The Career Management Center: An accountability partner for career growth
When I began the EvMBA program, I was not necessarily planning to make a career transition. I was fairly happy with my employer, and I thought that I had opportunities to grow within the company. I was simply pursuing the MBA to sharpen my analytical and financial skills. Yet, as time passed and circumstances changed, I felt an urge to explore new career opportunities.
The process of making a career transition is no small feat. It requires a significant investment of time, emotional energy and intellectual energy. In between work, school, family commitments and social commitments, you have to squeeze in hours of networking, informational interviews and interview preparation. No matter how exhausted you may be, you must remain disciplined and perseverant.
As I went through my recent career transition, I realized that the rigorous process of searching for a new job is very similar to the process of trying to lose weight. First, both weight loss and career transitions are lifelong battles — few people are every fully satisfied with their weight or their careers. Second, both losing weight and finding a new job are simple in theory but difficult in practice. To lose weight you simply need to reduce caloric intake and increase exercise; to find a new job you simply need to network, apply and interview well. But all of these tasks are easier said than done. Last but not least, both the process of losing weight and the process of finding a new job ere extraordinary difficult to do alone — success rates are much higher with the help of an accountability partner.
While Goizueta hasn’t done much to help me with my weight loss (thanks a lot, snack time!), the Goizueta Career Management Center (CMC) has been an incredible accountability partner in my career transition. The staff has worked with me throughout the various stages of my career transition, and they have equipped me with skills that I’m certain will reap benefits throughout the remainder of my career.
Phase 1: Exploration
During my first few months in the program, I was mostly in the exploratory phase of career transition. I was open to the idea of changing jobs eventually, but I didn’t know exactly which function or industry I wanted to pursue. The Career Management Center offered plenty of programs to suit my needs during this stage. One-on-one coaching sessions provided space to talk through my career ambitions and guidance as I discerned my next career step. Networking events provided opportunities to establish relationships with Goizueta alumni working at top-tier firms around Atlanta. Workshops such as the Networking and LinkedIn Workshop, the Interviewing Success Workshop and the Resume Workshop encouraged me periodically brush up on my skills and polish up my professional portfolio. Finally, the Executives-in-Residence fostered exclusive interactions with accomplished business leaders where I was able to learn from experts in a wide range of industries.
Phase 2: Commitment
Once I finally decided that I wanted to get serious about making a career transition, the CMC was ready and waiting for me with a slew of programs. The Advanced Career Transitions (ACT) program is for students who want to pursue an immediate job search and the On Campus Recruiting (OCR) program is for students who want to prepare for interviews with companies who recruit on campus in the fall. These programs assist students by providing a comprehensive task list and a designated coach who holds students accountable for completing the various aspects of the program. Both ACT and OCR ensure that students have a clearly defined list of target companies, a pristine resume, a polished elevator speech for networking and a slew of articulate answers for STAR interview questions.
I won’t lie — both ACT and OCR are rigorous programs. You may begin to feel a pang of guilt every time you receive an email from your career coach, reminding you of the many tasks you still need to accomplish. You may curse the online VMOCK resume system when it deducts points from your resume score because your margins are too wide or you don’t have enough action language in your job accomplishments. You may find yourself quantifying all of your daily activities because you want to have enough results-oriented examples for your STAR interview questions. Nevertheless, these CMC programs are well worth the effort they require. I can confidently say that without the structure and accountability provided by these programs, I would not have been equipped for my job transition.
Phase 3: Close the Deal
After a series of interviews with various companies, I was fortunate enough to receive a great job offer with a higher salary, a more senior title, and increased management responsibility. But receiving the offer did not mean that I was finished with my work with the CMC. Thanks to a CMC workshop, I was equipped with some tips on how to properly negotiate my salary. Thanks to some advice from alumni I had met at networking events, I knew the proper etiquette for how to decline other offers and how to respectfully close out my last two weeks with my former employer. In the future, I hope to continue working with the CMC by assisting with recruiting top talent at Goizueta.
Thanks to the wonderful people at the CMC who care for the Working Professional students — Joan Coonrod, John Ryder, Bob Knight and Tami Hutto. You help us remain disciplined and perseverant when we don’t have the energy to motivate ourselves! Thanks for being amazing accountability partners.