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MBA Careers Q&A: Boston College Carroll School of Management

MBA careers interview with Boston College

An MBA aims to provide a springboard for your future career, but getting into a reputable program is no guarantee of success alone. How, then, are you supposed to find your dream job? The careers centers at top business schools are there to help!

Boston College Carroll School of Management’s Office of Career Development helps students learn “how to network, conduct informational interviews, participate effectively in real interviews…map their skills and experience to industry and make the connection on where they might fit,” explains Marilyn Eckelman, the school’s assistant dean of career development. Read below to find out more about the way in which Eckelman and her team help students with everything from résumés to standing out in the presence of prospective employers.

Carroll School studentsWhen do on-campus corporate recruitment events and interviews typically take place at Carroll?

On-campus events and interviewing begins as early as the second week of September. Typically, the events at that time of year are geared towards full-time hiring, but not always. In many instances, but not all, companies will come to present only once (and therefore won’t return for internship hiring) so we encourage any interested students to attend. These are great forums for students to learn more about what employers seek in their candidates, what is current for MBA hiring as well as where industry is headed. The events/recruiting days continue on throughout the year. We have already opened up our calendar for employers to sign up for times in the coming fall (autumn).

Are there particular skills that the careers center helps students to accentuate during job fairs and recruiting?

My office assists with developing résumés (the process for the MBA class of 2018 has already begun). We assign individual advisors to each incoming full-time, first-year student so the building of that relationship starts early. We also work with students on their messaging - so how to network, conduct informational interviews, participate effectively in real interviews, how to map their skill and experience to industry and to make the connection on where they might fit. It’s all very personalized. We do some group work but for the most part, it is individual.    

How does the careers center help MBA students prepare for recruitment events?  

See response to the question above. In addition, we help students think about their profile/skills and why they came to business school as well as to think about what could be next and where they profile the closest.

In what ways does the careers center help match students with companies that will be a good cultural fit for them?

The staff in my office is charged with continually educating ourselves on the different functions/industries and what skills and experiences, in addition to the MBA, are marketable to those industries/functions. We also track where our former students have landed and what has made them successful. During our individual work with students, we try to help them make the connections on where they could be successful. While we don’t discount what students want or say they want, we will try to help them have options.

One additional thing to mention about my office is that everyone that works directly with students comes from industry at some point in their career. We also have very little turnover. I cannot say enough about the continuity of support as well as building the institutional knowledge base that helps us to support students.

Have you seen a change in industries?

Yes, [we have seen] more employers in the biotech/pharma/medical device and healthcare space. Given that we are in Boston, this makes sense, but I would have to add that we are seeing similar companies from other parts of the country reaching out as well. We are also seeing innovation firms who want access to talent. These firms do not always want to do anything that is large scale but they do want their names out in front of students.

Are there any changes to the way in which companies are recruiting? 

Yes, we are seeing more and more webinars. Many companies that do these say they can track participants through the process (from sign up to participation and application) more easily. It is much more cost-effective to employers as they can reach more campuses, which has to be a consideration. We think this is a great way for companies to connect with what might be non-core schools.

We are also seeing more ‘office hours’ where an employer will come and have almost mini-informational meetings with individuals. So, a student signs up to get in front of a company representative where there can be an informal exchange on the role and how to be successful as well as who might fit into the (company) culture. 

Another change that has been happening over the past few years and continues to grow is that employers want to do the shopping as opposed to just posting a job and hoping the right students apply. They are being more active in reviewing résumé books and reaching out to students directly. This supports the notion that what the student brings in the way of skills and experience is relevant to the way in which many firms view the MBA hiring process.

What kind of contact does the Carroll School's Office of Career Development have with MBAs after they graduate?

We keep in touch with our alumni and continue to act as resources for our alumni should they require or request this. With a personal service model, we really do become part of the students’ support team. The relationship transcends the dates of the program and the awarding of a degree. This is what the Boston College community is all about.

Written by Mike Grill

Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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