Want to Pursue an Ad-Hoc Major at Baruch?

By: Harshita Parikh

What if you cannot find one field which you are really passionate about among Baruch’s over 20 majors? What do you do if your interests must be limited to one particular department, but actually span a number of them?

The Weissman School of Arts and Sciences Ad-Hoc major may be the right choice for you.

The Create Your Own Major Ad-Hoc program has existed at Baruch College for nearly 35 years. It is a good option for students who have not established their majors and would like to explore this unconventional, but creative and productive educational option.

The Ad-Hoc major allows students to create and name their own major by combining different courses from two or more liberal arts departments into an integrated field of study. Students with an Ad-Hoc major graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences.

Before submitting the application to propose an Ad-Hoc major, students must attend the informational Ad-Hoc workshop led by Dr. Wendy Heyman. The next Ad-Hoc workshop for the  will be on Tuesday April 9th from 5:00 pm to 6:15 pm in room 2-190. The last and final ad-hoc workshop for the spring semester will be on Monday May 6th at 5pm in room 2-190.

So how do you know if you are the right student for the Ad-Hoc program?

According to Dr. Wendy Heyman, who works as a liberal arts and sciences coordinator and career counselor at the Starr Career Development Center, applicants should be “self-reflective” when writing their proposals for the major they hope to create.

“The intended majors as created by the students should reflect the great scope for both intellectual and personal development,” she said.

Some of the approved Ad-Hoc majors have included names such as “From Page to Stage”, “Social Justice and Politics”, “Law and the Underrepresented”, “Music and Culture”, and “Business of Art.”

A student who created her own Ad-Hoc major called “Practical & Ethical Application in Business”, which combines undergraduate courses from a variety of Baruch liberal arts departments including Communications, Psychology, and Business Law, explained at an Ad-Hoc workshop in March that her unique field of study helped her as a candidate applying for jobs.

Creating my own major helped me to become much more independent and self – reliant. In addition, it also leaves a very good impression on employers. An Ad-Hoc major represents that I am self sufficient and creative because I have successfully pieced together my own major. This unique and self-created major can be used as good marketing tools during a job search,” she said in an interview.

“Ad-Hoc majors can help the students to look within themselves and find their own voice. In this act of defining and creating their own majors, the students take initiative and learn to express and promote themselves,” Dr. Heyman said.

Ad-Hoc majors are not available for students within the Zicklin School of Business or the School of Public Affairs, however students wishing to enhance their knowledge of business to adapt to the workplace may take up to 9 credits from these schools which can be used in their Ad-Hoc major.

Some of the basic requirements for the Ad-Hoc major determined by the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences are:

  • A minimum of 30 credits, including 24 liberal arts credits
  • A minimum of three courses from two different departments within the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences
  • A maximum of three non-liberal arts courses
  • Ad-Hoc Major Approval at least one semester prior to graduation.
  • At least 60% of the major courses must be taken at Baruch College.

Students interested in pursuing an Ad-Hoc major must submit a proposal (250 – 300 words) to the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences after attending the mandatory informational workshop at the SCDC.

The proposal must summarize details of an intended liberal arts major while explaining reasons for creating the major, how the major differs from others available at Baruch, and how the intended major may play a role in a student’s future aspirations.

For more information please click this link and be sure to attend the workshop on April 9th.


Harshita Parikh is a Peer for Career and a senior at Baruch College majoring in International Business. She is also a key member of Baruch’s Operation Smile and she studied abroad in China last summer.


Building a Career in Information Technology

By: Jason Ioffe

If you want to build a career in Computer Science or Information Technology earning a degree is just the beginning – securing these careers takes a true passion for learning. You must invest plenty of time and effort to make your mark in these highly competitive fields.

Over 300,000 jobs as computer information systems managers are offered each year in the U.S. according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median pay for these jobs are approximately $116,000 and those hired with entry-level positions typically need a bachelor’s degree and over five years of related work experience. So how does a college student strengthen their chances of breaking into a field that requires so much hands-on experience?

Well the answer is, practice!

In the modern business world, websites are equipped with electronic databases and the applications that drive them. To practice your skills, Oracle’s entire suite of database tools and Microsoft’s Visual Studio Express are all available via free download. Thanks to the Internet, budding tech specialists have a limitless supply of resources available to draw from.

Tinker and experiment outside of your academic and professional obligations. Perhaps the muses have swayed your heart into web design – Code Academy and Git Hub are great free online resources for all levels of proficiency.

The world of IT is constantly evolving and so should you. After over eleven years of professional experience, I still learn new things every day. Sometimes it is as simple as a new approach to problem solving; other times, I take a dive into a new application suite or programming language. In fact, almost every new IT or CS related undertaking will have you learn unfamiliar systems.

