Building the Leaders of Tomorrow

Second annual Professional Development Conference Branded a Success

The second annual Professional Development Conference (PDC) took place the last weekend of October, where 113 undergraduate Phi Psis came to Dallas, Texas to participate in a once in a lifetime program. The inaugural PDC program that took place in 2017 earned Phi Kappa Psi a Laurel Wreath Award for its excellence, and more importantly helped 108 out of 123 attendees secure job offers or internships.

The undergraduates were split up and paired with twenty-two volunteer coaches, who led small group sessions and worked with them on a personal level to assist in preparing them for the next chapter of their life: establishing and flourishing in a career. The coaches responsible for them were no ordinary volunteers, they are Phi Psi alumni who boast successful careers in about every field imaginable. Small groups were organized strategically by Associate Director of Member Development and planner of the 2018 PDC, James McLendon, so that students could network and work with others of like-minded interests.

From the beginning of the conference, one thing was clear, students would get out of this program what they put in. Whether their interest was in finance, marketing, technology, hospitality or medicine, the general sessions were applicable to every industry’s hiring process and expectations.

Jimmy Palumbo, founder of PivitU, joined by his wife and two sons, led the students and coaches in general sessions each day with. PivitU is a drill style educational boot camp that teaches young minds the importance of incorporating professionalism and engagement into your lifestyle from college and beyond. These interactive sessions went in depth discussing how to polish your resume and LinkedIn profile for optimal results, why thank-you notes are so important, how to prepare for interviews and behavioral questions, when and how to negotiate your salary and more.

Prior to PDC, Palumbo personally made edits and critiques to each attendee’s resume. During the conference, attendees were able to incorporate these edits along with pointers from the sessions and review from their coaches. During the last session of the conference, the most impressive resumes were pulled and presented by the students to their peers. 

The most important lesson introduced to students at PDC 2018 was how to effectively brand yourself, and why establishing a personal brand is crucial when selling skill-sets to employers.  “Branding” is an often-elusive term that is primarily used by creatives at marketing agencies, however Palumbo taught that the scope of branding strategies should be utilized individually, too. A personal brand is a unique sense of professional identity that sets someone apart in their industry, a package of what you have to offer. With each session Palumbo taught, he stressed the importance of developing and maintaining this sense of self every step of the way.

“The best advice I got out of PDC was how to build your own brand to position yourself a cut above the rest. I plan to continue to develop my personal brand throughout my entire career and never get complacent,”

-Nicklaus Brincka (Syracuse ’17)

Major: Accounting and has

Long Term Goal: Real Estate Tax and Development

After each session, groups broke out for more individualized coaching and discussion, where professional and personal connections were certainly made.  Attendees also had the opportunity to learn business dining etiquette, participate in an invaluable Q&A session with a recruiter panel, listen to a featured coach who stressed the importance of self-care strategies, and attend a networking party with the coaches and some alumni local to the Dallas area.

Round-the-clock programming kept attendees busy, but as Sunday morning approached, their energy continued to grow. Students left the 2018 PDC with a renewed sense of motivation and ambition, and Phi Kappa Psi can’t wait to watch them flourish after graduation.

Learn More about PDC