Staff Spotlight: Collene Burns

Here’s your chance to get to know Collene Burns from the Career Management Center

Q.  What is your title and what do you do?

A.  My official title is Director of Corporate Relations and Career Strategy for Consulting, Operations, Technology, Analytics & Entrepreneurship (COTA&E).  What this really means is that I work with firms across several sectors and industries, and students interested in a wide variety of companies and roles to find an excellent match.  This also means that I read quite a bit to stay up on what’s trending for employers in all of these areas to ensure that Simon students are capitalizing on these trends in their job searches.

Q.  How long have you worked at Simon?Collene Burns

A.  I joined Simon a little over 1 year ago, in August 2012.  It’s been an amazing experience working through one full academic year, and I’ve made some adjustments from what I learned in 2012-2013 to ensure an even more efficient and productive recruiting season for Simon students this coming year.

Q.  Where did you work prior to Simon?

A. Before Simon I spent almost my entire career at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.  I was initially hired to recruit university students, so I have good insight into what recruiters expect from top talent.  I took a short break from HR to build a $20M facility for the company in Canada, and returned to HR to partner with the Visual Studio team and then the Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Information Systems team as their Human Resources Manager.  You’ll note that I still use a Windows phone, but have spent plenty of time on the phone and email with the Google MBA recruiter.   And yes, I am a geek.

Q.  What do you like most about your job?

A.  My role at Simon is perfect for someone who is insatiably curious.  As I mentioned before, I’m constantly reading: HBR, Inc., Fast Company, WSJ, and folks who I follow on Twitter to stay up-to-date on COTA&E trends.  No two days are the same, as I’m always learning about interesting new companies, or learning the story of an incredible student who I’m coaching.  Partnering with my teammates in the Career Management Center to provide impactful advice and guidance to students is always rewarding.   But most of all, I love getting to know students as individuals and working with them on their career strategy.

Q.  Share a fun fact about you.

A.  If I could choose any job in the world, I’d be a food taster.  Not a food critic, just someone who tastes the food!  But as we’re fond of saying in career management, you must match passion with opportunity, and there aren’t too many jobs out there for food tasters.  However, you can always count on me for tips on a new restaurant, eatery, or dish in the area.  Also, having spent over a decade in Seattle, I’ll admit to being a coffee snob.  The good news is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted is right here in Rochester, NY!

Q.  If you could recommend a “uniquely Rochester experience” to prospective students what would it be?

A.  I grew up in Rochester and chose to return to Rochester, so there is a lot I love about my hometown.  In the Summer, I’d recommend riding the Jack Rabbit, a wooden roller coaster at Seabreeze Amusement Park which is the 5th oldest rollercoaster in the world.  In the Winter, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra puts on outstanding performances of The Nutcracker and its annual Gala Holiday Pops concert.  It’s fun to get a bit dressed up and listen to amazing music…without leaving Rochester!

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