Career Coaching During and After the EMBA

Career coaches can help EMBA graduates discover their strengths, assets and attributes to land their ideal job.

After close to 20 years of distinguished service in law enforcement, Martin Buckland started Elite Resumes to provide people with résumé help and successful job-search strategies. Since then, he has come to specialize in career management for senior executives, becoming a career management expert for the EMBA program at Ivey Business School in 2008 and establishing a site dedicated to the coaching needs of EMBA graduates, EMBA Career Coach, in 2015. Ivey's EMBA program was ranked joint 35th in the world in the QS Global EMBA Rankings 2018.

In this interview, Buckland offers some insights into the importance of career coaching both within the confines of an EMBA program and after participants graduate.  

You provide résumé critiques and coach executive MBA graduates; how did you get into career coaching?

I got into career coaching to solve gaps in the market. In working with clients, I repeatedly heard complaints regarding the lack of quality coaching, particularly at the senior and EMBA levels. I have learned, no matter what country your career resides in, there remains a lack of knowledge on how to manage your career from this day forward, and my goal is to help as many people as possible discover their strengths, assets and attributes to land their ideal job.

You provide coaching services during as well as after the EMBA; how important is executive coaching for an EMBA participant? What is the value-add of executive coaching in your opinion?

Committing to an arduous EMBA program, from both an academic perspective as well as the commitment away from family and friends, is a massive undertaking. As an individual goes through the program, there are peaks and valleys in energy levels and focus, and this is where I play a role in turning negativity and self-doubt into positivity with an emphasis on the end goal.

However, in my years of working with many EMBA clients, there seems to be a greater need post-graduation as clients hit a roadblock concerning next steps. Questions I repeatedly hear are: How do I market myself after getting my EMBA? What are the new tools and job search strategies I should be using to align my freshly acquired leadership skills with executive appointments? I think this is where the maximum ROI on executive coaching really lies, in educating graduates on how to take their career to the next level, climb that ladder of success, and ultimately, reap the rewards of an EMBA designation.

Most EMBA programs have a leadership development component within their curriculum, how effective are those workshops in your opinion?

It is interesting to listen to my EMBA clients relay their perspective on leadership development as their program unfolds. Each business school teaches this subject differently, confidently and professionally. Every graduate completes the program with a grounding in the attributes required to advance their leadership development and career.  However, there have been incidents in which some of EMBA clients have had difficulty in strategizing and applying the lessons learned in the EMBA leadership development programs into a workplace environment.

You’ve been coaching a lot of EMBA participants and graduates, what is their biggest challenges/concerns and how do you help them overcome those hurdles?

As I mentioned earlier, the root of their challenges/concerns stems from not knowing how to market themselves in their résumé, on social media sites, and in-person. This is why I decided to expand my EMBA coaching and launch EMBA Career Coach. My service offerings have been strategically crafted to help EMBA clients overcome these hurdles. Clients learn to leverage what they have with what they want, share lessons learned with colleagues, and build a network of influencers to help manage their career.

This article was originally written in August 2016 and was updated in April 2018 to reflect the latest rankings data.

Written by Sophie Mathiaut

Sophie M Mathiaut has been working in higher education management for over nine years in both North America and Europe, and now heads QS’s executive MBA product division. Prior to this, Sophie worked for the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program in Germany, and the New York Institute of Technology and World Education Services in New York City. Sophie specializes in higher education marketing & recruiting, research, and executive education.

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