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Alumni and Students Unite to Create M.B.A. CD-ROM

By Tami Dimock

Imagine you're a corporate recruiter. Now imagine you can examine the resumes of George Mason's graduating M.B.A. students with a click of your computer's mouse, thanks to a new CD-ROM provided by the School of Management's Graduate Career Management
Darnell Hoose
Center (GCMC). You can also learn about the school's course offerings, peruse recent placement statistics, and watch video clips of faculty members and notable alumni discussing how the school prepares students for their careers, all in a matter of seconds.

Sound like a valuable tool? It is. The Resume Book CD-ROM is the brain child of Darnell Hoose, M.B.A. '94, director of GCMC. With the help of other alumni and graduate students, Hoose administered the process of creating the CD, which began in the fall of 1996 and was completed in September 1997. Showcased in an attractive portfolio and accompanied by impressive marketing literature, the CD was mailed to some 600 companies looking to hire students.

"Like most business schools, we have traditional, printed resume books that we can still send to companies, but I wanted to do something different, something that would really impress recruiters and make our students look special," says Hoose. To create the CD, Hoose used the talents of alumni and students almost exclusively, making it a concrete example of their capabilities. She wanted to demonstrate that Mason's M.B.A. graduates are adept not only in traditional positions within finance, accounting, and marketing, but capable of much more. "Because we receive a wide variety of training, including courses involving the application of technology, we are able to take on cross-functional roles, as in systems consulting, that integrate knowledge in the traditional disciplines with technical skills."

Hoose met with John Redmon, B.A. Economics '88 and M.B.A. '90, president of the Redmon Group, Inc. (see story on page 16), a leading multimedia software development firm, to discuss the project. "Stephen Ruth [director of Mason's International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology] informed me that John was doing this type of work. The Redmon Group has done CD-ROMs for clients like the White House and Discovery Channel," she notes. Redmon was equally excited about the project, and agreed to assist in the development.

Next, GCMC laid the groundwork for the CD by creating a design model to present to Redmon, whose staff would then refine it. This required the purchase of a special software package, Toolbook II. Not a problem. Hoose called Jim Laychak, B.S. Accounting and Decision Sciences '83 and Alumni Association board member, and Glenn Poplawski, M.B.A. '96, both employed at Andersen Consulting, who contributed toward the purchase of the software. Andersen Consulting then matched their funds, and the entire expense was covered.

Once she had the software, Hoose turned to current M.B.A. students Danny Smucker and Irene Chen to take on the task of designing the CD. She was able to bring them on board through an independent study course sponsored by Catherine England, visiting assistant professor of finance. "Basically, Danny has a lot of graphic arts experience, so he was my artistic director; Irene, who has an MIS (management information systems) background, was my technical director. It was a good way for them to learn additional skills, which should help them get jobs when they graduate," says Hoose, who acted as overall project manager.

Throughout the process, Hoose employed many of the skills she acquired from her previous job in system testing and design at American Management Systems, as well as those she picked up as a Mason student. "I was well trained in advertising and promotion by Teresa Domzal, dean of the School of Management," says Hoose.

Also instrumental in the design process were M.B.A. students Soheila Mellom and Gino Cioffi. Mellom, a professional videographer, filmed the faculty and alumni video clips at a substantially discounted price, and Cioffi, a musician, put Hoose in touch with Geoff Thaler of GAT Music Services, who composed an original score for the CD in exchange for being listed in its credits. The entire team continued to plug away, regularly consulting with Redmon for advice and support. Creative and technical ideas turned into reality, and the design for the CD took shape.

After several months and a lot of hard work, Hoose and her team of talented students turned over their creation to Redmon. "We gave him what we had done, and John jumped right in. He and his staff gave us a tremendous amount of support, both technical and artistic. They really brought the project up a level," Hoose says of the professionals at the Redmon Group, whose services were provided at no charge. "We couldn't have done it without John."

Once design and development were complete, all that remained was actually "burning" the program onto 800 CDs.

Thanks to everyone involved, Mason's M.B.A. graduates now have a leg up on the competition. According to Redmon, "The CD allows us to demonstrate George Mason University in its best light through the use of technology. It will enable recruiters to not only see the M.B.A. portfolio, but also to regard Mason as a high-tech program."

"The CD turned out better than I ever expected, and I'm grateful to everyone who participated in making it a reality," Hoose says. "The cooperation among alumni and students was great. I think that in itself is a statement about George Mason University."

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