Last week Darden’s Career Development Center hosted our 27th Annual Recruiters’ Conference in New York City. Over 50 attendees were treated to several speakers around the theme of “Tapping Technology.” The event was a tremendous success from my vantage point: over 35 companies were exposed to Darden, our mission, our CDC staff, our Dean, and our alumni. These 35 companies are companies with which we desire a deep and consistent relationship. This conference was part of our mutual investment in that relationship.
One of the speakers was Darden 2006 alumnae, Sue Singer. Sue works at Linden Labs on their product, Second Life. In case you don’t know, Second Life is “…a 3-D virtual world created by its residents.” It’s an online game, sorta. From their website here’s how Linden Labs describes Second Life:
- From the moment you enter the World you’ll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you’ve explored a bit, perhaps you’ll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.
- You’ll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow Residents. Because Residents retain intellectual property rights in their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other Residents.
- The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the inworld unit of trade, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden dollar exchanges.
Okay, got that? If not, I encourage you to visit and see it for yourself.
So should Darden be the next entity with land on Second Life? How about the Darden CDC? I have begun thinking about the things the CDC could do if it were in Second Life:
- Meet prospective students and answer their questions
- Talk with current students and answer their questions
- Conduct mock interviews
- Review resumes
- Conduct counseling sessions
- Conduct group counseling sessions
- Meet with companies
- Conduct networking sessions with companies and students
- Conduct Career Discovery Programs where students and companies come together
But we already do these things in this life. Why do them in Second Life? I want to find a compelling reason to do so, because it seems cool, but surely there are more tangible reasons. I’m still new to this idea, so I’d welcome your input.
Advancing our use of technology is critical for the Darden CDC to be a leading-edge resource for our students. Technology can be particularly valuable when it comes to communication, especially with the technologically-savvy millenials. We are in the process of launching a new student CDC portal that will vastly improve our communication. But a new portal is only a first step. We will invest in any technology that helps us deliver on our mission. But we should be smart about it. We will invest our time and efforts where the payoff is greatest for students from a productivity standpoint. When it comes down to it, our aim is to help students connect with jobs about which they are passionate. If Second Life, or any technology, can help us get there, then we should embrace it.