IMPRESS Program Continues to Teach Career Skills, Enable Networking Despite Pandemic

The Martin J. Whitman School of Management’s Goodman IMPRESS program has continued to offer programs to students virtually, allowing them to keep building up soft skills and network, even though alumni and other speakers are not currently able to travel to campus.

The Goodman IMPRESS program is a unique aspect of the Whitman School that helps shape students into future generations of professional business leaders. Once committed to Whitman, each incoming student is placed in one of four houses: Adams, Harrison, Marshall or Waverly. Each house is led by a house mentor who is also a professor at Whitman. In fact, new students take SOM 122, the introductory business course, with other students in their house, and their house mentor teaches the course.

Events held through the IMPRESS program help students build on what they are learning in class and expand their knowledge even further. “By partnering with faculty and staff, IMPRESS builds upon overarching classroom content. The benefit of IMPRESS however is the ability to delve deeper and broader into special topics without being limited by a syllabus,” says IMPRESS Program Manager Kari Morrow. “Furthermore, with guest speakers and presenters at the core of programming, IMPRESS introduces participants to a spectrum of voices, experiences and perspectives.

IMPRESS events take many forms. For example, there are personal and professional leadership development events like mock interviews, speed networking, career preparation workshops, leadership and ethics speakers, as well as etiquette dinners. The IMPRESS program also consists of major-specific and industry exploration events like career fairs, exploration panels and company informational sessions.

Due to COVID-19, the majority of events in 2020-2021 were held virtually, and the structure of other opportunities were altered to better fit students’ needs. Morrow says, “With programs being recorded and a multitude of digital certifications being offered, we achieved our goal to provide on-demand and ‘at your own pace’ opportunities for students, allowing those who were unable to attend the live program the ability to engage with these experiences.”

Going forward, Morrow says that there are plans to blend virtual and in-person offerings for a more robust overall experience. Students will also see a return of more typical aspects of the IMPRESS program in the future, like in-person networking and popular events like Dress for Success and the etiquette dinners.

“Employers are expecting new hires to arrive proficient and well-rounded in social, soft and career skills, rather than having to take the time and resources to provide training,” Morrow says of the benefits of the IMPRESS Program. “By developing and refining their soft skills while at Whitman, students will graduate with a competitive advantage in their careers.”

Learn more about the IMPRESS Program at the Whitman School of Management.

Mallory Carlson
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