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What Can You Do With an Organizational Communication Degree?

An Interview with Julie Rudnik (CMN '17, '18)

​​You're no doubt passionate about what you're studying, but have you ever felt the pressure of what comes next? Perhaps that pressure comes from creating a plan to ensure you achieve your professional goals. Maybe you're still wondering what career paths are open to you in order to pursue a job that truly excites you. Either way, the alumni of the College of Communication are here to help you! This series of alumni interviews will showcase various careers you might want to pursue after graduation.

Let these alumni experiences guide you in using your ambitions and DePaul education to achieve success in the working world. 

The following is our interview with alumna Julie Rudnik: 

Julie Rudnik

My name is Julie Rudnik. I attended DePaul from  2013-2018 and received both my BA ('17) and MA ('18) during that time by taking advantage of the five-year program. I majored in organizational communication and participated in the honors program. I still live in Chicago with my husband, and I enjoy attending concerts, checking out new parks with my dog and searching for the best breweries and bagel shops around the city!

Who is your current employer, and what is your current position?

Right now, I'm working at a company called Tempus as a part of the talent development team. My role is a people operations business partner – talent development.

What was your journey to your current employment?

During my senior year of college, I found an internship at a tech start-up called G2 Crowd. This internship grew into a full-time role as I graduated and introduced me to the worlds of HR/people operations, talent development and the larger tech industry. 

I began my career in a recruiting position, but realized I found a stronger interest and passion in developing employees within the company. 

This led me to projects focused more on training and development of employees, rather than hiring new employees. Since my first role, I've worked at two other companies and have continued to advance my career within the people operations and talent development teams!

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

A typical day of work consists of a lot of project work and training facilitation. I'm constantly building new internal programs to help employees continue to learn, grow and develop valuable skills. These programs require a lot of external research and collaboration with my coworkers.

When I'm not working on building these programs, I'm likely facilitating them! Some recent ones I've led have focused on new hire orientations, manager training sessions or an internal podcast series where I interviewed our C-suite about their careers (I actually ask similar questions to the ones I'm answering now!).

What is the most fulfilling part of your current position?

The most fulfilling part of my position is getting to know so many different kinds of people and helping them find ways to continue learning and growing within their careers.

Julie Rudnik at graduation.
What are the most valuable things you gained from your education with the College of Communication? How have they helped you get to where you are now?

Two of the most valuable things I gained from my education with the College of Communication are the ability to share information effectively (or communicate), and to think creatively. 

My time at DePaul prepared me for the jobs I've had so far by helping me find ways to be clear in my writing and speaking skills. I am always improving, but I developed a great foundation for how to communicate professionally from my courses that continue to be relevant in my day-to-day work.

Secondly, I'm grateful for my time at DePaul for helping show me how I could bring creativity to professional environments. Not only did I learn how to write and speak formally, but I got comfortable applying my own style, flair and even humor to my work. This continues to be important to my job and I'm appreciative that I got to experience and practice this in my courses!

Is there a College of Communication instructor or professor who left an impact on you? If so, what did you learn from them?

I had so many great instructors and professors that positively impacted me, but one that stood out most was Kendra Knight. I purposefully took additional classes of hers because I really enjoyed her teaching style and her research. Through her courses, I discovered ways that academia could be interesting and fun! Her perspective helped me find more creative ways to understand how humans communicate and form connections, which is ultimately what led me to my current role.

Is there a specific experience at DePaul as a whole that left a lasting impression on you?

One of my favorite aspects of DePaul is the Chicago Quarter​. This experience taught me so much. I learned about so many different neighborhoods, how to navigate the city through public transportation and how to be a college student! I even made a lifelong friend through this course. I still tell people about this unique experience and even spot some of the public art pieces around town that we studied (the course I took was all about public art)!

What words of advice do you have for current students?

Explore paths that interest you! Don't feel pressure to enroll in classes or take internships that you think will look good on a resume but aren't of interest to you. Pursue the opportunities that you would enjoy most. 

I had no idea the job I currently have was an option; it wasn't until I allowed myself to try out new opportunities that this career path emerged. And I expect it to change again as I continue developing myself and pursuing new interests! DePaul has an amazing network of talented people that keep showing me new careers that are possible. I can't wait to see where I will go next!