Introduction

At other business schools, Career Management is a departmental island – a silo. Its purpose is functional: Spell-check résumés, make sure student cover letters are presentable and bring recruiters to campus. Ivey students are recognized as high performers in the marketplace, but the competition for top talent has become increasingly fierce. Ivey, always a progressive leader in business education, has recognized the need to differentiate our students in the market. Through a breakout approach that could only be done at Ivey, Career Management is a dynamically integrated force in the fabric of the School’s MBA programming, starting with the admission process and resulting in the most successful employment placement rates and starting salary of any business school in Canada.

Synopsis

Objective

The objective in reinventing Career Management was to give Ivey students the best opportunity to make the desired shift in their career path. To do this, Ivey shifted Career Management from an office at the end of the hall to a fully-integrated "Personal Trainer"€ model. To succeed in this radical approach, Career Management needed to become more centrally involved in the daily lives of students, increasing the number of touch points and connecting with students from the admissions process, through in-class hours (up to 88 hours of tutorials and clinics plus external vendors) and unique events like Emerald Inc., and Get Connected to their formal introduction to the market. Career Management is no longer an island. It is woven into the fabric of a student'€™s journey to success.

Approach

Unlike most MBA schools, Ivey's Career Management team is fully integrated into all aspects of the student experience:

- Admissions events and interviews: The Career Management team measures a candidate’s employability looking for comfort with ambiguity, goal orientation, measured risk taking and those comfortable solving problems. At the beginning of the student journey, Career Management is there as a part of the curriculum ensuring students are ready when recruiting season begins.
- In-class sessions: These sessions emphasize reputation management principles, career decision making, executive presence, audience empathy and personal narrative development. The in-class sessions provide the foundation students need to develop their personal brand.
- Networking Lab: Before students meet recruiters and alumni, they go through a networking lab – including a unique event with a mock company called Emerald Inc. where actors play the different personalities and roles they might face in an organization to help students hone their skills in a safe setting.
- Self-selected tutorials: These include industry-specific clinics, career communications writing workshops, one-on-one career advisor meetings, and offer management.
- Group Mock Interviews: These facilitated 3-on-1 mock interviews with an advisor enable students to give feedback to one another and gain valuable interviewing skill development so they are equipped to work and support one another.
- Introduction to the Market: Ivey'€™s mandatory three-day Get Connected event serves as a safe way to test our students’ personal brand with alumni and put their networking and communication skills to the test, while at the same time test-driving options of what roles other young alumni have pursued.
- Corporate Relations: The way we work with recruiters is also different. We work with recruiters to develop their brand awareness, better recruit high potentials to get the right candidate for their roles and achieve high offer yield rates. Because we follow students through their lifecycle we know when firms can most effectively engage them at the moment of highest impact and least effort.

Engagament

The heart of Ivey'€™s Career Management program emphasizes direct engagement with students and alumni throughout the student lifecycle. After the team'€™s unique role in admissions interviewing, there are two specific innovative events which also separate Ivey from our competition. As students are beginning to develop their personal brand, they need to learn how to communicate it confidently. In the era of social media, communication is becoming more transactional, and many have lost the art of in-person, direct communication. To counteract this trend, the Ivey Career Management team developed the networking lab event called Emerald Inc. Employing actors and fake company reports, MBA students are subjected to a mock corporate recruiter and networking session. Students are faced with a number of networking challenges and are observed and critiqued by Career Management team members to prepare them for the real thing. The event teaches students how to effectively communicate their personal experiences and career goals to a recruiter and engage in these sometimes awkward engagements with confidence and poise. The next milestone is Ivey'€™s signature three-day Get Connected event in Toronto. Whether Ivey'€™s young and diverse alumni are from globally-recognized firms or local startups, they are front and centre interacting and giving their time and advice to students. There is a strong pay-it-forward sense among alumni who return looking to help and recruit next-generation talent. Get Connected is a milestone event in the MBA Program and recognized as a time when students need to be market ready. The event pushes students out of their comfort zones to test their personal brands with numerous networking sessions, industry specific panels and mock interviews with alumni in a "€œsafe environment"€. This serves as their preparation for the real-life test of recruiting, whether on campus or through other channels.

Impact

Ivey'€™s MBA program lays claim to Canada'€™s top job placement rate and highest salaries three years after graduation according to the Financial Times as well as the top satisfaction rate with Career Management in the country. Not only are students pleased with the support and development the School provides, recruiters view Ivey as globally elite. Bloomberg Businessweek recently released The Bloomberg Recruiter Report which included compelling data and insight from a deep-dive survey the publication did with 1,320 recruiters from more than 600 companies around the world who regularly recruit MBA students as a part of their role. The survey revealed a gap in the skills and attributes employers want most but are hard to find in most MBA graduates. The most prized attributes included strategic thinking, creative problem solving, leadership skills and communications skills. The report showed that Ivey'€™s MBA graduates ranked first in leadership skills, strategic thinking, collaboration and communications skills -€“ among the most-wanted and hardest-to-find skills sought after by recruiters. In the same survey Ivey also placed in the top three globally across the dimensions of motivation / drive, analytical thinking and quantitative skills. Coupled with the recruiter results, Ivey was also named the top business school outside the United States by Bloomberg, a ranking which emphasizes student and recruiter satisfaction.

Next Steps

Ivey and its Career Management team continue to refine, innovate and listen to and respond to market needs. In recognition for their work as a national leader in career development, Ivey has accepted a golden opportunity to work with Canada's high-performance athletes. Starting this fall, Ivey will embark in a partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to provide this country's Olympians with the resources to explore and engage in different career paths. The partnership is a key platform of the COC'€™s Game Plan strategy which aims to support national team athletes to live better lives both during their high-performance careers and beyond. Ivey'€™s Career Management team will provide coaching and workshop opportunities to help athletes develop their personal brand and networking skills as they start to transition to careers after sport.

Other Information

Other - Globe and Mail - Emerald Inc.
Other - Bloomberg Recruiter Skills Report
Other - Bloomberg International Ranking
YouTube Video - Ivey Career Management
YouTube Video - Nurturing Employability at Ivey Business School
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