University of Tennessee

Adam O’Dell

As director of career management for Haslam's Graduate & Executive Education, O’Dell helps students navigate their career path.

- Staff

Each day Adam O’Dell does work that is near and dear to his heart. As Director of Career Management for Graduate & Executive Education (GEE) in the Haslam College of Business, O’Dell helps students navigate their career path.

While the role is new to O’Dell, Haslam and GEE are familiar areas. Since completing his MS in higher education administration at UT in 2015, O’Dell has worked with GEE in recruitment and professional development. The opportunity for a leadership role in career management was a natural progression. Now, as director of career management, O’Dell is there for his students’ next steps.

“One of the biggest perpetuating factors bringing people back to education is to move their careers – to grow or pivot,” he says. “I am fortunate to be an integral part of the education experience and to develop the skills and resources students need to execute the plan for their careers.”

Working closely with the GEE admissions team, program teams and faculty, O’Dell is able to guide students through strategic career decisions, helping them chart the course and think bigger, to think beyond the immediate moment. It is a process they can take into their next career transitions, he says.

The challenges of the recent economic climate have underlined the need for career management as many returning students face changes in their careers. O’Dell recognizes these hurdles and sees potential for innovation for his students and himself.

“One thing that has continually excited me about where I work has been the opportunity to build,” O’Dell says. “I don’t think this is an opportunity you have everywhere. I have room for creativity and to push forward.”

O’Dell brings this positive, forward-thinking attitude with him as he plans for the future of career management in GEE.

“The market is changing and what students are looking for in employers and values they embrace has shifted drastically,” says O’Dell. “The ‘great reshuffling’ is causing an upset. We’re looking to extend options and lean on resources, keeping us ahead of the curve and not behind.”

For O’Dell this means looking at technology to extend the GEE footprint and bolster in-person approaches to career management. He is also seeking ways to build relationships with program alumni.

“We want to reach out to our alumni and deepen those connections, bringing them back to this program and making them part of the journey,” O’Dell says, adding that his door is open to connect with interested alumni. “I’m excited to connect with individuals and happy to be a conduit. I look forward to sharing opportunities and looking for chances to build.”