BUS 103 Professional Development Plan

BUS 103 Professional Development Plan


For bus 103 Assignment 3, you will engage in the following activities over the next two months: (I) research, develop, implement and reflect on a professional development plan, (II) informally present to your classmates, (III) submit drafts of your plans, and (IV) participate in an online professional gallery. There is no longer a peer review for draft papers as part of this assignment. The goals of this assignment are to foster self-awareness, stimulate professional exploration, increase planning and action, and promote reflection on your professional path. Assignment 3: Professional Development is worth 25% of your final grade.


  1. Professional Development Plan

Your final professional development plan will be 3 – 5 pages and single-spaced; the plan will be research-based and include at least three sources to support your statements. Your plan will have five sections (A – E).


  1. Self-Assessment

Assess your own thoughts/opinions/goals as you think about your future. Write at least 2 paragraphs that address these prompts:

  • Why am I interested in pursuing a college degree?
  • What major(s) am I currently most interested in and why?
  • Who or what has influenced my thoughts/goals about majors and careers? How?
  • At this point, what is my ideal job after graduation?


  1. Conduct Research

For the next phase, you will conduct research to identify what specific skills are needed for the job or career field of your choice. What are the necessary knowledge/competencies/skills to work in this field? Why are they important to this work?


To identify these key skills, you should use business professional sources for your research: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Financial Times, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and Bloomberg Businessweek and databases such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ ) and O*NET (https://www.onetonline.org/. Use at least three different business professional sources. Note: You will use one of these articles to informally present to your classmates in early March. (See II. Informal Presentation.)


Write 3 – 4 paragraphs summarizing your research. Use APA-style in-text citations to indicate where you obtained your information. Remember, these specific knowledge/competencies/skills must be research-based (i.e., you don’t just come up with them on your own).


  1. Identify Development Need

From your research, identify ONE of the skills that is required for your field as the focus for your Professional Development Plan. In 2 – 3 paragraphs, indicate the one skill you’ve selected and respond to the following prompts:

  • Why have I identified this ONE skill as the one I would like to develop?
  • What components are involved with this skill? (For example, public speaking involves verbal and non-verbal communication, command of material, engagement with the audience, etc.)
  • What knowledge/competency do I currently have in this skill area? How have I already practiced or developed this skill?
  • What are 10 different ways I can develop this skill? (Be creative and specific as you brainstorm ideas. Think of a few strategies that you can be accomplished online or remotely.)


  1. Action Plan

Now that you’ve generated multiple ideas on how to develop this skill, you will use some of these ideas to create a table that outlines an action plan for developing this ONE skill area. Your Action Plan will include steps you can take: (1) during this semester (by 5/1/2020), (2) in the next 6 months, and (3) by the time you graduate. You are expected to complete one of these action steps in the next six weeks, so consider what virtual steps you can take. Also, be specific. Instead of saying “Take a LinkedIn Learning online class,” your Action Plan should specify which LiL class.


For each time frame within the Action Plan table, identify:

  • What is a specific component of the skill area I want to improve? (e.g., instead of saying “improve Excel skills” indicate what specifically you want to learn like “create a chart with Excel” or “create a PivotTable.”)
  • Which resources/activities will help me advance my skills? (e.g., indicate which particular classes or events, involvement with student organization, work or internship, online tutorials, conversations with informed people, readings, and independent skill practice, etc. Remember, be specific!)
  • What’s the desired outcome/knowledge from each action step? (These outcomes should be clear, specific, and able to be tracked/measured.)


Your Action Plan should adhere to the format on p. 3. Create your own table, copy the headings on the side and top and identify which skill is your focus at the top. Then, draft your own bullet points for each row. You should have one action item (no longer two action items) for each timeframe. See the Action Plan TEMPLATE and SPECIFIC EXAMPLE (p. 3) for more guidance. Note: You are expected to take action and implement at least one of the ideas from your Action Plan over the next six weeks; you will write about what you learned in the reflection portion of the final version of this paper.

BUS 103 Professional Development Plan


  1. Reflection

Write 2 – 3 paragraphs that reflect on what you’ve learned through the process of researching, identifying a career field and key skills, and taking action to improve your skills for this professional development plan. Use personal anecdotes/insights/analysis to provide depth and detail to your self-reflection.

  • How will my action plan contribute to my skill development and contribute to my overall success at Mason and in my career?
  • Which action step did I complete this semester? What did I learn?
  • What questions/concerns do I still have about this field and/or my Action Plan?
  • What are the additional fields I want to explore? Identify an action step that will allow me to explore that additional interest(s).
  • Whom do I know that can provide guidance/insight as I continue to explore career path(s) and develop my professional skills? Name 2 – 3 individuals.

BUS 103 Professional Development Plan





Identified Skill: The ONE skill you selected



Specific knowledge/competency needed for the identified skill   Action step (resources/activities) Desired outcome/knowledge that results from this action step
This semester (by 5/1)  


·   Knowledge/competency 1



·   Resource/activity 1



·   Desired outcome/knowledge from resource/activity 1



The next 6 months  


·   Knowledge/competency 2





·   Resource/activity 2





·   Desired outcome/knowledge from resource/activity 2



By graduation  


·   Knowledge/competency 3





·   Resource/activity 3





·   Desired outcome/knowledge from resource/activity 3



SPECIFIC EXAMPLE: Identified Skill: Public Speaking


  Specific knowledge/competency needed for the identified skill Action step (resources/activities) Desired outcome/knowledge that results from this action step?
This semester

(by 5/1)


Look at the audience instead of presentation notes.


Practice presentations in front of a mirror (i.e., independent skill practice).





Know how often/long I look at the mirror vs. my notes.



The next 6 months  


Present in front of strangers.



Attend Toastmasters meeting on campus




Grow more comfortable presenting in front of strangers.



By graduation  

Be part of an effective team presentation.




Take BUS 303: Advanced Professional Skills which has multiple team presentations.


Make sure the whole team’s presentation is cohesive.



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