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MBA Careers Q&A: McGill Desautels

MBA careers interview with McGill Desautels

The Soutar Career Centre at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management (McGill Desautels) plans recruiting events and helps students hone their interview skills, but did you know that they also play a critical role in the admissions process by providing feedback on non-typical applicants?

In addition to its more typical roles, Marie-José Beaudin, executive director of the Soutar Centre explains that the careers team provides students with “psychometric testing that enables them to identify their behavioral strengths and their core values,” in order to “provide insights into the roles, industries and organizational cultures with which they would have the most affinity and success.”

With on-campus recruiting beginning as early as August at McGill, students should come into the program prepared to work with the careers center in order to hit the ground running for both full-time positions and summer internships. Read about the many other ways in which the school’s careers services helps students get a foot in the door across a vast array of companies below!

Marie-José Beaudin; McGill DesautelsDoes the McGill Desautels career services team work with the MBA admissions team during applicant assessment?

The McGill MBA program’s admissions team consults the career services team regarding applicants whose profiles do not match the program’s typical admissions criteria. Career services will assess those candidates via interview and then provide feedback that is taken into consideration for the final admissions decision.

When do on-campus corporate recruitment events and interviews typically take place at McGill?

On-campus recruitment starts the minute students begin classes in early September and, in particular, for rotational programs as well as banking, consulting and CPG (consumer packaged goods) roles. Some employers hold webinars and sessions as early as August.

Recruitment events held on campus for full-time positions peak in September and October, and continue throughout November, with interviews taking place over the same three months.

Recruitment for summer internships can start as early as September in some industries (namely CPG), and peaks between November and February, with banking and consulting leading the pack on the internship calendar as well. Internship interviews are conducted over the same time period, with the majority taking place in January and early-to-mid February.

Are there particular skills that career services helps students to accentuate during job fairs and recruiting?

In addition to supporting students in preparing an application portfolio that includes their résumé and cover letter, we help students with the following:

  • Communication skills, both written and spoken: How to present themselves to an employer; master interviewing skills; build and elaborate their stories; develop and promote their personal brand.
  • Technical skills: Preparing for case interviews, technical finance interviews and online tests.
  • Networking skills: How to make an impact when meeting people, how to leverage your network, how to build and maintain relationships over time.
  • Negotiation skills: Offer evaluations, salary negotiations, etc.

How do career services help MBA students prepare for recruitment events? In what ways does the career center help match students with companies that will be a good cultural fit for them?

Our MBA students participate in psychometric testing that enables them to identify their behavioral strengths and their core values, which will include their professional and lifestyle values. The psychometric reports also provide insights into the roles, industries and organizational cultures with which they would have the most affinity and success.

With this information, our advisors work one-on-one with students to align them with the roles and industries that best match their career goals, all the while considering the core values and corporate cultures of the individual and their targeted employers.

In terms of preparation, we work with our students to tailor their résumés and cover letters to specific job opportunities. We also hold workshops about personal branding, networking, interviews and negotiation skills. Finally, we organize multiple mock interviews with employers and alumni on a demand basis. This can include behavioral interviews, technical interviews and/or panel interviews depending on the student’s needs. 

Are there any new companies recruiting on campus? Have you seen a change in industries?

Companies that are customer-focused and targeting the 25-40 year old range are increasingly interested in our MBA students. In addition, we have a strong connection with the career center attached to McGill’s Faculty of Engineering and where there are several technology companies developing apps that target MBAs as well. Finally, recent years have seen a big push across all industries and roles for candidates with expertise in business intelligence and analytics.

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

Yes – more and more companies are recruiting through LinkedIn and/or holding webinars and info sessions online. Traditional events such as career fairs, while still valued, are being replaced more and more by company info sessions for smaller, more targeted groups or other networking events. One such event employers enjoy is company visits hosted by employees from multiple business units and senior management; another type of recruiting event comes through ‘gamification’, such as case competitions. These events enable students to get to know a company better in person, allow the employer to spot top talent in action, and enable both to build a relationship together.

Another notable change is that many employers are leveraging technology to screen candidates. Employers are increasingly requesting video recordings as part of the application process (vs. only written documents), followed by video conferencing for first-round interviews (vs. telephone or in person), before moving to in-person interviews for the second and any further rounds.

What kind of contact does the careers center at McGill Desautels have with MBAs after they graduate?

MBAs who graduate become part of our international McGill alumni network that has chapters and events in cities around the world.

We currently have an online platform called McGill Alumni Connect (MAC for short) where current students can reach out directly to graduates on the platform and set up career conversations, résumé reviews and/or interview preparations. Alumni can also connect among themselves via the MAC platform to get to know one another and support each other in their evolving careers.

Furthermore, we hold several activities and networking events geared towards MBA alumni of all generations throughout the year. These events take place in both Montreal and Toronto. Moving forward, we are developing an alumni strategy to further the engagement of our younger alumni.

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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