Planning Beyond My MBA

I think that it is safe to say that nobody takes on the rigors of a MBA program just for enjoyment and a thirst for knowledge. We all have a greater end-goal in mind.  For many of us, we are looking to make a career shift into a new industry or functional area.  For others of us, we are trying to add new skills and abilities that will help us advance further along our current career paths.  Regardless of which category a candidate falls into, the Career Services department plays a large role in helping the candidate achieve his or her goals.

When I first committed to USD, I thought that Career Services would just consult with me regarding what industry and area I wanted to work in and send me related jobs, but this turned out to be a gross underestimation of the scope of their operations.  It’s true, they do give each and every student one-on-one time to discuss career goals and send us roughly a baker’s dozen worth of internship and full-time job postings each week.  In addition to helping us locate potential employment, they also hosted a class the first semester aimed to help refresh students on job-hunting best practices and interview skills.  In addition to these regularly scheduled class times, the Career Services department frequently hosts Industry Expert Panels, Employer in the Foyer, and miniature job fairs aimed at particular industries or concentrations to help students network and gain valuable face time with company representatives.

Recently, as a joint venture with the other two MBA programs in the San Diego area, Career Services put together the “Hire San Diego” job fair, which boasted over 30 employers, most from the San Diego area, that had full-time or internship openings for MBA students.  These companies represented a wide variety of industries and functional areas; biotech, consulting, insurance, finance, supply chain, marketing, and other positions were available.  This was a prime opportunity for candidates to meet some of the big players in the area and make great first impressions with companies they wanted to work for.

Personally, I did my research ahead of time and narrowed down the 30+ companies to a short list of about 8 companies that I conducted further research on and customized my resumé for.  This turned out to be an excellent strategy as the event was only scheduled to last for three hours and attendance from all three participating schools was very high.  At the beginning of the job fair, I was able to speak at length with two of my top companies, but as more student attendees arrived, lines to speak with each employer (most had two representatives present to speak with us) grew and wait-times could reach 30 minutes.  Planning what companies I wished to speak to ahead of time allowed me to efficiently use my time to make sure I spoke with each one, in lieu of wandering around the crowded hall and talking with random companies.  The research conducted about each company also gave me talking points that I could use to (hopefully) make a strong first impression and increase my chances of landing that summer internship.

Without the guidance and legwork put in by our Career Services department, locating these companies and arming myself with the proper strategies to impress them would make a strenuous undertaking much more tedious and daunting.  I applaud their efforts and know that they will strive to help every student, current and future, achieve their career aspirations. The Career Services team is an amazing asset to the USD MBA program.

~A Lyden Henderson

Lyden is a first year student in the full-time MBA program.  He received his undergraduate degree in Finance from Washington State University.  He is focusing his MBA studies on Supply Chain Management and Management Consulting.

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