Boot Camp Speakers

Alessandra Rober Christensen
Alessandra Rober Christensen is the Senior Associate Director for Employer Relations and Recruiting Services at the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is responsible for implementing and driving strategies to provide high-touch recruiting services for all students and alumni as well as providing team management and operational leadership.

She has over a decade of experience in higher education and has worked across several departments including career services and student life. Prior to working at MIT Sloan, Alessandra lead recruiting operations at the MIT Global Education and Career Development Office, served as Assistant Director for Employer Relations at Brandeis International Business School and worked as Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School at University of Miami.

Alessandra served on the Board of ALPFA Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing Latino leaders. Currently, at MIT Sloan, she serves on the Student Matters subcommittee for the Diversity and Community Steering committee.

Alessandra earned her M.Ed in Higher Education Administration and Post-Masters certificates in Enrollment Management and Student Life and Development from University of Miami. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from University of Miami and is a graduate of the NACE Management Leadership Institute.

Heidi Cuthbertson
Campus Relations and Strategy Lead, Ball Aerospace
Heidi Cuthbertson has worked in many facets of the career services profession. From Senior College Recruiter at Freddie Mac, to Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the University of California Riverside, to her current role leading the campus relations strategy, university recruiting and summer intern program at Ball Aerospace, she has developed programs and managed relationships on both sides of the fence. Heidi is currently a board member of MBA CSEA and serves on the Professional Development Committee, the 25th Anniversary Task Force, and co-chairs the inaugural MBA CSEA Career Services Boot Camp along with Karen Dowd. She was conference co-chair for the MBA CSEA 2018 Global Conference in Miami, FL and has served on several other committees for the organization. Heidi earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English from Colgate University and her M.Ed. in Higher Education from Penn State.

Karen Dowd
Karen Dowd has worked for over twenty years in MBA career services and corporate engagement at graduate business schools including Simon/Rochester, Daniels/Denver, Mendoza/Notre Dame, and Darden/ Virginia. Dowd also served as Practice Leader & Senior Consultant for The Empower Group in NY, NY, where Dowd consulted to over 20 graduate business schools. Dowd was also an Instructor in the College of Business at James Madison University where she wrote a textbook in use at colleges across the globe – “Interpersonal Skills in Organizations,” with co-authors de Janusz and Schneider, now in its 6th edition from McGraw-Hill. She also co-authored with Sherrie Gong-Taguchi (formerly of Stanford GSB) “The Official Guide to Getting the Career You Want,” also published by McGraw-Hill.

Dowd was an early advocate for formation of the MBA Career Services & Employers Alliance (CSEA; previously the Career Services Council (CSC)) and prior to that founded with Randy Powell the International Career Services Director group which still meets annually. She also served on the Executive Board of the Wall Street Council. Dowd recently received an award for life-long achievement from the MBA CSEA. She currently co-chairs the MBA CSEA Task Force on Credentialing of new career services professionals and co-chairs with Heidi Cuthbertson the inaugural MBA CSEA Boot Camp for new career services (school) professionals. Dowd has served on the Board, serving as Secretary, head of Research, and chair of the Asian Expansion Initiative through which the CSEA organized its first conference in Asia which Dowd co-chaired with Elana Givens.

Dowd has developed dozens of professional training programs for executives, staff, faculty, alumni and students, and has offered many professional development sessions on career services and corporate engagement at professional association meetings such as AACSB, GMAC, MBA CSEA, NACE and ATD. Dowd has taught numerous for-credit- and non-credit career development courses for undergraduate and graduate students and adults.

Dowd received her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Qualitative Research from the University of Virginia, MS in Counseling & Adult Career Development from Indiana University, and BA in Philosophy from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN.

Dowd and her husband Tom reside in Denver, Colorado.

Elana Givens
Elana Givens is the Director, Office of Career Services (OCS) at The Fletcher School. She is responsible for the general management and strategic direction of the office and oversees the primary functions of career education, counseling and employer relations.

Prior to working at The Fletcher School, Elana led the career center at the graduate business school at Brandeis University preparing students for global careers in business, economics and finance among the private, public and NGO sectors.

Elana moved to higher education following an established career in management consulting. In her work as Managing Partner, Twain Associates, Inc., she advised corporations from the U.S., Europe and Asia on their business strategies. She has extensive experience in many key areas including market and competitive analysis, new business analysis, product and customer profitability, sales and distribution, and acquisition analysis.

