If the last recession taught career service officials anything about getting MBAs jobs, it’s that the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be. So one big underlying trend is to find out how to get in front of new admits before they even step foot on campus.
Some major recruiters are already in the game. Deloitte LLP, for example, piloted a summer internship program for newly admitted MBA students at top schools last year. The professional services firm plans to increase the size of that program this summer.
Why so early? Many top MBA programs tend to be so demanding and all-consuming that there’s little time to focus on career planning early on. That’s why some schools, such as Chicago’s Booth School of Business, have made career-focused sessions part of the first week MBA experience. Still, reaching admits before they are inundated on campus with class work and extracurricular activity may be a more effective way to set career expectations and goals.
Andrea Useem, director of educational licensing and partnerships for bigthink.com, has recently been in contact with more than 50 career service offices at MBA programs around the world. She found that a number of them want to extend their services to a new category of students: new admits.
“As one career services person put it to me, ‘Once someone is admitted to an MBA program and they accept, their digital life begins immediately, as they join Facebook groups, etc.’ Admits aren’t sitting home with their acceptance letters having no contact with anyone. The audience is self-organizing online so carer services wants to get in on that action.”
Career service professionals have other reasons to make early contact with students. “The messages are not always heard by students and many are frustrated by it,” says Useem. “Many wish MBAs thought a little more outside the mainstream recruiting tracks. If you start the messages earlier and earlier, they will be more effective. Once they are in the full-time program, they are extremely busy. So now is the time to get their attention.”
That’s why a few schools are testing a new video career product, produced by bigthink.com, with admitted students over this summer. The video series features mini-lectures on networking, resume building, job interviews, and career strategies. The first to offer the product to its MBA students is the University of Toronto’s Rotman School which launched a career video channel last week. Rotman is offering a nine-week trial of the product, which features weekly career videos from such people as New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell and PayPal founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
For Rotman, the first video features former National Basketball Association player John Amaechi addressing the topic of how to “set extraordinary goals.” Another video features Peter Thiel on how to “think outside the track.”
At least eight other schools in the U.S. and abroad have signed up to offer the career videos, including Spain’s IE. “Some of these schools will be using our product to reach their admitted students over the summer,” says Useem.