Carnegie Mellon University Career & Professional Development Center

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Tartan Talks

Tartan Talks is designed to give undergraduate students valuable exposure to the professional world. Through connecting with alumni and conducting informational interviews, students participate in career exploration that will shape their professional futures.

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Students, please use your email address when signing up. 

What is an Informational Interview?

An informational interview is a conversation conducted with an industry professional to collect information about a job, career field, industry, and/or company culture. 

An informational interview is not a job interview. The purpose of these discussions is to help students discover what a professional’s job is like, what they do, what responsibilities they have, and what it's like to work in their position at their company.

In order to set up a Tartan Talk, students search through available host profiles and request to connect with them to discuss their career interests, the hosts’ position or company background, and more. Once a student requests to match with an alumni host, the host should plan on checking their availability to conduct a Tartan Talk via video conferencing (, or telephone. 

An informational interview typically lasts between 30 minutes and an hour.

What are the Benefits of Participating in a Tartan Talk?

Informational interviews allow students to explore their career interests and other professional opportunities. This is especially true for students who are in the process of choosing an academic major, making career choices, or beginning a job search. Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Clarify career goals
  • Expand their professional network
  • Build confidence for job interviews
  • Explore new industries
  • Access the most up-to-date career information
  • Identify professional strengths and weaknesses
  • Obtain critical feedback on job search goals

Carnegie Mellon University Career & Professional Development Center

Group Job Shadowing

Are you an alum or employer interested in hosting a group of students at one time during a specific day? Email to set-up a group job shadowing session.

User Stories

A Student's Experience at Google

Spending a full day at Google in New York as a sophomore was eye-opening. My host Max guided me through his work every day, led me through some cool problems, and let me meet people on his team. He answered questions that were lurking on my mind too. It's really different seeing what an office dynamic is life versus just meeting people at a career fair; it really helped me picture myself working there. And funny, because I'm actually going to be there full time in the fall! Max and I still talk -- I met up with him last summer!

A Student's Experience at Google

A Student's Experience at CDM Smith

My host and I had similar interests involving our career paths so it was refreshing to see what my possible future looked like. She showed me around her office and introduced me to different coworkers, then she took me to a water plant construction site which allowed me to see the varying scenarios and tasks that come with the job.


A Student's Experience at FGY Architects

I got to talk to many people in the FGY Architects firm, some of which were specializing in residential buildings, and some in commercial. I got to see the differences between pursuing both these paths in architecture. Additionally, I got to go with my host and another architect to a house site nearby and watch their decision making process with the client of that house. It was very interesting and informative to job shadow, and it has really helped me confirm my interest in the field of architecture.

A Student's Experience at FGY Architects

A Host's Experience at VMware

I think being able to meet people in various roles was beneficial to my student. She was an HCI major so I planned a dedicated time slot for her to meet the UX team at my company who gave her a lot of relevant advice. My student was also interested in PM roles and she had a brief conversation with the PM of my team. The rest of the time was spent interacting with my team (front end developers) and got to observe our team's interaction with the UX team on our project.

A Host's Experience at VMware

A Host's Experience at Nurun

I think the student was able to get a better glimpse of what work life is like and how agencies function on a day to day basis. I think she also got a better grasp of what a UX designer does in conjunction with the other roles of a company. I also gave her advice on how to talk to employers and finding a job in general. I was able to be updated on the going on's at the design program and get a better sense of what students are looking for, what they're interested in learning about, and their concerns regarding job hunting.

A Host's Experience at Nurun