Many young professionals eager to get in the field of computer systems cannot solve programming hurdles during their technical interviews. But it is also essential to note excellent analytical, communication, critical thinking, and teamwork skills are necessary.

Even with all of these skills, you will have to network to have the best chance of landing a job. LinkedIn is your friend – not only does it help you locate and connect with key people in your industry, it also allows your colleagues to endorse you for specific skills like systems integration or C++ programming.

It may be a long and winding road toward success in the world of IT or CS. But it if you thrive on technological innovation then the computer industry might be for you.

Jason Ioffe is a Peer for Career at the Starr Career Development Center, the Webmaster of Starrlights, and a software developer at the Baruch Computing and Technology Center


Baruch Alumni Communicates with Business Professionals and South African Youth

By: Kamelia Kilawan

He gripped the rock and pushed his body up to reach the high plane on Table Mountain in South Africa. Noticing two students, he introduced himself and learned they were pursuing their Masters of Business Administration at the school he dreamed of attending.

Andy Chu, Baruch Alumni, on a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.
Andy Chu, Baruch Alumni, on a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

“What are the odds?” he thought to himself noting that this trip would shed light on all of the possibilities he could accomplish in his career.

Andy Chu graduated from Baruch College last summer in 2012. He visited Cape Town, South Africa for two weeks after completing eight months at Citigroup as a Financial Analyst.

The idea for Chu’s trip to South Africa came from an inspiration at his workplace to do something “bold and different.” For many students networking seems like an awkward, sometimes challenging task. But for Chu, his foundation as a student leader allowed helped him network with officials at his company—a decision that fueled his desire to help youth in Cape Town.

Though the experience in the Cape Town school proved something that he could utilize the skills he acquired as a student leader in Baruch and apply them to being a volunteer for a class of second graders in a volunteer program called UBelong.

It is rewarding to work with younger people because you see they go along way. I see myself in people,” he said.

Chu related to the altruism of a girl in his class in Cape Town who took the seat of another classmate after she saw it was broken. He said it was a humbling experience to know that another student was willing to offer her seat to help a friend.

He noted that his passion to help youth is tied to his transformation from high school to college. “In high school I was more in the backseat, being a member and being active but never really outspoken or led a team,” he said.

He was motivated to step up to be a leader when he noticed that you could influence others to make a positive difference in the world by taking an active role in a college club. “To see where I went from then to now, it is a crazy transformation and I am just trying to help everyone do the same thing,” he said.

Chu received a full-time offer from Citigroup upon graduation and now works as a Financial Analyst in a three-year program where he plans to spend two years in the Corporate Reporting department and will rotate to another department in his last year.

He majored in Finance and double-minored in English and History. He said that while it is a concern for many students to secure a job after graduation it is important to lay the foundation by having internships. Chu had three internships  with just one related to Finance and was also accepted into the Financial Leadership Program—a competitive SCDC program designed for juniors studying Finance.

FLP was helpful in securing an internship more in line what I wanted to achieve—to secure a job after graduation,” he said.

But in addition to receiving a full-time offer upon graduation Chu was determined to also become a part of Citigroup’s company culture and business community called the Citi Diversity program. Of the groups participating in the program, he decided to join the Citi Asian Heritage Network. After speaking to members on the e-board he volunteered to create a brochure featuring four biographies for an upcoming panel event.

Little did he know one of the panelists would be a source of inspiration for building his career not only in the United States but abroad. Chu remembers how the Citigroup official spoke of his career journey from entering into medical school and later realizing his ambition to work in the business sector.

At the conclusion of the event, Chu was able to follow up with the panelist and speak to him. It also came in handy that Chu knew much of the panelists’ work by doing the write-up of their biographies in the event’s brochure.

After sending a thank you note he was able to meet again with the official one week later for coffee. It was then when he received the advice to consider volunteering abroad to build his experience.

Networking is a skill that Chu values because he noted it is useful especially in a budding career. Through networking he was able to gain the advice from an official at Citigroup. But he pointed out he did take the extra initiative to work on his networking skills during his time as an undergraduate.

As a former student leader of Beta Alpha Psi, Delta Sigma Pi, the Global Students Certificate Program, and Peers for Careers at the Starr Career Development Center, Chu has learned that it is rewarding to hear about the experiences of professionals, but you must also do your own research to learn about how someone was able to progress in his or her career.

“It is sort of like an extra class. You have homework. But the more effort you put into it the more you get out of it,” he said.

Chu said students should take advantage of opportunities to meet panelists especially during events held by clubs on campus. And he noted researching and learning about the professionals that will be there is crucial to building a mentor relationship.

