Achieving career goals by landing a good job in a reputable business organisation or launching their own business venture is the ultimate target of every Master’s student. Usually, the target is clearly defined, even at the beginning of the study, but the way to achieve it is very often unclear. Many are unsure of the shortest route to their dream job. In fact, with recent economic uncertainties, this has become a serious problem for the bulk of graduates.
Undoubtedly, going to the career services of your business school should be the first step in your job search efforts. They can be very helpful as they provide invaluable advice to their students and recent graduates on various areas related to the job search and organise various career events both during the Master’s programme and afterwards.
“IE Business School regularly carries out workshops for students and alumni in order to increase their personal skills. [These include] communication, cultural abilities, leadership and entrepreneurship skills, social responsibility and ethical awareness, and useful presentation techniques. There are also a number of workshops which assist the students in developing useful professional skills, such as team building tasks and adaptability seminars,” says Amber Wigmore Alvarez, Executive Director of Career Services at Spain’s IE Business School.
Business school career services are very active in organising career events to help graduates directly meet recruiters and alumni, providing them with advice and sharing their experience in their job search.
Schools' career management services also encourage students to define their own personal and professional plans throughout the course of study. School teams help students shape their future careers by providing them with the insights and tools they need to find their ideal job. For example, at Antwerp Management School, in interactive workshops and seminars and during networking activities with companies and alumni, students obtain a better view on their future careers and the different possibilities on the labour market.
The school’s Career Management Service encourages its students to become ‘managers’ of their own career through events such as group sessions on topics relevant to the current job market and CV writing (helping students on how to write a CV that will guarantee the best job opportunities on the market); Other activities include:
- self-assessment and self-awareness activities in which the school aims to make students think about their career and the road they want to follow;
- the use of social media for the purpose of self-marketing and job search;
- interview training through interactive session with theory and practical exercises on how to survive a job interview;
- individual guidance and specific factors for one's own job search;
Many schools also organise a kick-off day, held at the start of the academic year. Kick-off days typically feature full-day workshops on self-awareness, self-motivation and insight into one's own functioning. Some universities, like Antwerp Management School also host a team-building seminar, which is a two-day residential seminar to deepen self-knowledge, build awareness of challenges and possibilities of team work, etc. Featured during the seminar are presentation skills workshops, as well as workshops, given by recruitment agencies. One can also expect to participate in traineeships and a Careers Forum organised on campus with a wide variety of companies willing to hold one-to-one conversations on their opportunities.
In order to help its Master's in Management programme graduates land a job, London Business School (LBS) has introduced a Career Services Programme, preparing students for on-going job and career activity through a career week - a dedicated event in October for Master's in Management students. The week includes:
- recruiter presentations and networking events;
- recruitment evenings held in Autumn during which students search for their ideal career;
- clubs and societies – which in fact are professional interest clubs and communities on campus – where students can organise networking events and company visits, source guest speakers and panel members for conferences;
LBS Career Services team works with a wide range of employers on a regular basis, providing opportunities to meet with students through personal, as well as online channels. The team also provides advice to employers seeking candidates to suit specific opportunities and coordinates.
“We give students a head start in achieving their career goals by focusing on engagement from the very beginning and incorporating our extensive Career Services Skills Development Programme into the curriculum,” says LBS. “Our expert coaches offer a real-world focus, providing training, group activities and individual support to foster vital career skills.” The programme includes knowledge of recruitment in the finance, consulting and corporate sectors; development of commercial and competitive CVs and cover letters; honing job-search skills; successful networking; developing interview techniques and practice; and understanding the recruitment processes of organisations.
“IE alumni worldwide stay connected through regional and sector clubs, and serve to guide students pursuing employment opportunities in their areas of interest” says Amber Alvarez, Executive Director of Career Services at Spanish-based IE Business School. Alumni are the backbone of academic institutions and the Career Management Centre's services would not be possible without their desire to give back to IE, in the form of mentoring, volunteering for mock interviews and career insights.
Alumni networks are seen as a key asset of every Master’s programme, one that continues generating benefits long after graduation. To students and soon-to-be graduates, alumni are a invaluable source of information. They share their experience, provide advice, tutor students, help them in preparing their CVs/resumes, link graduates with recruiters, etc.
“I arrived on the Master's in Management (MiM) programme intending to figure out whether I wanted to work in an agency environment or a client-side marketing role. I knew that breaking into the marketing world could be a challenge, so being able to connect with LBS alumni was an unparalleled opportunity to broaden my contact base and gain first-hand insight into the industry,” says James Alexander, Master's in Management graduate at London Business School (LBS).
“In fact, I realised quite quickly [into the course] that the most important conversations would actually happen outside the classroom. For example, during the autumn term I worked on a marketing project for an online fashion start-up through the Entrepreneurship Club. I also had the chance to work on a pitch for an automobile campaign launch at a global advertising agency and participate in a brainstorm for a media agency’s new retail client. All of these opportunities I found through London Business School’s alumni network, student-run clubs, or other on-campus events,” adds James Alexander.
Been there, done that
There is little reason to overstate the importance of exploring all possible channels when looking for a job upon graduation. It is the most logical thing to do. However what truly makes this whole ordeal a daunting task at best, is the question “Where do I start?” You can be certain that almost everyone is worrying about it in the days before graduation. But think no more. Ask your teachers about the Career Services department of your school and call them straight away. They will give you advice, tell you about any career events, remind you to get you in contact with your alumni network and explain to you why this is such a good idea. Finally, they might even give you contacts of the school’s partners in the business world.
Their job to help you find employment, and they’ll try their absolute best to do it. And if you wonder why, it’s because they’ve already been in your shoes.
This article has been produced by Advent Group and featured in the 2015-2016 Access Masters Guide