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Kristina Monson and María Goñi, new deputy directors of Career Services

Career Services reinforces the strategic activity of employment and employability of the University with the sub-direction of development business and Operations.

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María Goñi (left), Deputy Director of Operations, and Kristina Monson (right), Deputy Director of Business development . PHOTO: Manuel Castells.
25/02/19 18:17 Beatriz Diaz

The Horizon 2020 Plan Plan was born in the 2015-2016 academic year with the aim of making the University of Navarra the best place in the world to study, to receive attendance healthcare, to produce Science at the service of society and to work. One of the priority projects that contribute to achieving this goal is the consolidation of Career Services as an element core topic in the experience of student, the alumni and the companies that trust in the University of Navarra.

For this reason, Career Services set several goals to improve the employability rate and enhance the University's relationship with the business sector. To achieve this, the President has seen fit to appoint two assistant directors within the service: Tina Monson as assistant director of development business; and María Goñi as assistant director of Operations.

These new appointments will allow, on the one hand, to serve even more effectively the University's students and alumni, and to promote more opportunities for their professional careers. On the other hand, the new sub-directions will contribute to the strengthening of relations with national and international companies, as well as to the design of business plans that will expand the network of collaborations with the University.

What challenges does Career Services face with these new appointments?

María Goñi: What we have done so far has been to consolidate the relationship with students, alumni and centers. We intend to offer them even more opportunities and, above all, to give them the tools to be able to opt for them. We have to continue doing the same as we have been doing so far, but even better. We will continue bringing the best companies to campus. We are also going to reinforce individual attention to studentsThis is something they value very much and which is very useful for them when it comes to focusing their professional degree program . We help them to know which companies are pioneers in each sector, and what aspects they need to improve in order to be able to apply to them.

Tina Monson: In the international arena there are many variables. We have a lot of international students studying at the University and we always take that into account when it comes to dealing with companies. Many times they are even more interested in partnership international, especially Spanish multinationals, because it gives them more confidence to have someone from training Spanish who is then willing to travel abroad. Part of the international development consists of explaining to companies which subject students we have, and highlighting that they are highly qualified to go outside their home country. We also need to communicate with students to find out where they would like to work. The world is such a big place that we have to take a very thoughtful approach to finding opportunities abroad. For this reason, we collaborate with International Office, Alumni, Admissions Office and other University services. It is a long marathon deadline in which we have to be continuously evolving.

What are some of the pieces core topic of Career Services within the Horizon 2020 Plan?

T. M.: The Career Managerswho represent the team at each of the Schools sites, have years of experience and know the business sector well. In other words, we are the bridge between the students and the companies. Therefore, our job is to understand what profiles they are looking for and hiring, to explain it to the students and to be in constant communication with the managers. Each company is different and part of our role is to understand how each one works, what their selection processes are like. The students change, as do the needs and the way companies hire. Everything is evolving and we are the bridge that has to listen to these two parties and adapt to the changes.

M. G.: The alumni are fundamental. They always bring them with them to the academic center and we try to take the best care of them because they are potential employers. Therefore, we offer them training through the Career Experience, and we also bring them to campus with the Skill Training Program and Career Week. These meetings have been developed to strengthen the relationship between students, alumni and companies. A student listens, learns and empathizes more with an alumni because they have gone through the same status.

What are some of the changes Career Services is facing?

T. M.: The way companies recruit is constantly evolving. It is our job to investigate and communicate with them to really understand what they are looking for, because sometimes it may not be a graduate with a specific degree scroll .

M. G.: That's right, companies are increasingly open to looking for competencies and not so much for a specific degree scroll . It is a challenge for us to transfer this to the students, to help them to boost their qualities and competencies, and to offer them opportunities in which they can develop their professional degree program .

What do companies value most in the students and graduates of the University of Navarra?

T. M.: They highly value the humanistic training of the university, what we call the Core Curriculum. Career Services plays an important role in highlighting and valuing the talent of the students and their training, not only in knowledge, but also in humanistic competencies.

M. G.: The alumni of the University of Navarra have a very good training , but what they always tell us is that they are characterized by something different from those of other universities. Another added value for companies and what sets the University apart is the variety of profiles it offers in terms of training.