Elana serves on the Corporate Advisory Board of ALPFA Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing Latino leaders. She also served on the board of the MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance from 2012 – 2015 and held the position of vice president from 2014 – 2015. She was co-chair of the MBA CSEA's first Asian Conference in Singapore in 2014.

Elana earned her M.S. in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned her B.A. cum laude in Economics from Brandeis University.

John Helmers
Associate Director, Graduate Career Management

John has spent the last 10 years leading Graduate Career Management efforts at the Leeds School of Business at The University of Colorado Boulder, where he and his team provide coaching and programming to full-time and part-time MBA students, as well as MS students across 4 programs. He also oversees the Leeds MBA Professional Mentorship Program, works closely with employers, and teaches the MBA Professional Development course. Prior to joining Leeds he worked in marketing for a global technology company after starting his career in the ski industry.

John’s involvement in MBA CSEA began with conference planning where he chaired multiple committees before co-chairing the 20th Anniversary Global Conference in Minneapolis.  He was on the MBA CSEA Board of Directors from 2014-17 and for the past 4 years has been the co-chair of the Professional Development committee.  He has also served on a number of task forces and special projects.

John received his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Miami University (OH) and obtained his MBA from the Leeds School of Business at The University of Colorado Boulder.

Julie Morton
Julie Morton is the Associate Dean of Career Services and Corporate Relations at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In this role, she oversees corporate relations strategy and outreach and engages with firms which seek to interact with the intellectual life of the school. Julie leads career services activities for students in the full-time, evening, weekend, and executive MBA programs, as well as for alumni. This includes career management programming and recruiting relationships with organizations which seek to source talent from Chicago Booth.

Julie joined Chicago Booth in 2000. Immediately before coming to Booth, she worked in retained executive search. Julie was also a financial services and strategy consultant at what was then Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank) in New York. She spent several years doing strategy and turnaround consulting in central Slovakia and in Jakarta, Indonesia, and she worked for the CFO of Young and Rubicam in New York, in an internal strategy, finance, and operations consulting group.

Julie received her MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. Prior to attending Tuck, she served as the Director of Admissions at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She has an undergraduate degree in International Studies from The Johns Hopkins University.

Julie was a member of the MBA CSEA Board of Directors from 2003 to 2007. During this time, she chaired the Standards Committee, served as the GMAC Liaison, and was involved in developing, implementing, and training members on the initial AUP process. And then, like a bad penny, Julie returned in 2011-2012 as an Advisor to the Standards Committee.

Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson is Director of MBA/Graduate Business Career Services at Iowa State University of Science & Technology in Ames, Iowa.

After an early career in advertising and marketing strategy consulting, Peterson has been involved in the business school career management arena for more than 20 years. He is a frequent presenter at MBA CSEA conferences, and has held seats on numerous MBA CSEA committees. He has served on the organization’s former International and Technology Development committees, has co-chaired the Standards Committee, served on the Specialty Masters Standards Task-Force, currently chairs the Awards and Recognition Committee, and is a member of the MBA CSEA Finance Committee. He has also served the Board of Directors in the roles of Treasurer, President, and President Emeritus.

Peterson is also active in local community and civic organizations, having served the Board of Directors of Iowa Sister States and as both Vice President and President of the Board of Trustees, Octagon Center for the Arts. He has a BA in Marketing from Simpson College, and an MBA from The University of Iowa.

Steve Simpson
MBA Director and Career Consultant, Marketing & Pricing, Simon Business School, University of Rochester

Steve joined Simon in August 2016 after spending more than 15 years as a marketing executive in the media and information service industries. Steve most recently served as VP/Marketing and Strategy for Gannett, an international media and marketing solutions company. Steve currently serves as a member of the MBA CSEA Credentialing Task Force and on the committee planning the inaugural MBA CSEA Boot Camp for new career services (school) professionals. Steve has a BA in Communications and Business from St. John Fisher College, and MBA and MS Media Management degrees from Syracuse University.

Derek Walker
Derek Walker is the MBA CSEA Standards Consultant – providing advice and guidance to member schools on the application of employment data reporting standards.  He works as an independent careers and recruitment consultant, working with business school and other higher education institutions on the provision of careers guidance to students.  Until the end of 2015, Derek was Director of Careers at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford for over 7 years, and before that, he spent 10 years in leadership positions in recruiting at Barclays Capital, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers.  He has been a board member of MBA CSEA, and was part of the Standards Committee that undertook a major review of the Standards in 2011-12.  Derek lives just outside London, and his major interests are sports (running, cycling & tennis), and music - he plays sax in a Steely Dan tribute band.