UC Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics

Career Workshop Features Alumnae Discussing Employment Opportunities with ARE Master’s Degree

April 25, 2019

The annual M.S. Career Workshop offered Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) master’s students a chance to learn from successful alumnae how to best utilize their advanced degrees in the impending job market.

“I really enjoyed hearing their stories and where they’re going for jobs,” M.S. student Turku Hasturk said about the presentations by master’s program alumnae Laila Salimi and Renée Vassilos. “I’m getting inspiration from that.”

Salimi began by discussing her experience on the job market, how she tried various things and subsequently learned what she did and didn’t want to do.

“Have a goal with every experience you pursue,” was among the many pieces of advice Salimi offered.

She also recommended that students take advantage of every tool available, such as visiting the UC Davis Internship and Career Center to discover what companies are seeking UC Davis students. For example, that’s how Salimi found her current job as product development specialist for Harris Moran Seed Company in Davis.

Vassilos’ presentation reviewed a career that spanned the globe while working for an NGO, a government agency, a Fortune 500 company, and now her own consulting company based in Boston.

Strong advice from both Salimi and Vassilos was for students to network as much as possible. Salimi recommended students reach out to ARE alumni in their industry of interest, and ask to meet for a cup of coffee to learn more and possibly gain connections. Vassilos advised that networking involves building and maintaining relationships. For example, because she maintains a relationship with her M.S. faculty advisor ARE Professor Emeritus Alex McCalla, that’s how ARE Professor and Graduate Administrative Committee (GAC) Chair Pierre Mérel heard about Vassilos before inviting her to participate in the M.S. Career Workshop.

“Today’s event was really great,” Vassilos said. “I wish I had a similar event when I was an M.S. student. The students were amazing. I appreciated very much their sharing where they are in their job searches and what they are looking for after graduation. It was such a diverse group of students who made me proud to have come before them.”

After the presentations, each attending master’s student was able to have a private, 30-minute meeting with Salimi or Vassilos to review a C.V. or cover letter or gain other advice. An additional feature was Vassilos showing students on overhead monitors how to utilize LinkedIn to search and apply for jobs.

Attending student Turku Hasturk’s greatest takeaway from the day was that networking is more about building relationships and less about connecting. When asked if she would encourage other students from the M.S. cohort to attend, Hasturk said, “Yes, for sure, especially if they’re looking to get a job right out of the master’s program.”


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