Johnson’s Career Management Center Gains Top Marks Among Peer Schools

3/20/2012 11:45:00 AM

“Surround-the-student” model boosts job placement and student satisfaction


Student-focused and distinctly hands-on, The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management’s Career Management Center (CMC) continues to make strides in both independent CMC rankings and job placement results. Recently, the CMC gained recognition as one of the “World’s Best Career Management Centers” in a ranking published on Poets and Quants, an independent graduate business school education site led by former BusinessWeek (now Bloomberg BusinessWeek) editor John Byrne. The CMC also reports a 10-percent increase in second-year MBA full-time offers, and an 8-percent increase in summer internship offers, compared to this time last year.

“For job placement, 2010 was better than 2009, and 2011 was better than 2010. We expect 2012 to be even better yet,” said Frederick Staudmyer, assistant dean and director of the CMC.

Johnson’s current hiring results reflect industry projections, which report improving hiring expectations for 2012. According to a survey of corporate recruiters released by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) in December 2011, 74 percent of employers who participated in the survey plan to hire MBA candidates, up from 58 percent in 2011.

“We’re seeing fewer students pursuing investment banking,” Staudmyer said. “Over the past few years, more students have gone into consulting. Demand is up in the industry, and students are seeing consulting as a broad career starter.”

In 2009, 16 percent of Johnson graduates pursued consulting, and by 2011, the number had jumped to 29 percent.     

 

While job placement results are an important metric to measure the efficacy and value that a CMC delivers, student evaluations are also crucial and served as the basis for Byrne’s evaluation of his top-ranking centers.

To establish his ranking of CMCs from top business schools, Byrne examined data over a 24-year period from BusinessWeek’s inaugural ranking in 1998, to its latest in 2010, when Johnson’s CMC earned an A+ grade by the magazine. The results are based on the opinions of more than 83,000 MBA students, who rated their respective CMCs through BusinessWeek. Johnson’s CMC has been ranked among the top 20th percentile in three of the last four BusinessWeek surveys, a distinction that few centers can claim.

Staudmyer noted the perpetual analysis and evaluation that the center conducts to ensure it is not only offering students one-on-one job-seeking support, but also expertise in polishing interviewing, networking, and negotiating skills, among other things.

“We differ from many peer schools because we offer more one-on-one support to students,” Staudmyer said. “A couple years ago, we changed our model from one that was “drop-in,” to assignment-based,” and began using SalesForce customer relationship management software to track students’ progress.”

Pairing students with one of eight professional advisers for personalized career guidance, coupled with its commitment to refining and developing new initiatives, is only one piece of the center’s Integrated Career Management Program.

“Our Integrated Career Management Program helps us deliver on our ‘surround-the-student’ concept,” said Staudmyer. Students are immersed in four initiatives that serve as the pillars of the integrated program: professional clubs; passport programs; career workgroups; and one-to-one career advising.

“The CMC offers students a lot, and I think they use it in different ways for many career-related things,” said Marissa Ferrao, MBA '12, a career workgroup leader. These groups allow first-years to get advice and support from second-year students, who have recently gone through the career search and interview process. “I used the CMC to help me define my career path and determine my immersion. I came in thinking I’d go toward the leadership and development program, but after speaking with Tom Cleary (one of the CMC advisors), I realized marketing would be a better fit, based on what I like to do.” 

Passport programs, another component of the CMC’s integrated program, introduce first-year students to ideas and trends in various industries of interest. The result for MBA students is a CMC that is a trusted support network and source of expertise.

“I think our CMC’s best skill is that they listen to students…they are extremely responsive to students’ requests, needs, and concerns,” said Peter Emigh, MBA '12, a career workgroup leader and Johnson leadership fellow.

“Upon receiving my offer for full-time, I met with the CMC to understand the details,” Ferrao added. “They helped me understand if it was competitive or if I should negotiate.”

As students progress through their business school careers, from first learning about desired industries and developing a marketing plan and positioning statement for themselves, to interviewing and securing full-time job offers in their second year, their needs evolve. Johnson’s CMC offers a unique blend of resources to students at all stages. The newest include: lifetime networking skills; early career strategies; exit strategies; negotiating to get what you want in your career; a series of seven career webinars for newly admitted students; and The 2-Hour Off Campus Job Search, an interactive workshop for students looking to navigate the world of online job postings and execute an off-campus job search. This program aims to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of students looking for jobs outside of conventional on-campus interviews.

“I think there is a big pendulum shift away from the big-box employers that hired the bulk of students in years prior,” said Emigh. “A lot of students are more interested in focused opportunities. As president of the [student] health care club, I saw a big drop-off in students interested in traditional fields, like pharmaceutical marketing, despite heavy on-campus presence.”

Emigh pursued his post-MBA job through an off-campus search, during which the CMC helped by connecting him with Johnson graduates from the past five and six years, many in the areas, where he hoped to work. “Just due to these connections, I was able to have lunch or drinks with key alums in Seattle, Chicago, and Boston,” Emigh said.

Johnson’s alumni network offers connections to more than 10,000 professionals, and as Emigh noted, the CMC works to ensure students’ networking efforts provide value in their job search process.

“Every Johnson student can reach out to alums, but my advisor helped me target the right people, and since he had a relationship with them, he was able to provide a warm introduction that assured some connection would happen,” he said.

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