As students scramble to secure internships before the summer, they may find their options falling into one of three categories: the lucrative but demanding financial and consulting services, the generally unpaid government and nonprofit work and the creative industries that lie between the other two.
Financial and consulting services are the most highly represented by the Cawley Career Education Center, the campus career counseling service, which almost exclusively focuses on banking and consultancy firms like Deloitte, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. But students who harbor aspirations outside of financial services, particularly in the creative industries, may feel adrift when searching for a career or internship that better aligns with their interests.
Financial services and consulting already comprise the two largest sectors of employment for Georgetown graduates, with 42 percent of the entire class of 2015 entering these fields. No doubt, the strength of the career center’s programming helped last year’s graduating class snag jobs at top employers including Deloitte and Goldman Sachs.
Yet while the career center devotes separate pages to consulting, accounting and entrepreneurship in the “Industry Resources” section of its website, it categorically lumps “Marketing and the Creative Fields” into one, even though the creative fields encompass industries as distinct as public relations, entertainment, journalism and the visual arts.
Similarly, students can schedule same-day appointments for career counseling in business, finance and consulting, government and pre-law, but those seeking advice on how to pursue a career as a reporter or designer are funneled through the same general interest appointments. The lack of differentiation between creative careers precludes the ability of students to receive the targeted, industry-specific guidance they need to flourish in these competitive fields.
The career center’s myopic concentration on finance and business careers also has significant repercussions in the long-term, as Georgetown’s reputation as a purveyor of young, business-minded professionals becomes more deeply embedded into its brand. While this will no doubt attract prominent recruiters from the finance and business sectors, potential employers from creative industries may feel alienated by the school’s pre-professional focus and search for prospective hires elsewhere.
On campus, the subordination of creative career options manifests itself into a culture where students swap genuine enthusiasm and talent for a field in favor of a career track in finance or consulting, which receives more of the center’s attention.
Worse still, this trend may culminate in a sense that Georgetown is no longer a premier destination for students seeking entry into creative industries, potentially deterring this cohort from attending or even applying to the university. The resulting void of an artistic, creative community at Georgetown would deprive every student at Georgetown of an essential component of the holistic liberal arts education the university claims to provide.
This editorial board calls for the career center to outfit its counseling services with options for students who find their calling in a creative industry. As the system currently stands, students who wish to pursue these careers or internships essentially have two resources at their disposal: Hoya Career Connection and iNet, both of which are large databases with thousands of generalized job postings to sift through.
By investing the same attention in differentiated fields such as media, fine arts and marketing, as is already the case with business, finance and consulting careers, Georgetown can ensure an entire spectrum of student interests are represented in students’ career options.