Career Management & the Job Search: What to Expect

As Fuqua’s latest graduates begin their first assignments out of business school, I thought I would highlight some of the insights, trends, and best practices in MBA recruiting and employment, so that you may get a better sense of what to expect from the job search process and Fuqua’s Career Management Center (CMC). Here are some questions and answers that may be helpful for you as a prospective student:

How is Fuqua differentiated from other schools in terms of career services?

Aside from the more obvious things that we do, such as recruiting and career prep, I think it’s important to highlight our visibility, accessibility, and diversity. We strive to engage with students in ways and times that meet their needs:

  • Career coaches are available on an on-demand basis every day during the academic year.
  • CMC staff members attend all employer recruiting events, even those held after business hours, to address real-time needs of students and recruiters.
  • Each of the 6 sections in the first-year class has an assigned liaison from the CMC who meets regularly with student leadership from each section to gauge how students are doing. This liaison also facilitates a quarterly presentation to review important milestones and to answer questions.
  • We teach most of our core content for first-year MBA students in the required Leadership Communications course. Important career and job search skill building is done in the classroom context and schedule.
  • The CMC team is very diverse across multiple dimensions — we have lived and worked outside the United States; we have prior experience in industries from investment banking to consulting to consumer goods to entrepreneurship to higher education; and we represent different ethnicities and generations — yet we share a passion for Fuqua and our student and employer stakeholders.

What does the typical MBA job search look like today?

As with any career transition, today’s MBA job search is a complex and often difficult process. Students must balance their time between academics, recruiting, and co-curricular activities, and no two experiences are exactly the same.

We are fortunate that employers often engage in multiple channels on our campus to identify potential new hires. In the past, formal corporate presentations and on-campus interviews were the primary mechanisms in the campus environment, but options now range from in-class cases and lectures, to drop-in hours, to mock interviews, for-credit experiential learning, and many other types of interactions. While students have to prioritize how they spend their time and energy, this dynamic environment provides a wide range of engagement opportunities and allows employers and students to learn more about each other.

How (and why) is career and job search preparation woven into the MBA curriculum during the first year?

Students are incredibly busy, especially during the first semester, when early preparation for first-year students is especially important. Integrating career modules into the Leadership Communication course ensures you get fundamental knowledge and skills without adding further commitments to your schedule.

In addition to the practical benefits, the job search process can be boiled down to key elements of communication, so alignment in this area is only natural. Effective persuasion, audience-focused messaging, and advocacy building are concepts learned in Leadership Communication that students can and should apply in their job search.

It’s highly likely that you’ll use your job search skills beyond your time at Fuqua, as most of you will change employers multiple times in your post-MBA career. Much as you learn key course topics for later application, such as accounting or financial modeling, the same is true for the information and skills needed to navigate future job or career changes. 

What is an example of a success story from a student working with the CMC?

One example this year is a graduating student who worked with one of our Sector Directors during her entire two years at Fuqua. Our staff member connected the student with the local office of a global energy technology company. After much networking on the student’s part, with guidance from us all along the way, the company created a new strategy role for this graduate to move into after graduation. The combination of the Fuqua network, the skills and knowledge she learned while she was here, and the student’s initiative and perseverance produced a great result.

An increasing number of Fuqua graduates have been going into consulting over the past few years. What are some of the other or less traditional jobs that students are going into this spring?

We have students going into a wide variety of industries and functions, both in corporate and non-profit settings. Students graduating this year have taken roles at Falabella — a Chilean retailer; the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; and Social Impact Architects, to name a few. As more industries recognize the cross-functional value of an MBA, students have more opportunities to work in an area for which they have passion.

Consulting, financial services, and consumer products are often considered “the big 3″ traditional MBA career paths and continue to attract many Fuqua graduates and other top MBAs each year.

As technology products and services have become more embedded in daily life, this sector has become an increasingly popular MBA destination. The tech industry offers a wide range of opportunity for MBAs from product management roles at large employers to general management roles at early stage start-ups.

Other sectors that are increasingly sought by MBAs for internships and full-time positions are health, retail, social impact, and energy. The diversity of employers in these sectors is vast and accommodates the varied career interests of MBAs — from those with very specific niche skills and focus to those wanting a more traditional MBA career experience with a large multinational employer.

Who are some of the primary recruiters that come to campus?

Fuqua is proud to partner with some of the world’s finest corporations and organizations with hundreds of recruiters and alumni visiting campus each year. Employers represent diverse industries and job functions and offer varied activities such as formal recruiting events, student club programs, industry seminars, in-class engagement, and experiential learning projects.

For more details, please review our annual employment reports that spotlight top employers as well as the functions, industries, and geographies where our graduates and interns go to work each year.

Career Management

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Sheryle Dirks is Associate Dean of the Career Management Center.

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