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Illustration by Maimuna Zaheer

Why Students Are Losing Faith in the CDC: A Revealing Analysis

Find out why many students are questioning the potency of the Career Development Center at NYU Abu Dhabi through a detailed review and analysis of the CDC’s recent shortcomings.

Mar 6, 2023

Disclosure: To understand the general student sentiment surrounding the CDC, we reached out to students around the campus with a survey for students to voice their thoughts and experiences. At the time of this article’s publication, we have collected approximately 51 responses, and will be leaving the form open. Student’s netIDs were collected to ensure journalistic integrity and credibility, but all the feedback used here will not disclose any names or personal identification.
Disclaimer: The CDC survey analyzed in this article was circulated on an internal NYUAD-wide social forum and official class groups. The Gazelle has reached out to the CDC with interview requests but we are still awaiting responses.
On Feb. 9, the Career Development Center at NYU Abu Dhabi once again organized their flagship event — the semesterly Career Fair. With a plethora of employers and company representatives from across the UAE, most NYUAD students, both undergraduate and graduate, went in with the expectation that they would more or less walk out with at least a potential internship or job opportunity. However, this expectation was not met. Based on our findings, there is a lot to break down in terms of what students’ expectations are as opposed to what is being delivered.
According to our survey, several students have complained that their encounters with companies at the Career Fair had very little to do with them being able to seek opportunities and more to do with the companies simply promoting their work. It is safe to assume that students who go to any career fair in any academic institution expect to gain substantial opportunities out of them.
Furthermore, the Career Fairs at NYUAD have been unhelpful wherein they are heavily inclined towards promoting consulting, finances, and tech companies, leaving little to no scope of opportunities for Arts and Social Science majors, as reported in the past. Several students, primarily from majors such as Social Research and Public Policy (SRPP) and Film and New Media, reported finding themselves excluded from the opportunities presented at the Career Fairs currently because they have nothing to offer in fields outside tech, consulting, and finance to name a few.
Needless to say, the problems with the CDC go beyond the Career Fairs it hosts every semester. In the responses we received so far, many students reported how the information provided through CDC consultations lacked action items: they walked away with a lot of information, but still lacked a clearer picture of the next steps that they should be taking to actually reach their career goals.
*Image 1: The CDC is seemingly providing information that is useful to first years who are just beginning to think about their careers compared to upper class students who find this information to be less useful. It is interesting to note that the CDC is catering to the needs of graduate students.* *Image 2: A majority of students report visiting the CDC less than five times.*
Students generally reported leaving the CDC not feeling it was well worth their time. Other students felt their interactions at the CDC helped them, and they tended to be the same people who would recommend the CDC to a friend looking for a job or career advice. The fact that the overall individual student visits, as represented by the survey, are quite low may speak to how the CDC generally inspires little confidence within the student body at the moment.
*Image 3: A majority of students have said that they would not recommend the CDC to a friend.*
Recently, students have also expressed frustration regarding the unprofessionalism exhibited to employers brought to campus for specific events. Reportedly, a talk featuring high-profile representatives from a major technology company on campus was met with delays and logistical uncertainties, and the event only had nine attendees. Students in the survey reported similar concerns about other major company visits to the CDC.
Students expressed concerns that such incidents lead to companies forming an unwarranted and negative opinion about NYUAD and a reevaluation of their relationship with them. It is obvious that the CDC puts in significant effort into the Career Fair and other events that they run. It remains unclear whether negative perceptions of these events are due to an overextended team or just a culture of moving too fast, but it appears that the CDC may need to slow down and refocus on quality over quantity.
On the other end of the spectrum, students and alumni have reported on their experiences repeatedly reaching out to the CDC and receiving no responses. This is also testament to the fact that there exist about seven or eight advisors for over 2000 students on campus. The staff that does exist has been reported as giving out conflicting advice to students and demonstrating a general lack of expertise or knowledge in the fields students are pursuing. Arts and Humanities students found guidance and programming from the CDC particularly unhelpful. While the CDC has recently begun to pursue and promote some opportunities in the arts, more attention, namely journalism, policy research, and other social science careers is still something students feel is lacking.
The CDC is a large department, with many facets that students interact with positively as well. Many students have expressed the need to recalibrate student expectations from the CDC, admitting that these need to be adjusted to more realistic standards.
The CDC has done a lot of substantial work in the past and has often been hailed as one of the most efficient departments on campus, as pointed out by one of the respondents to our survey. A highlight in the findings were the mock interviews and online interviewing resources that the CDC provides. Another respondent mentioned how they know many other students who found jobs through both Handshake and employer sessions hosted by the CDC. Besides this, the summer internship grant has proven to be a valuable resource to a significant number of students throughout the years, enabling students to invest in professional experiences regardless of their financial circumstances. The CDC also provides funding for test preparation, so students can better prepare themselves for a variety of exams: namely GREs, MCAT, and LSAT exams, easing post-graduation anxieties for many. As pointed out by one of the CDC’s former Global Career Peers (GCPs), the CDC also has a strong set of connections outside of NYUAD within specialized fields, which it has, on several occasions, utilized to support students in gaining access to exclusive opportunities.
There exists a myriad of emotions and opinions when it comes to the CDC and our survey only reflects some of those student concerns. Therefore, this article is part of a longer series by The Gazelle, hoping to address the persisting issues in further depth with more diverse perspectives.
Malika Singh is Deputy Opinion Editor and Corban Villa is Web Chief and Opinion Editor. Email them at
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