Neeley School of Business revamps Professional Development Center

Assistant Director Mariam MacGregor hosts a guest speaker for an unfiltered conversation workshop at the Neeley School of Businesss Professional Development Center.

Assistant Director Mariam MacGregor hosts a guest speaker for an unfiltered conversation workshop at the Neeley School of Business’s Professional Development Center.

By Laura Belpedio

Assistant Director Mariam MacGregor hosts guest speaker for unfiltered conversation workshop
Assistant Director Mariam MacGregor hosts guest speaker for unfiltered conversation workshop

The Neeley School of Business’s Professional Development Center, which provides TCU Business students with interview coaching and career preparation, has undergone a transformation since Mariam MacGregor joined as assistant director.

MacGregor came to TCU two years ago and immersed herself into the center, alongside Director Kelly O’Brien.

With her experience and drive, MacGregor implemented her ideas to make the center’s services and overall experience better than they already were.

“We are an internal training and talent development office for Neeley students,” MacGregor said. “No matter where you go, your goal as a professional would be to build your talents and your strengths and continue to polish yourself so as you move along in your career you feel like you’ve got the tools to not just be a good candidate, but to be the best candidate.”

In two short years, MacGregor has built on existing programs and added numerous services to the center.

The significant additions to the program include the LEADS program, unfiltered conversations, the resume lab and a revamping of the center’s workshops.

The LEADS program, which stands for leadership, engagement and development, was created in order to aid the faculty in managing the hundreds of students that use the center.

LEADS is made up of 28 junior and senior business students who have undergone interviews, vetting and training to make sure they’re qualified to lead student activities in the center. The LEADS do everything from leading mock interviews, case interviews and workshops to presentation training and resume lab work.

“Some students come in and what is distinct is that you can tell they have a natural ability to lead and influence others,” MacGregor said.

McCall Moore, a LEAD at the NPDC, said the program has enhanced every aspect of her business skill set more than she could have ever imagined possible.

“Since I began working with the NPDC, I feel nothing but excitement when heading into a presentation or an interview,” Moore said. “More than anything, the NPDC made me cognizant of the message I send when I walk into a room and instilled a new kind of confidence within me.”

Another addition to the program is the unfiltered conversations. MacGregor brings in speakers for students to listen to, ask questions and hear first-hand accounts from those in the working world. These conversations are for women in Neeley and are intimate conversations where the students are able to ask any kind of question.

The next addition that was introduced in the spring was the resume lab, which is a place where students can review and fix their resumes with professional MBA, MAC or LEAD students. This lab helps students create appropriate, clear and concise resumes for the context of the job they’re aiming for.

Lastly, MacGregor added more in-depth workshops. She was able to recruit MBA students to do a variety of design thinking workshops that aim to provide a broader base of topics. She has incorporated graduate students to teach undergraduate students through their own personal experiences.

MacGregor said other universities have modeled their programs around TCU’s.  Although there are similar programs, the TCU NPDC has continued to offer a unique service due to its high caliber of faculty and unparalleled services that differ from other schools.

Kelly O’Brien, who has been at TCU for 10 years and is the director of the center, has seen first-hand the progression of the NPDC.

“What we do here is awesome and we know that everyone can benefit from this,” O’Brien said. “This is something I never had in college, someone telling me you need to speak more confidently or you need to dress more professional or develop a better elevator pitch.”

The NPDC opened in 1989 when M.J. Neeley made a $1.6 million endowment. The hopes for this program was to achieve business communication excellence for Neeley students.

O’Brien says he has visions about campus-wide programs like that of the business school.

“It would be good to get some catalyst going to say, campus-wide, that this training and talent development service would be great for everyone and managing relationships to make that happen,” O’Brien said. “It’s not what we’re working on now because my focus needs to be here but I think it would be a great service if we can get it rolled out.”

The Neeley Professional Development Center is located in Tandy Hall, room 190.