An MBA program that teaches you how to find a job

by Evil HR Lady on December 3, 2012

Don’t you wish your university had helped you figure out how to get a job at the same time they were teaching you about finance, philosophy or fashion design? College career centers tend to give advice about resume-writing (as if recent graduates have so much stuff to put on a resume that it’s difficult to fit it into two pages), hold practice interviews and arrange on-campus interviews. These are good things. But one school is doing something better: Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth West December 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I wish all college programs would do this. I was an English major, and was told “Oh, yeah, English majors can get jobs because employers want someone who can write!” Bull! Hockey!

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Evil HR Lady December 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I know. When I found out about it, I wanted to know the details because schools do not teach this and they should.

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the gold digger December 3, 2012 at 9:45 pm

My placement office was the opposite. The question I got when I went to them for help (I, too, was an English major) was, “How fast can you type?”

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Evil HR Lady December 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

You know, I actually say that the typing classes I took in high school were my most valuable courses ever. Got me temp jobs and I could write papers really fast.

I still benefit from it today!

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Geoff December 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I have a couple of comments. First, you’d be SURPRISED at how much some college students have to put on their resumes, at least at the institutions I’ve worked at over the years. With the rise of community service requirements (mandatory volunteerism, anyone?) in high school and college, as well as the proliferation of various campus activities (not to mention the fact that many students are working while they’re in school), students often have quite a bit to say. The challenge then becomes how to target that resume effectively, what to leave in and what to exclude, etc. I have had first year students with 4+ page resumes who fought me on taking ANYthing out because “I did it, and I want to be recognized for it.” Fair enough, but most prospective employers aren’t going to slog through the exhaustive version of your resume that you put together as part of your application to college.

Second, it’s not just MBA programs that are dealing with increasing pressure to justify the educational program/cost with clear outcomes and who are looking to provide specific training. I agree with Dalton’s remarks about training students to conduct their job search beyond on-campus interviewing. However, MBA students are likely the easiest population to do this with. They came to graduate school to increase/improve their employment outcomes in a very specific way. As a group, they’re probably the most vocationally motivated population I’ve encountered in 25 years of working in higher education. Undergraduates in general, particularly liberal arts students, non-traditional students, working students, etc. often are focused on different priorities (finishing a particular class, paper, project; working to make the rent money, take care of family) than training to be a better job seeker. Which is a shame, but that’s the reality.

Finally, at most colleges and universities, accessing career development/job search training is a completely voluntary endeavor. Students can generally get as much of it as they want (assuming the office is resourced appropriately), or as little. In other words, it’s the equivalent of spinach on the student activities buffet. It’s good for you, but it’s hard to compete with other more immediately desirable options like, say, double chocolate brownies (e.g. intramural sports, greek life, various student clubs). So, the colleges and universities that incorporate some form of career/professional training through internships, community-based learning and required reflection and integration will probably see better outcomes across a broader spectrum of their graduates.

Geoff

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Evil HR Lady December 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

I totally agree that MBA students are the easiest to help. They’ve already proven themselves in the real world, in many programs.

I wish all schools would put an emphasis on finding a job. I realize that sullies the purity of the education process,but the reality is, people do need jobs.

And, I also agree that resume guidance is necessary, but not sufficient.

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Another Evil HR Director December 5, 2012 at 12:45 pm

While agreeing that educational institutions should “teach” students how to effectively search for a job (high school and college) I also believe time needs to be spent on some basics of the realities of the working world. Many young people (and honestly, many not so young) have no clue how to behave at work. Whether that means simple things like actually coming to work, or coming to work on time, leaving “text speak” and juvenile gossip behind, but also having a realistic expectation of their progress through the corporate structure; understanding the economics of their state, industry or community, etc. These very basic principles will serve them in their working life far faster and better than whether to use networking or an online job board.

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Evil HR Lady December 6, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I think the school fail miserably to prepare students for adult life. Parents are just as bad.

The thing that bothers me the most is the stupid text speak in business communications. The fact that people think this is okay means that their teachers didn’t beat them with a stick whenever they did it.

That’s my next platform: A stick for every teacher!!!!

(And for those of you with no sense of humor, I am joking. Not advocating violence.)

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