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Wofford creates new Mungo Center for Professional Excellence


2010-07-22

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Center houses Career Services, Success Initiative, other programs

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – In today’s business world, it takes more than professional skills to succeed. It takes professional behavior – critical thinking, problem-solving and good communications, for example.

Wofford College has created The Mungo Center for Professional Excellence to ensure its students and recent graduates are acquiring those behaviors, and skills, to make them more successful as they enter their careers. The approach gives them an 18- to 24-month advantage over those graduating from other colleges and universities. “This is where the real advantage to our program exists,” says Scott Cochran, dean of The Center, a newly created office that encompasses six distinct programs – including traditional career services.

“We are connecting the dots,” says Cochran, himself a transplant from the corporate world who brings his experience to bear on how the college is approaching student preparation. He promises that Wofford’s program is “not your father’s ‘career services office.’” It is much more than job placement and creating resumes, though traditional career services such as these still exist within The Center.

Programs within The Center provide students opportunities in consulting roles, helping small businesses solve real-world problems, and the chance to engage in international internship experiences in locations such as Europe and Asia.

dillengerjaAs a new approach, says Cochran, Wofford’s program will be “the prototype for career services of the future.”

Cochran himself, with his business background, provides an extra element to enhance the Wofford program. He says he’s unaware of any campus career services office overseen by someone with his business background.

Cochran, who earned an economics degree from Wofford in 1988 and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 1995, was vice president of marketing, technology and credit card services for UPS Capital before coming to Wofford in July 2008. Before joining UPS Capital in 2001, he served in a number of senior management roles in finance, operations, sales and marketing with GMAC financial services, including two years in Germany, designing and implementing a marketing structure for GMAC Europe.

With Cochran’s promotion to dean of The Mungo Center for Professional Excellence, Jennifer A. Dillenger, a 2007 Wofford graduate who has served as assistant director of Career Services, has assumed additional responsibilities as director of Career Services within The Center. “Jennifer has been instrumental in the growth of Career Services and will continue to provide valuable leadership in her expanded role,” says Dr. David S. Wood, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean at Wofford.

In addition as part of the personnel reorganization, Kris Neely, a 2002 graduate of Wofford and former director of the Success Initiative, was appointed in March as assistant dean for the visual arts and instructor in visual arts. He will devote his time to strengthening the college’s programs in this important area.

The Mungo Center for Professional Excellence encompasses these six distinct programs:

• SUCCESS INITIATIVE. This is a scholarship-supported, projects-based student-led learning community, grounded in the liberal arts. While it is an academic program, it carries no academic credit, complementing the academic curriculum without replacing any part of it. Among its core competencies are critical thinking, communications, knowledge of self and others, creativity and collaborative problem solving.

• VENTURE. This is an entrepreneurial program, designed to support students in developing a business concept and helping them to launch it. They spend a school year working on their idea with a goal of opening the business. Along the way, they get solid advice from venture advisors. Nine companies are participating in this year’s venture program.

• BOSTON TERRIER CONSULTING GROUP. Named for Wofford’s mascot, the Boston Terrier, students offer consulting advice to businesses and organizations. Currently, this group is working with four projects.

• INSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. This five-week, summer resident program offers students a substantial set of skills necessary for the professional workplace. Student teams are assigned to a real-world business facing challenges and in need of assistance. “This is a robust consulting project that will prepare students for challenges” they’ll face after graduation, Cochran says. Along the way, students learn leadership development, how to leverage technology effectively, public speaking and presentation skills, executive writing, understanding global issues, project managements, networking and business etiquette.

• SOPHOMORE EXPERIENCE. This is a two-day conference offered to sophomores that focuses on the characteristics and behaviors that lead to success. In addition to such topics as leadership, communication, networking, dress for success and etiquette, students are involved in a team case competition and also hear from a top business executive.

• CAREER SERVICES. With a mission of assisting Wofford students and alumni to be better prepared for achieving their career goals than graduates from any other institution of higher education, Career Services provides assistance with interview skills, resume writing, job search, networking and internship opportunities.

For more information about The Mungo Center for Professional Excellence, contact Scott Cochran, dean of the Center, at 864-597-4261 or by e-mail at cochranws@wofford.edu.