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Karen Eisen has been Assistant Dean of Career Development at Brooklyn Law School for a year, but she has been working with students and younger professionals on their career development throughout her career. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Eisen graduated from South Shore High School and she received her B.A. in Political Science with an adjunct minor in Business Management from State University of New York-Binghamton (SUNY). She also earned her J.D. from the University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law. Ms. Eisen is a member of the State Bar of New York.
When she isn't working, she enjoys reading. "I am a prolific reader, but the one book that sticks with me is Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. It is just beautiful."
Successful Assistant Dean of Career Development
Does Ms. Eisen have a most memorable law school experience? "I remember the first time I stood up to argue in Moot Court. I was hooked."
Why did she decide to become a career counselor? "It had been the best part of every job I've had. I jumped at the opportunity to turn my passion into my career."
What is the best part of Ms. Eisen's job? "Making the match between someone looking for a job and the right job for them."
What does she have a knack for? "Connecting with people."
How has the market affected students' ability to obtain positions they want? "The market is certainly challenging, and students often cannot get the 'dream job' right out of the box. I work with students to identify what job might lead to their dream job further on up the road; where can they develop skills and experience that will help them get to where they eventually want to be. Careers are no longer proceeding on a straight path. I try to help them navigate to their ultimate destination."
What does Ms. Eisen do to prepare students who are entering the workforce in a downward economy? "We work with students to expand the possibilities and to think outside of the box with regard to their job search. We help to identify where the jobs are, and to help them match their skills and interests to find rewarding professional work that may not be what they thought they would be doing when they started law school."
What advice would she give to students who are about to graduate and enter the workforce? "We advise them to remain open-minded. Careers are long, and they do not always follow a linear trajectory. The door is not always open to the perfect job without 'dating' other jobs first, and the perfect job does not always stay the perfect job forever. Try things and see where they lead."
What advice would Ms. Eisen give to a student who is struggling with their coursework? "I work with students to identify why they are struggling with the work, and advise them to speak to their professors. Brooklyn Law School has many support services in place for our students and we work closely with other departments and faculty to help our students in any way we can."
What advice does she give to a student who doesn't know what career path to take after he/she graduates? "I ask them to recall why they came to law school in the first place. What do they like to do? What don't they like to do? What are they good at? What classes did they enjoy, find interesting? We can then look at careers that match those interests and go from there. Again, I would advise them to remain open-minded."
In regards to her strengths and one weakness as a college career counselor, Ms. Eisen admitted, "My strength is that I genuinely care about the people I counsel, and I become personally invested in their success. That personal investment is probably also my weakness, and their disappointments become my own. But I am resilient, and I work with them to be the same."
As the assistant dean of career development, what area of counseling is she most passionate about? "Identifying what will be personally and professionally rewarding to someone, and embarking on the search for that position."
What motivated Ms. Eisen to become a college career counselor? "I truly enjoy helping people realize what it is they want to do, and finding them a place where they can be successful at it."
If she wasn't the Assistant Dean of Career Development at Brooklyn Law School, what would she most probably be doing? "The exact same thing, but in my spare time!"
Where does Ms. Eisen see herself in five years time? "Right here!"
Non-profit Organizations, The Downside of Her Position and Ms. Eisen's Goals
Is Ms. Eisen involved with any non-profit organizations? "I am a 12 year elected member of the Board of Education in my hometown."
Is there a downside to her position? "So much of what is available to our students is beyond our control. But we accept the challenge of finding where the opportunities are, and preparing our students to be viable candidates to fill them."
Does the assistant dean of career development have goals? Ms. Eisen asserted:
"I want to continue to fulfill the mission of our Career and Professional Development Office by helping others be fulfilled in their career choices. I would like to continue to make our students and alumni relevant and attractive in the marketplace by preparing them for the evolving legal marketplace. Through these efforts, I would like our office to be known as a cutting edge and top career counseling center."
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