The MBA Hub
Spring is a busy time for MBA students, as first year students get ready to start summer internships and second year students land their dream jobs.
Students at Portland State University are achieving great success on both fronts. We’ve seen an uptick in the number of students with job offers before graduation, and there's still time before students don their caps and gowns to walk across the stage at the annual Hooding Ceremony.
So how are these students achieving this success? In recent conversations with MBA students, a few themes emerged.
First, it’s important to start preparing for your career as soon as you enter the program. This is demonstrated by the story of one of our successful second year students who has landed his dream job.
Ian Skelly entered the MBA program in Fall 2011 with a background in a variety of functions including finance, operations and marketing.
After graduation, Ian will start as a Consultant with Hitachi Consulting, a highly competitive position.
I asked Ian when he decided he wanted to pursue consulting. His response was: “Within the first month of the MBA program. When I came back to school I knew that I wanted a career change, but had no idea what I wanted to do. I visited the career office during my first week on campus, and Jodi recommended that I start exploring different industries through the use of informational interviews. Based on my previous work experience and interests, she suggested that I start with consulting. An introduction was made to a graduate of the PSU MBA program who had recently been hired by Hitachi Consulting. We met up for coffee shortly thereafter, and the rest is history!”
This is a dream job for Ian, as he says “at Hitachi, I'll be able to work across various industries, and help some of the world's most innovative companies find solutions to their greatest problems. This bodes well for someone who is curious by nature, enjoys travel, and has a knack for problem solving.”
Another career success theme is demonstrated by Jacqueleine “Jacey” Marushia-Laurain, who entered the MBA program in Fall 2012. Jacey previously excelled in sales roles with companies such as Dow Corning Corporation and Rockwell Automation. This summer she’ll be leveraging her sales background into a marketing internship at Blount International, a Portland-based manufacturer of outdoor products, industrial and power equipment, and lawnmowers.
Jacey attributes some of her success to the power of building a strong network. She says, “never underestimate the power of a good network or take that network for granted. Don't wait until you are looking for a job to make contacts; get to know people, listen and ask questions. Company culture is almost more important than the job itself; a strong network will help you identify opportunities that are a good fit for you rather than what is posted and readily available.”
MBA student Meghan Rupp echoes this same point; she advises students to “network, network, network. PSU professors and administration are well connected, and can be very helpful in connecting you with professionals in your area of interest. All you have to do is ask. Especially if you don’t know where you want to go in your career — just start talking to professionals about what they like and don’t like about their job.”
All that networking has paid off for Meghan. She graduates this week, but has already started a new position with Nike as a Logistics Analyst.
Current and incoming MBA students can learn a lot from these stories. I work with all students who want to talk about how they can start their career planning early, and how they can build their network.
I look forward to sharing more success stories in the future and, of course, staying in touch with Ian, Jacey, Meghan and other MBA students as they launch (or re-launch) their careers.
Jodi Nelson is the Career Development Advisor for graduate business students at Portland State University. As an MBA graduate herself, Jodi guides students on all aspects of career management including resume writing, networking, job searching, and interviewing. She also manages all career related activities such as career panels, workshops and more.