Achieve: Strategies for Career Success

Career success is non-linear. Each student will have their own unique path to achieving their career goals. But there are things all students can do to optimize their experience while at SMU to boost their short-term and long-term career prospects:

  1. Maintain a strong GPA, aim for at least 3.0+
  2. Leverage on and off-campus resources
  3. Pursue internships and on-campus leadership and student employment

Each of these items will make you more competitive for graduate school or the workforce. 



Hegi offers multiple resources for interview preparation. Students and alumni have access to:

  1. One-on-one mock interviews with professional staff
  2. On-campus mock interviews with employersVirtual Interview Practice via Big Interview
  3. Interview Strategies like the STAR Method:
    • Situation
    • Task(s)
    • Action(s)
    • Result(s) 

We are here to help 1st year students through experienced alumni. Regardless of where you are at with interview skills, please feel free to reach out to Hegi so we can assist you in your career success story!

Negotiations and Job Offers

Receiving a job offer is exciting, but there are a lot of factors to consider other than salary. Of course, starting salary is very important but geography, state income taxes, and employee benefits are vital in the decision-making process. Utilize the following resources to make an informed decision:

  1. ADP take home pay calculator 
  2. Cost of Living Calculators
  3. Negotiation: 15 Rules for Negotiating a Job Offer by Harvard Business Review (HBR) 
  4. Employee Benefits: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Benefits 2024 by Forbes 
  5. Salary Comparison Tools

Finding Jobs and Internships

Statistics reveal that paid internships lead to higher starting salaries for college graduates and placement rates upon graduation. Each industry, be it finance, commercial real estate, consulting, pre-law, pre-med, data science, engineering, and so on have different timelines. As a rule of thumb, it is vital to target an internship between your 2nd and 3rd year of undergraduate as well as between your 3rd and 4th year. 

You can find jobs and internships through:

  1. Attending the Fall and Spring Career Fairs
  2. Networking with alumni and employers at on-campus and off-campus events
  3. Job boards: 
  4. Hegi DEI Internships

Strategies for gaining post-high school experience early in your first and second year include:

  1. On-campus and off-campus employment
  2. On-campus leadership opportunities (Resident Assistant, Student Senate, Leadership in Student Organizations
  3. Undergraduate Research 
  4. Participation in high impact experiences (Hegi Career Leaders, Case Competition, and Board Fellows) 
  5. Micro Internships (ParkerDewey

Graduate School Preparation

Graduate school is a big decision. If you intend to be a lawyer, doctor, researcher, or professor then it is almost certainly required. What are the best ways to prepare for graduate school?

  1. Maintain your GPA, most programs require a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA for admittance – for professional programs (law school, medical school, or MBA) expect the threshold to be at least a 3.5 for serious consideration.
  2. Undergraduate research, shadowing experience, or internships are likely required for the programs you are applying for so make sure you check the applications requirements for each program you are considering. 
  3. Letters of Recommendation (LOR): expect graduate programs to require 1-3 letters of recommendation from professors or supervisors that are able to speak to your work ethic and academic ability to endure a rigorous program. 
  4. Test Preparation: Though some programs have waived admissions exams it is still very likely you will need to complete LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, or GRE for admittance to a graduate program. There are numerous external resources available for these examinations – if you click on the previously listed name of the test, it will connect you to one of many resources.