At Babson, she wears many different shoes … including the dancing kind.
Donna Sosnowski is the director of Babson’s Hoffman Family Undergraduate Center for Career Development (CCD), teaches the ever-popular Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship (FME) course for first-year students, and also is a fitness instructor, leading Zumba on campus in her very limited free time.
Over the past year, she also has become known for her new coveted spot—Donuts with the Director—on the Undergraduate CCD prize wheel.
“I’m amazed at the number of students who think it’s cool to come and have donuts with me,” said Sosnowski.
“Of course they do,” added Jaime Doherty, senior associate director of CCD’s Corporate Relations and Recruitment. “That’s the prize they all root for when it’s spinning!”
The wheel, often seen at popular dining spots on campus, allows students the opportunity to win big, including a one-on-one mentoring session with the director. The donuts are just an added bonus.
Prior to Babson, Sosnowski led and set strategic direction for HR efforts in corporations large and small.
By coaching senior management teams across a variety of Fortune 500 companies and startups, and living through 23 mergers and acquisitions herself, she’s an expert in knowing the mindset and skillsets employers are looking for in an ever-evolving workforce.
According to Sosnowski, it all comes down to perspective.
“Understanding yourself and others, and learning how your behaviors influence people in positive and negative ways—that’s organizational behavior. It’s also an extremely important skill in setting yourself up for both professional and personal success,” she said.
Babson’s Undergraduate CCD team is finding that the newest student body, also known as Gen Z, are extremely intentional (and more concerned than ever) about their career, work stability, and financial security.
“Before they even receive acceptance letters from the College, they’re calling our office to ask about internships and access to our career resources,” said Sosnowski. “Employers are feeling this, too. Recruiters are coming much earlier than we’ve seen in the past, especially finance institutions, and asking students to make commitments a year or more in advance.”
Yet, her advice for eager career seekers has not changed.
“We want them to explore,” she said, adamantly.
And, exploring they are. “Our students are starting internships as early as freshman year, and many are trying out different industries every year thereafter,” she shared. Ninety-one percent of Babson students have at least one internship during their time at Babson.
Sosnowski also credits such exploration to the entrepreneurial mindset Babson engraves in its students from day one.
“We teach and emphasize Entrepreneurial Thought & Action®. Try things. Fail. Pick it up, learn what you learn, and move on. Our students are excited about being in an environment where experimenting is widely expected and not criticized,” she added.
“This is an incredible gift,” closed Sosnowski. “We are a team of experts that can really help students navigate the college-to-career journey, and will introduce them to the people and opportunities that can and will make a difference.”
From company visits, called Treks, to industry nights with big name companies, interview coaching, résumé boot camps, and career fairs—the Undergraduate CCD team has no shortage of options for students seeking assistance in their career search.
“Some of the biggest successes we’ve seen among our graduates have come from a pivot, a spark of inspiration, or a connection made by participating in one of our events or opportunities,” said Sosnowski. “Engage with our office, early and often, even if you don’t yet have any idea what it is you want to do post-graduation. We’re here to help.”
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