In today’s extremely competitive job environment it is increasingly important for each person to create a career brand so that prospective employers can easily understand who you are, what professional skills you offer, and based on your accomplishments, if you are the best candidate for the position.

While brand development is an imperative for marketing professionals, for most others, the first time creation of a personal career brand can be a challenging endeavor.

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Iftar Dinner 2018
The Student Affairs Department at VIU did a wonderful job hosting the Annual Iftar Dinner recognizing the Holy Month of Ramadan that is part of our Diversity Series at the university on June 6th. The program included a prestigious panel of Interfaith Community Leaders that shared their perspectives on the meaning of fasting across the various faiths. Guests were treated to informative presentations and a special song performance by Mr. Olaotan Fade, a VIU Student from Nigeria. The Iftar Dinner is one of VIU’s signature events of the year that brings together people of all faiths and backgrounds to embrace and respect diversity. It truly speaks to VIU’s mission of inclusion and the Education USA message of “All our welcome here!” VIU was honored by the special guests who took time to join us for this dinner event. Our guests included two Commonwealth of Virginia Delegates, over eight Embassy officials that included Ambassadors, representatives from Asian TV USA, several key business leaders, and our staff, students, and their families. The sense of community was indeed apparent as everyone enjoyed the tradition of breaking the fast with a meal catered by VIU’s own restaurant, Global Bistro. Hosting the Iftar Dinner is a truly special event that unites the community at-large. The Diversity Series continues throughout the year with upcoming programs surrounding culture, faith, holidays, and moments in history. Please regard our Events Calendar for a full listing of future campus-sponsored activities.

Many students in business school are wondering if the information they learned in the classroom are helping them in their professional development. Some are even questioning whether the courses they took are making them skillful or not.  Carter & Izumo (2014) are arguing that the knowledge students acquiring in college are not enough to make them effective and efficient in the workforce unless they augmented by universal work skills. In order to be successful in any professional life, one has to develop universal work skills in emotional intelligence, information, technology, basic knowledge, critical thinking, personal qualities and resources (Carter & Izumo, 2014).


For example, a business manager cannot develop financially feasible business plan without attaining strong information gathering and analytical skills. To coordinate and optimize limited capital and human resources efficiently, basic skills of resource allocation are so crucial. Moreover, to effectively organize and lead business operations, well developed emotional intelligence skills have vital importance.  A manager only with more critical thinking skills can easily solve business problems. Business manager can catch up with dynamically changing business opportunities, challenges and limitations, when creativity and innovation are acquired through efficient reading, listening, writing, speaking and technological skills.


Overall, knowledge and skills learned in college are necessary but not sufficient to make us effective and efficient professionally. To boost our career to a highest and competitive status, continuous development in universal basic skills is decisive at both college and professional level.



Source: Carter, C. & Izumo, G. (2014). Career Tool Kit: Skills for Success (4th ed.).  Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.


It seems like there are at least a zillion career choices today.  How do you know which one to choose?  To answer this question, you need to do some homework (about yourself!)  There are many exercises that will help you.  Here are a few to start with:

Ask yourself some questions

What does my “future self” look like?  What do I imagine myself doing next year?  In two years? In four years?

Imagine being 90 years old and look back over your life.  What did you do?  What made you fulfilled?

Remember when you were a child.  What did you love to do?  And why did you love doing it?

Answers to these questions can help you get an idea of what you like to do and what you don’t like to do.  This is important when thinking about careers.

Do a personal SWOT analysis

As business students, you know about Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.  Analyze yourself.  This will help you get an idea about what careers you might be good at.

Identify your values

What is really important to you?

  • Do you want to help people?
  • Do you want to be an entrepreneur?
  • Do you want to be famous?

There are no right or wrong answers here.  By better understanding who you are, what you like to do and what is important to you, you can narrow down the career choices somewhat.  Choosing the right career is a multiple step process and it is important to do it thoroughly so you can make the best decision for you!

Also, keep in mind that you can (and will) have many different careers throughout your life so you are not stuck with your first choice.  You just need to start somewhere.


NAFSA Conference 2018
Dr. Isa Sarac, President, is representing Virginia International University at the annual NAFSA Conference in Philadelphia. NAFSA stands for the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers and its headquarters is based in New York City. With more than 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the leading organization committed to international education and exchange, working to advance policies and practices that build global citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today’s interconnected world. The NAFSA mission is very similar to the mission that drives VIU as a destination university for students, educators, and business leaders from across the globe. The NAFSA 2018 Annual Conference & Expo is deemed the premier global professional learning and networking event for all international educators and organizations that support international education. Furthermore, the conference unites 9,000+ attendees each year from more than 3,500 institutions and organizations from over 100 countries. It is the most comprehensive international education event serving the diverse needs of the entire international education community. The NAFSA Annual Conference is considered the must-attend international education event of the year! This year’s Conference Theme is “Diverse Voices, Shared Commitment.” The Conference is playing host to such prestigious speakers, such as Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States, Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi, and Terry Gross, Radio Host and Producer of “Fresh Air” on NPR. The NAFSA 2018 Conference runs from May 27th until June 1st. VIU has attended this conference for several years as it speaks to our on-going support of international education that benefits individuals entering the global marketplace. We look forward to attending the NAFSA 2019 Conference for building new and continued partnerships in the realm of international education.