Key Take Aways from Roosevelt University’s Training and Development Program

Kerri Leo is a Spring 2015 graduate of the MATD program.

Kerri Leo is a Spring 2015 graduate of the MATD program.

By the time you reach the last week of your last class, if you’re like me, you may find that many of the facts you’ve learned are only vague memories overshadowed by the focus of graduation and the changes it brings. While it’s still fresh in my mind, let me share with you what I think are the most important lessons I’ve learned in the Graduate Program in Training & Development.

  • Network, Network, Network Regardless of your current work situation, networking is the single most important thing you should do while in school (except for writing all those papers.) Everyone in your classes, students and instructors alike, are potential future employers. Research has shown that “at least 50 percent of available jobs are never advertised—some studies place that number as high as 80 percent. Networking allows employers to fill open positions, often by individuals outside of the company (or department) who learned of the open position from someone inside the company.” (Rangwala, 2012). I can tell you from personal experience, you never know who is in your class. I was in school full-time and not working. A few months before graduation, I started to look for full-time employment. I saw a job posted at an organization that I really wanted, and I remembered a woman from my Organization Development class had worked there. I reached out to her on LinkedIn to see if she knew anything about the position. Turns out, it was a newly created position that reported to her. I got the job! I’d like to think I got my position due to my amazing skills, but I can’t help but also think that having the connection of Roosevelt’s TRDV program was a huge asset. Since my boss had been through the same program, she knew what I’d learned and how it would be relevant to this position. She knew what my degree meant; I didn’t have to explain to her what instructional design was. Being able to share a common bond will only help you to succeed, so connect with your classmates on LinkedIn. If someone wants to meet for lunch, do it. You never where that person may be in the future.
  • Complete the Portfolio Preparation Form Yes, these forms may seem annoying to have to fill out at the end of every class, but they’re actually useful. When I first saw the form, my immediate reaction was, “This like writing another paper! I’m not doing this!” After all, by the time you get all of your other coursework done, it’s usually 11:58 p.m. the night the class ends and you just want to go to bed. The last thing you want to do is stay up and fill out a form, trying to remember what you just learned. Do it anyway. When you get to 499, if you haven’t filled out this form for every class, trust me, you’ll be sorry. I filled out the form for only one of my classes because it was required (thanks, Vince!) I wished I had filled it out for all of my classes. It would have made pulling together my portfolio so much easier. Take the 15- 20 minutes and fill out the form while the information is still fresh in your mind and it will save you a lot of time in the future.
  • Did I mention networking? Really, I can’t stress this point enough. Never again will you be in the same situation of being surrounded by people who are in your same field for as many hours as when you’re in school. The majority of your instructors are also practitioners and really know what they’re doing. They teach not only because they’re experts in the field, but they want to see others succeed in it as well. One of the webcasts I facilitated while in school was taught by Kim Heintz, an adjunct professor and Jessi Underhill, an alumnus of the TRDV program. One of the key points they emphasized was the importance of keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and connecting with your professors. I had never really thought of connecting with my professors, but Kim made an excellent point: while they may be your instructors right now, they will be your colleagues once you graduate. They’re very well connected in the field and can not only provide you with an excellent reference, they will also probably know of job openings that might be a good fit for you. So get to know your professors a little. Find out where else they work, what their specialties are. You never know where your next job may come from.


  1. What are some of the things you’ve learned in the Training and Development program that are the most useful?
  2. If you are an alumnus or a 499 student, what advice do you have for current and future students?


Rangwala, Sakina. Networking 101. The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2012. Retrieved from


  • I am reading this blog article in my last week of taking TRDV 499 and 4 days before commencement.

    I agree with networking. While working, I attended many Chamber of Commerce networking events monthly. I find networking events conducted with a Chamber of Commerce to be useful as I never know who I will meet. When attending these types of networking events, remember to bring business cards.

    I make a point to try to introduce myself to at least three people at each networking event that I attend after reading a book that suggested doing this.

    I believe it is too hard to network when taking online courses as there is a lack of personalization and a lack of developing relationships. Regarding networking: there are LinkedIn groups that anyone can join for networking.

    I agree with completing the portfolio preparation forms for each class. I knew these were going to would be helpful to remember things that might be necessary for the final portfolio project. I was aware that TRDV 499 was potentially going to go over all classes within this program.

  • Jenny Lemens Seale

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I love hearing awesome networking stories. I’ve experienced unexpected things coming from short conversations months before and believe in the value of meeting and making connections with as many people as possible.
    In these pandemic days, it’s a little harder, but I’m learning new kinds of networking skills by being in a 100% online program.

    I will remember your words when I’m asked to do my first Portfolio Prep Form and won’t skimp on it!

    Jenny Lemens (Seale)

  • Pingback: Portfolio Leverage – Niké Basurto

  • I’ve learned a great deal in the MATD program but the one skill that I don’t think I would’ve developed without attending the program is to use an authoring tool to create e-learning courses. The number of opportunities doubles if you are able to show your future employer that you have the skills to develop e-learning courses. It has definitely worked for me. So my advice for incoming MATD students is it take the E-learning Design and Production courses. You will not regret it.

  • Congratulations! I am a current TRDV 499 student and one word of advice I would give to future students would be to SAVE EVERYTHING from your previous classes for 499! I know it sounds like an easy thing but the more you have to reflect on, the better.

  • Networking is a huge part of being successful. So many times in life I’ve heard it’s not what you do but who you know and who likes you and this is completely true.

  • I agree, networking is a part of training and development that I found to be useful in business and education. For me, networking gives me the opportunity to make connections with many different people, some within your scope of work and meet others to form relationships connected to business and education, locally ad globally.


  • Great idea, Amy! We just formed a TRDV Alumni Board and one of our goals is to connect more with alumni of the program.

  • Kerri! Congrats on graduation and your new job. I found this article helpful, and will be graduating myself in MAOD in May! I agree that alliances are powerful, and admit I do not network outside of class as much as I should. I do, however, make connections in class. Shannon Lazar, Peg O’Donnell, and I regularly get together to support each other (and get in some laughs).
    The networking aspect seems overwhelming to me – and as you remember I am very social, so it’s not the shyness thing. Where is ONE good place to start would you say?
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Honestly, I would start with sending LinkedIn requests to your classmates and professors. Just seeing who they might know can be really helpful. I had connected with my boss on LinkedIn after our class together and when I saw my job posted, I reached out to her to ask her about it. LinkedIn is a great tool.

  • Kerri, this is honestly one of my favorite posts. I don’t think there’s anyway to stress the importance of networking. If anything I wish that I had done more. I found tremendous value in keeping connected with you and others throughout the program. After graduating in December, I wasn’t looking for a role but it came looking for me. A big part of that had to do with this program.
    I was able to use my portfolio in the interview process, I asked a professor for a reference, I reached out to another professor for troubleshooting guidance (thanks, Kim Heinz!), and I now work with an Alumni – which is the whole reason they posted the job on this blog site!
    My big regret is that we don’t have a stronger commitment to regularly connecting. I’ve been thinking about starting a quarterly virtual meet up for those who have graduated the program. Who’s with me?

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