Mentor Relationships Matter

For most business professionals, there has been a significant mentor relationship that helped shape their careers.  Having a trusted advisor makes a difference when evaluating career options and next steps.  At the D’Amore-McKim Graduate School of Business, we strongly believe in the power of a mentor relationship and proactively identify mentors for our MBA students.

Mentors are often alumni or trusted business partners.  We match students to mentors based on industry, functional area and overall fit.  Mentors meet with their students at least an hour per month to answer questions and share advice and experience.  Some mentors have invited students to shadow them at work for a day. Other mentors have taken students to an appropriate professional association meeting.  Mentors demonstrate their confidence in our students by introducing the students to their personal network.

While the official relationship continues until graduation, many mentors and students are still in touch years later due to the strength of the bond they built while in the program.  Mentors enjoy giving the students the benefit of their experience and students value the insight and advice from a trusted, impartial resource.

We truly appreciate the support of our mentors.  They truly make a difference for our students.

Reflecting On Residency

The D’Amore-McKim Graduate Career Center just hosted the annual residency reflection event.  Second year students who just completed their June – December corporate residencies were all back on campus to share their experiences.

This event gives second year students an opportunity to learn what their colleagues were doing on residency.  For first year students, it provides valuable interview preparation as they will soon be interviewing for many of these same positions.  Faculty and staff also attended to learn more about the students’ residency experiences.

Our employers provide rich learning experiences for our students and the students make significant contributions in their six months on the job.  The personal and professional growth of the students was in full display at the residency reflection event.     The value of experiential education was on full display.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016 for their outstanding work on residency and thanks to the employers who provided such valuable experiences for them.

Addressing Unemployment in an interview 

Just this week, I’ve received several calls from alumni who have been laid off, restructured, downsized, etc.  Bottom line – they need to find a new job.  While we talk about defining a target list, updating their resumes, preparing for cover letters and interviews, the most frequently asked question is “how do I address being out of work?”

For many years there was a real stigma to being laid off but unfortunately it has become a much more common occurrence.  Many interviews will see the name of the company and know exactly what happened because layoffs often make the news.

As always, the best policy in interviewing is to be honest.  Do not attempt to hide or disguise the truth.  Acknowledge that you were a victim of the latest round of layoffs.  Talk about the valuable work you did while you were there and what you learned along the way.  Stay positive.  Do not speak poorly of the company or your manager.  Focus on the opportunity this provides you to pursue a true passion, try something new, etc.  Demonstrate your resilience by showing that you have a plan for the next stage of your career.

Bad things happen in life that we can’t control and we can’t plan for in advance.  Demonstrate your emotional maturity by focusing on your transferable skills.  Immediately get networking.  The more people who know you are looking the better – enlist them in your search.  Focus your networking on your target companies to maximize your results.  Learn as much as you can about the companies, their culture, hiring process etc. to support your success.  Do not hide behind your computer and apply to as many jobs as possible at online job boards.

Take charge of the next chapter in your life and your career without apologies.  Best of luck.

 

Successful Alumni Abound

On February 11 we held more than 400 interviews for MBA corporate residency.  This was an exceptional day for our students and a testament to the value our students deliver for our employers each year.  What was striking this year was how many of the hiring managers interviewing for residency were alumni of the program.

I am so proud of their continued support of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and our MBA students.  Some of them are students I worked with for their corporate residencies and they are now advancing their careers with their employers.  Interview day felt more like a reunion as former classmates reconnected between interviews and had some friendly competition vying to top talent in the new class.

It is so important to see our MBA alumni paying in forward.  They are interviewing students, participating in networking events, joining students for executive luncheons, participating in panels in Career Management class and hosting site visits for our students.  I am confident that one day the students in the current class will be doing the same things.  Our engaged alumni set a strong example for our students.

The best way to thank those who helped you along the way is to pay it forward – help current students as they begin their professional journeys.  Thanks to our awesome alumni!

 

 

Practice makes the difference in interviews

Practice Makes the Difference in Interviews

While it is important to do your research on the company as you prepare for your interviews, it is also critical that you prepare yourself.  There is nothing like practice sitting across the desk from someone you have never met before, answering their questions and selling yourself for the job to truly prepare you for success in your interviews.