Now he is considering applying for an MBA. His experience meeting two students from the university he has dreamed of attending has showed him that networking opportunities never stop, even at the highest peak of a mountain top in South Africa.“It proved to me that I can make friends with anyone anywhere,” he said.

Though still a fresh college graduate that has embarked on both full-time work and travel abroad, Chu feels the need to achieve more.

Rightfully said, careers never end and continue to evolve as one moves through life.

And Chu plans to continue to learn from both the old and young.

Throughout the arc of his career journey thus far he realized that engaging with other people, whether giving or receiving advice, is something he truly enjoys and he will continue to seek in all future opportunities.


Kamelia is a junior at Baruch studying Journalism and Religious Studies. She is currently a Peer for Career at the Starr Career Development Center and the Editor of Starrlights.


Review of Spring 2013 Internship Fair


By: Kamelia Kilawan

It is 2pm as the onset of blizzard Nemo is closely approaching and Baruch students file into the gymnasium dressed in suits, ties, and skirts—polished with resumes in hand and their personal pitches ready for recruiters.

On Friday, Feb. 8th the Starr Career Development Center held their annual undergraduate internship fair with over 36 companies recruiting in the gymnasium of the Newman Vertical Campus. The event had a turnout of nearly 600 students—more students than last year’s internship fair according to records from the SCDC.  Amidst a pending snowstorm, early dismissals of students from classes, and managers giving their employees the afternoon off—many Baruch students were still lining up for the fair.

“I think the take-away of this event is the unbelievable resilience and determination of your fellow students,” said Deputy Director of the SCDC Dr. Ellen Stein.

Jessica Saavedra, 22, a senior majoring in Computer Information Systems said she was still looking for an internship and decided that she had to come to the fair even though she needed to commute back during the snowstorm to work in a pizzeria in Astoria, Queens.

Unfortunately two of the companies she was hoping to reach did not make it to the fair, she suspected because of the blizzard. But Saavedra said the event was still quite beneficial for her.

“I think that when you talk to them you can actually get the feel for the company,” she said mentioning that at the fair you are able to take notes of the company culture through their recruiters.

In the bustling gymnasium dozens of tables were set up for recruiting managers of companies while groups of students approached them dressed in black and navy suits. But outside the fair was just as busy with staff members from the SCDC giving feedback forms to students on touchscreen iPods while other members of the Center were helping to select business attire for students who came without suit jackets and proper attire.

Franklin Eze, 19, borrowed a suit jacket and tie from the center’s selection of donated business clothes. He said he was not only appreciative to have the “suit-up” service but that it served as a wake-up call for how he should dress if he wants a career in business.

“I can’t go there looking like this,” Eze a transfer student hoping to major in Accounting or Finance said on Friday pointing to his jeans and polo shirt. He noted that it was his first time at a Baruch internship fair and that the dress code of internship fairs at his former community college was much more casual.

Some recruiters noticed how prepared Baruch students were for the fair. Jacqui Howard a recruiting manager for the Municipal Credit Union said she was happy to be a part of Friday’s internship fair because of the preparation and quality of the students’ questions as well as the great turnout.

“They were determined and weren’t going to let anything stop them. I was really surprised because I didn’t expect to see this turnout,” Howard said adding “It was a good day.”

Kathy Demasi, a recruiting manager for Citi and Baruch alumni who majored in Statistics in the 1980s said this internship fair was unlike the ones she remembered as part of her Baruch college experience.

“We used to put our resumes in boxes,” she said explaining that when she attended Baruch nearly thirty years ago recruiters selected the resumes based on students’ listed experiences and usually came to school to meet face-to-face for interviews.

But now she says the internship fair has an advantage for both parties because recruiters get to show enthusiasm for their companies and students get time to speak to the company’s recruiters.

As for the turnout of students at the fair, Demasi said Citi received hundreds of resumes from students who lined up in front of their table. “They know they have to get out there and get a job,” she said adding that she was pleased that the students were “eager to sell themselves and see what is out there.”

Philip Adikimenakis, a junior at Baruch and a volunteer from the Baruch Accounting Society said that he had been printing fliers for the event and arrived at Baruch at 9am to help recruiters set up their tables for the fair.

Adikimenakis said that the bustling fair made sense because the purpose of Baruch is to find a job and be successful.

“I think it truly shows how determined they are despite the blizzard,” he said of his fellow students adding “they saw the opportunity cost and saw this was greater.”

If you missed this one, it is not too late. Mark your calendar for April 12th, for the Spring Career Day. We will keep you updated with more information to come.


Kamelia is a junior at Baruch studying Journalism and Religious Studies. She is currently a Peer for Career at the Starr Career Development Center and the Editor of Starrlights.