When a student did not get a job through on-campus recruiting last year, Robin Mount, then interim director of the Office of Career Services, helped her put things in perspective.
The student, Mount says, had not realized that the world of e-recruiting is an “interactive contact-sport.” The student had planned to stay at home for the summer, defeated, until Mount helped her develop a strategy and land a “spectacular” job in Washington D.C.
According to Nancy Saunders, an associate director at OCS, Mount has operated both as an administrator and adviser at OCS using three steps: contextualize, strategize, and succeed.
Mount was recently appointed director of the newly created Office of Career, Research, and International Opportunities—composed of OCS, the Office of International Programs, and the Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives.
She was the only individual considered for the position, according to Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris, because “she’s been a fabulous interim director and that should be rewarded.”
“Bringing these offices together, she was the perfect combination of administrative savvy [and] knowledge of these areas, and we were so impressed with the work that she’s done revitalizing OCS,” Harris says.
Mount served as director of GSAS and Ph.D. advising at OCS for five years before becoming interim director in Sept. 2008.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
According to Saunders, Mount spends time walking around the OCS office at 54 Dunster, talking to students and registering their concerns.
“Even before she became interim director of OCS, Robin’s leadership qualities were recognized in her capacity as GSAS adviser,” Saunders says.
Mount took over as interim director in September 2008 amidst a financial crisis that shook Harvard’s e-recruiting program. The declining number of job opportunities in banking—coupled with growing concern about a perceived lack of support for careers outside of finance—led Mount to try to “[turn] up the volume on diverse career opportunities,” she says.
Mount soon started drop-in hours to better accommodate students who did not want to wait for an appointment, Saunders says. But Mount has focused most on clarifying to students the necessary steps to reach different careers—a practice Mount says she has learned from working with banks and consulting firms.
Harris credited Mount with revitalizing OCS’s web presence and electronic tools and expanding OCS’s offerings to include more than 124 career education programs in an e-mail he wrote announcing her appointment.
Saunders says she believes that Mount will succeed in her new administrative role because of her strategizing abilities, her connection with students, and her tireless devotion to the job.
Mount has a background in both academia and developmental psychology. After working in a Harvard lab researching infant cognition and learning in early development, she earned a doctorate from the Graduate School of Education. She then taught developmental psychology at Wheelock College, where she also served as associate dean of graduate programs, before returning to Harvard as director of GSAS and Ph.D. advising.