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What's Your Brand?

 In a new twist on the “Brand You” trend of personal brand marketing, Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business is offering all incoming freshmen classes, workshops, and guidance in personal brand management, to start their college and professional lives off on the right foot.

Dubbed “SCUBrand4U,” the program involves reaching out to all freshmen business students to help them successfully transition from high school to college to career. 

“This personal branding initiative is a natural extension of our business curriculum and commitment to educating our students as whole people,” said Leavey School of Business Dean S. Andrew Starbird. “We believe it will give Santa Clara students a definite advantage when they graduate and begin their life after college.

Led by longtime business and communication professor Buford Barr, the program aims to keep students focused all four years of college on those elements that make up a positive personal brand: reputation, images on social media sites, and personal conduct.

The program arose out of a popular new-student orientation workshop given by Barr. 

“My 30 years in the corporate world convinced me that students who excel in these ‘softer’ facets of their lives are going to be far more competitive in the job market, even more than students with better GPAs,” said Barr. “And while establishing your personal brand can be pretty simple, if you start early, in this Facebook/Twitter age, it’s shockingly easy to degrade your personal brand as well. That’s why we are focused on students just out of high school.”

The new program starts with the transition from high school to college and will include an initial personal brand exercise, based on the work of the late Silicon Valley PR icon Fred Hoar. During the exercise, students will be asked to create a “value statement” for themselves, answering what qualities, accomplishments, and strengths differentiate them from others, and what they have to offer employers. Faculty and Career Center staff will also provide advice to students during their stay at SCU.

The first workshop held in the Dunne Hall student residence Oct. 18, asked students to consider “Are you Apple or Zynga?” Students will work on understanding personal branding and how to evolve their brand value as they progress through college, internships, and the job search.

The new program is expected to include seminars for the transition from college to career, job search techniques, creating a resume that gets attention, and interview preparation.

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