The Career Development Center: Helping Students Succeed

As a first-year student, Taylor Kemper began working at the Career Development Center (CDC) as a work-study student. At the time, her major was undecided, and she had no idea what she wanted to do after she graduated, let alone over the next four years. One day at work, Kemper was tasked with reorganizing the CDC’s library and she was intrigued by the books on different majors that Minnesota State University, Mankato offers. She sat down and began to read through them and something finally clicked: human resource management.

The Career Development Center at Minnesota State Mankato is dedicated to providing high-quality services and resources that assist students, like Kemper, and graduates with career planning and the search for employment. This includes a comprehensive range of services from career counseling and major choice assistance to assistance finding part-time employment and internships and extensive job search support and guidance. Kemper has gone above and beyond with utilizing these campus resources to help her succeed in college and after she finishes her degree.

“Through the resources the CDC has offered me and the different experiences as well, it kind of all just connected at one point. I don’t think that [human resource management] would have popped in my head had I not been doing that work,” she says. Working at the CDC helped Kemper realize how much she enjoys career development and employee relations, which is perfect for the major she selected.

Staff at the CDC also encouraged Kemper to be as active on campus as she could to gain valuable experiences during her time at Minnesota State Mankato. During her second year, Kemper joined the business learning community for second year students to meet other students in the College of Business, build a community, and receive the resources she was looking to succeed.

She was worried about joining the College of Business later than most students. “I didn’t know anyone or know anything really, and it made me feel more comfortable going into it with a group of people,” says Kemper. Additionally, she has taken advantage of many other opportunities, including studying abroad in Europe for a business law class, becoming the president of the Society for Human Resource Management on campus and participating in a competition at Indiana University against other universities in the Midwest—all of which she said were amazing opportunities.

Now, Kemper is a senior who is graduating in May and she is looking toward the future. Her work at the Career Development Center helped her become familiar with Handshake, which is a resource to help students find internships and jobs after graduating. It helped her find the internship she had this past summer.

“One day I was at the CDC working and all of a sudden Handshake suggested a bunch of different jobs for me based on the information the school has for me. When it popped up, it suggested an internship with this company I had never heard of before in my life, Horton, but I clicked on it and applied thinking it was worth a shot,” Kemper says. She not only got the internship, but recently was given a job offer from the company for after graduation. She was astounded that they would offer her the position, because the job previously belonged to the person who was her mentor over the summer—someone who has a master’s degree and many years of experience. Clearly, Horton saw something in Kemper that made her stand out.

Reflecting on the past four years, Kemper is thankful for what the CDC has helped her accomplish. “I gained a lot of experiences and all of it came from the support they offered me there as an employee,” she says.

When asked what advice she has for other students in her position, the biggest thing Kemper could think of was getting involved on campus. “I would say getting as involved as you can whether it’s a club once a week or going on a trip to learn more about something. I think is an invaluable experience…” she says. “You learn a lot more when you’re engaged in something and when you’re a part of something; your interests pique.”