Students look over a job posting during a Brandeis IBS Career Fair.
By Jeffrey Boxer '13
In a challenging job market, virtually all business schools have made efforts to beef up their career resources for students. But the Career Development Office at Brandeis International Business School (IBS) has chosen to adapt a different strategy than many of its contemporaries, using a vast array of creative programming and employing a one-on-one attitude in its work with students.
The Career Development Office (CDO) offers countless events and opportunities that you would expect at a top institution. There is a course titled “Launching Your Global Career,” as well as weekly targeted workshops, both of which help students with everything from resume writing to interview skills. The office emphasizes self-assessment skills, helping students figure out their interests and which career paths best suit them. There are on and off-campus career fairs, as well as trips to individual employers in Boston, New York, and across the school’s alumni network. The CDO’s website offers access to thousands of job listings in locations across the globe.
Where the office sets itself apart is in some of its non-traditional offerings. Being taken to dinner for a job interview and confused which fork to use for your salad? Every year, the CDO brings in a consulting firm that teaches students etiquette for every step of the process. Preparing for a networking event? The office hosts a mock meet-and-greet, where students are encouraged to describe their interests and skills to employers played by professionals enrolled in BOLLI, the Brandeis life-long learning institute.
“It’s a real opportunity [for students] to talk about who they are and what they are interested in, so that when they get to real networking opportunities, they don’t just stand in the corner, they venture out,” explained Elana Givens, Associate Dean for Career Services.
There have also been LinkedIn training sessions, as well as the Executives in Residence program, which, according to Givens, enables motivated candidates to hone skills outside the classroom with leaders in business, government and nonprofit sectors. “We try to think of every possible test that students will go through and prepare them for everything,” said Director of Career Development Marcia Katz.
Developing careers globally
Like Brandeis IBS itself, the CDO has a uniquely global approach to its craft. With an international student body, faculty, and a wide array of worldwide partnerships, the office is able to build relationships in markets that most other schools simply don’t reach. This isn't to say that traditional employment vessels are overlooked. Rather, Givens said that the school doesn't limit itself to the typical networking events. “We don’t focus on one ‘job market’ per se—we take a global perspective,” she said. “We see it differently—it’s about tapping into many regions and markets.”
For international students who may not necessarily stay in the U.S. after graduation, or anyone interested in casting a wider net in their job hunt, such an approach can make all the difference: just look at Emily Geismar, MA ’11, who said that her immediate connection with others at the school helped her hear about an opportunity at Pricewaterhouse Coopers that she might not have otherwise gotten. “By talking with people in career services, professors and friends, I was able to communicate [my interests], and later, when something happened to pop up, I was the first person that came to someone’s mind,” she said. Geismar interned at PwC, and now works there full time.
Jack Jia, MBA ’11 had a similar experience when Givens suggested he get in touch with a Brandeis alumnus in Hong Kong who was looking for a full-time business development manager. “I wrote him a letter, and made a proposal that I intern for him,” he said. “A few weeks later, I got an email asking when I could start.”
But distinctive events, a global reach, and an interconnected student body are not the only reasons for the CDO’s success. Givens said that the credit goes to the relentless work that her staff puts in to connect with students. “The programs we choose are carefully thought out for our population,” she said. “If someone seeks out help, they will get it, and they will get it in a personalized way.”
Others have started to take note of the office’s success; both the Economist and the Financial Times singled out the CDO as a key component of the school’s meteoric rise through business school rankings. So whether you have an interview to prepare for or you have no idea which fork to use for your Cobb salad, the CDO at Brandeis IBS has you covered.