At the D’Amore-McKim Graduate Career Center, we utilize mock interviews to give students this valuable live experience and feedback.  Students arrive in the Career Center at the appointed time in their business suits and are called into the interview room by one of our guest mock interviewers.  We utilize experienced business professionals to conduct our mock interviews so students experience the wide range of interview styles while gaining experience in selling themselves to a stranger.  An interview with a staff member would just not be the same since we see them every day.  We truly appreciate the support of our mock interviewers and the students benefit significantly from their feedback.

Mock interviewers ask a series of informational and behavioral questions to assess the students’ readiness for success in their interviews.  Our guest interviewers provide feedback to the students to help them improve their interviews.  We also record the sessions so students can view their interview and the feedback to help them address specific issues identified for improvement.

We also utilize guest interviewers to conduct telephone mock interviews with students as well.  While students initially consider phone interviews much easier, they quickly realize how much of communication is not verbal.  Without seeing the interviewers’ body language and facial expressions, it is much harder to gauge how they are reacting to your responses.  Again, the interviewers provide valuable feedback to the students.

With the benefit of in-person and telephone mock interviews and feedback, our students are better prepared to successfully interview for the positions they desire and to land the job.  At any stage of your career, practicing your interview skills prior to a critical interview can significantly increase your likelihood of success.

What You Say Does Matter

Whether it is in your formal performance review or in a periodic status meeting with your manager, what you say does matter so be sure you are always professionally presenting your personal brand.  Some phrases are guaranteed to push a manager’s buttons and should be avoided.

“It’s Not My Job”

Not everything can be captured in your job description.  Sometimes projects arise that just need to be done.  Wouldn’t you rather have the reputation of being the “go to” person who can be counted on to get things done instead of someone who wants to live by the limits of the job description?  Sometimes a stretch project shows the manager your capabilities and could lead to increased responsibilities.  Sometimes work just needs to get done and those who are willing to pitch in and make it happen earn reputations as team players.  Don’t build your professional reputation as a shirker or someone who exists only inside the box of their job description.

“I Deserve a Raise”

Who doesn’t?  Most people think they deserve a raise but it is more important to demonstrate why you deserve a raise through your work accomplishments.

“It’s Not My Fault”

Blaming others for every problem does not make you look better, instead you look like someone who can’t work with others.  Avoid the blame game.  Take responsibility for your own errors and work closely with your team to address problems encountered.  Pointing fingers makes you look like you take no responsibility.

“It’s Just Who I Am”

If your manager takes the time to give you constructive feedback, take it seriously and view it as an opportunity for growth.  Don’t write is off because you are who you are.  We all need to grow and change to be successful at work.  Ask for advice on how to address the issue and monitor your progress.  Those who can grow and change are more likely to advance.

 

Pay attention to what you are saying at work so you are not inadvertently damaging your personal brand and your opportunities for success.

Testing your interview skills

While it is important to do your research on the company as you prepare for your interviews, it is also critical that you prepare yourself.  There is nothing like practice sitting across the desk from someone you have never met before, answering their questions and selling yourself for the job to truly prepare you for success in your interviews.

At the D’Amore-McKim Graduate Career Center we utilize mock interviews to give students this valuable live experience and feedback.  Students arrive in the Career Center at the appointed time in their business suits and are called into the interview room by one of our guest mock interviewers.  We utilize experience business professionals to conduct our mock interviews so students experience the wide range of interview styles while gaining experience in selling themselves to a stranger.  An interview with a staff member would just not be the same since we see them every day.

Mock interviewers ask a series of informational and behavioral questions to assess the students’ readiness for success in their interviews.  Our guest interviewers provide feedback to the students to help them improve their interviews.  We also record the sessions so students can view their interview and the feedback to help them address specific issues identified for improvement.

We also utilize guest interviewers to conduct telephone mock interviews with students.  While students initially consider phone interviews much easier, they quickly realize how much of communication is not verbal.  Without seeing the interviewers’ body language and facial expressions it is much harder to gauge how they are reacting to your responses.  Again, the interviewers provide valuable feedback to the students.

With the benefit of in-person and telephone mock interviews and feedback, our students are better prepared to successfully interview for the positions they desire and to land the job.  At any stage of your career, practicing your interview skills prior to a critical interview can significantly increase your likelihood of success.