynote speaker and shared stories from his playing career and professional experiences as a lawyer.
In addition to his accomplishments on the field at Notre Dame, Kunz earned Academic All-America honors in 1968 and was the recipient of a prestigious NCAA post-graduate scholarship at the conclusion of his senior season.
The second overall pick in the 1969 NFL Draft, Kunz played 12 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Colts and was named to the Pro Bowl eight times in a nine-year span (1969, 1971-77). After serving as a broadcaster for ESPN upon retirement, Kunz developed a reputation as a staunch businessman by purchasing and developing eight McDonald’s franchises.
Kunz dreamed of playing defensive line when he enrolled at Notre Dame, but was shuffled to tight end and eventually to offensive tackle, where he excelled during his career in the NFL. While he wasn’t happy with the switch initially, Kunz stressed the importance of being flexible with potential job opportunities.
“There’s nothing wrong about structuring your major in the widest possible terms to be able to take in various circumstances that may occur before, after, or during graduation,” Kunz said. “Think in broad terms with a broad stroke, so that when something comes along, you’ll be ready. It will give you more choices once your time at Notre Dame has ended.”
Kunz also stressed the importance of competing with a team and how the skills learned as an athlete apply to a professional career.
“Embrace all that Notre Dame has to offer,” Kunz said. “Relationships are important – maintain them, nourish them, and cherish them in the workplace. You know exactly what it means to be a team player – you’ve had those relationships and you’ve worked at them, and that will only help you during your career.”
Following Kunz’s remarks, track Monogram winner Tiffany Tibbot (’12) introduced a panel of student-athletes and professionals that discussed the process of acquiring internships and building a professional network. The panel included senior Fraderica Miller (basketball), junior Kimmie Lisiak (diving), senior Dani Miller (softball) and Notre Dame marketing professor Kevin Bradford.
“The skills we take away from being student-athletes make a huge difference,” Fraderica Miller said. “You don’t think that having to wake up early and go to class, practice, and workouts means something, but people recognize what you’re doing and they understand how hard it is.”
Miller used the Monogram Club to build a professional network during her first three years on campus, and after connecting with a former Irish swimmer, she landed an impressive internship with Deloitte this past summer.
“There are so many Notre Dame alums and they are so willing to help you,” Miller said. “Many of the professionals in this room are here because of this University and the Notre Dame people that helped them along the way.”
Following the formal program of speakers, student-athletes participated in a networking lunch with recruiters – many of whom earned Monograms at Notre Dame – and established professional relationships that they will utilize when applying for jobs and internships in the coming months.
The Notre Dame Student Welfare & Development (SWD) office is committed to the total development of Notre Dame student-athletes. SWD fosters the cultivation of skills that prepare all for the ultimate competitive challenge: life. Based on the founding principles of the university, SWD implements programs and activities designed to nurture and develop the mind, body, and spirit.
The University of Notre Dame Career Center provides undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni with career counseling and career development services, self-assessments, workshops, presentations for academic departments, career fairs, and mock interviews, in addition to other services.
The University of Notre Dame Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) promotes efficient communication between the Notre Dame Department of Athletics administration and the student-athlete population. SAAC gives student-athletes an opportunity to effectively communicate with the athletic department staff while providing suggestions and feedback on programs/services designed to meet student-athlete needs. SAAC provides and promotes service to fellow student-athletes, the University community, and the greater community at large.