MBA candidates arrive at business school with a kaleidoscope of aspirations – transitioning into marketing, tackling global issues with the UN, or even venturing into the exciting world of Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA). The list goes on!  In this sea of ambitions, many of us turn to career services for guidance, navigating the intricate landscape of MBA recruitment.

We know firsthand the challenge of crafting a one-size-fits-all support system that caters to a diverse student body while offering the necessary level of personalization.  To gain a deeper understanding of student experiences, we spoke with over 25 fellow MBAs across 10+ business schools.  The insights we gleaned were invaluable, shedding light on both effective practices and areas for improvement.

Dive deeper! Below, we explore these insights in more detail, outlining how career services can be further optimized to empower every student’s unique journey.

Things I thank my career center for

Networking with top firms 

“US MBA recruitment indexes quite significantly on Networking, an area many of the international students seemed to be slower at. The initial sessions helped navigate this situation by teaching us how to introduce, dive into and drive the conversation. Personally, I’m still in contact with some of the company representatives, credit to the career center’s best practices” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Booth School of Management, Chicago 

“During my final year of undergrad, I was looking to start my career in the oil & gas industry. At that time, there weren’t many oil & gas companies coming to our university for recruitment, and my university didn’t have direct connections with such companies. So, I reached out to the career center, and they immediately set up a meeting with a career advisor. The advisor helped me revamp my resume and provided valuable tips for networking and reaching out to potential employers in the oil & gas industry. They also conducted mock interviews with me, which greatly boosted my confidence. Thanks to their support, I was able to land multiple interviews and eventually secure a job at a reputed oil & gas company in a role that I wanted” – Yash Jain, MBA Candidate ‘25,University of Alberta, Alberta 

Conducting world class workshops and training sessions 

“The career center training on small talk, creating an elevator pitch, building a cover letter and resume, cold calling, and outreach, helped prepare me for success.” – MBA Candidate 25’, Wharton School of Business, Philadelphia

“The training to polish our networking and interviewing skills was incredibly valuable, especially the mock sessions with coaches and second-year students recruiting for similar industries.” – MBA Candidate ’25, Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame

“Don’t stop organizing the mock networking nights. The allocation of second years as career peers to help review resumes, share advice and participate in mock interviews was incredibly helpful. Also, don’t stop sharing words of optimism to keep students motivated.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

“Throughout the fall quarter, I met with my advisor several times. He was instrumental in helping me develop a plan to secure an internship, including setting timelines and managing expectations. When I received an offer, he even provided guidance on how to expedite the interview process with another company. The career center also offered valuable resources, including workshops, internship listings, career coaching sessions, and a constantly updated information repository.” – Victoria Lever, MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

Providing mentoring and coaching 

“The career center was instrumental in my recruiting process. I attended coffee chats that were facilitated by the CMC and then interviews organized by them. Their strong relationships with my target companies helped me get many more interviews than I would have if I were recruiting solo. My career coach was a pillar of support, and I thought the practical workshops on resume writing, networking, and interviewing were useful.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Fuqua School of Business, Durham 

“Career Coaches explained the career options I had and taught me how to approach each option strategically. These coaches also helped me prepare for interviews and create a resume tailored to my background and my target industry.” – Jinyoung Kim, MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston 

“I met with my Career Counselor one-on-one several times. These meetings helped me learn about all the resources available and develop a personalized job search strategy. The mock behavioral interviews I practiced with my counselor were especially valuable in preparing me for real interviews. Finally, the career center continued to support me even after I received a job offer, by helping me navigate the negotiation process.” -MBA Candidate ‘25, UW Foster School of Business, Seattle 

“The career peers and coaches were super helpful in preparing application materials and discussing verbage for specific communications with companies.” – MBA Candidate ’25, Fuqua School of Business, Durham

The various personality tests and opportunities to learn about your  conflict styles helped me decide what kind of roles and responsibilities I’d be best suited for. The career coaches also helped me streamline verbiage that helped me in my interviews.” MBA Candidate ‘25,Tuck School of Business, New Hampshire

“The consulting club at my school has been a consistent source of support.  They offer valuable resources and guidance.  The career services team is also fantastic – their student-to-advisor ratio allows for personalized attention. I met with them regularly, roughly every two weeks, and appreciated their feedback on my approach, thought process, and interview skills.  Even under tight deadlines, they came through for me. The night before my final interview (after three previous rejections), I emailed them for help. The next morning, just 30 minutes before the interview, they took the time to speak with me, boosting my confidence and reminding me of key interview strategies. Their support was invaluable!” – Priya Ochani, MBA Candidate ‘25,  Tuck School of Business, New Hampshire

Things I don’t want my career center to stop doing 

“I hope that the 2nd year students and career center start encouraging incoming candidates to enroll for pre-fall recruitment and events by various firms. Some firms pay considerable attention towards pre-fall events. While it is challenging to employ best practices of networking without knowing them, some candidates are at a disadvantage by not utilizing the connections they can make with the firms before entering B-schools. It’s a double edged sword. If networking is done poorly, it can be trickier to mend relations with the firm, but I’m also assuming that the stakes are slightly lower. The solution: try having career coaching start late May/early June  before the 1st year commences.” – Shubham Gupta, MBA Candidate ‘25, Booth School of Management, Chicago 

“I don’t want my career center to stop offering in-person one-on-one career advising sessions. The personalized support I received from my career advisor was invaluable, and I believe that continued access to individualized guidance is essential for students’ success.” – Yash Jain, MBA Candidate ‘25, University of Alberta, Alberta 

“ Continue hosting workshops even though interest/attendance decreases as fall goes on, they are incredible. It was a constant update to the information we already knew, but needed to execute” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame 

“Don’t stop focusing on the students’ brand first and their employer later.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, University of Alberta, Alberta

Opportunities for career centers to make a greater impact

More advice specifically for international candidates

“I met with a CMC coach to get advice on networking for consulting, specifically for events, coffee chats, and cold calls/references. The feedback was mixed on what’s appropriate. While I appreciate the value of diversifying my efforts, the conversation didn’t acknowledge the immense time commitment required for consulting recruiting. It’s like a full-time job, leaving little room for other activities.  More importantly, I was hoping for specific guidance on networking strategies, as things like coffee chats and networking events aren’t common practices in my country’s recruiting culture.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

“International students need earlier timelines for career services support, allowing CMC to provide more targeted assistance during the recruiting process.  There should be a clear distinction in the types of opportunities available to international students.  While exploring diverse options is valuable, support should prioritize decisions that benefit their long-term career goals, even if some options aren’t readily available in the short term.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Wharton School of Business, Philadelphia

“Build and leverage connections to support students who aren’t finding jobs and give harsh reality checks – for eg: if you are an international student, x% jobs will not be accessible or building a network will be difficult.” – MBA Candidate 25’, Wharton School of Business, Philadelphia

Increased focus on non traditional Industries 

“I wish my career center had organized more industry-specific networking events and workshops. While the general career fairs were helpful, I believe that more targeted events would have provided me with better opportunities to connect with professionals in my field.” – Yashi Jain, MBA Candidate ‘25, University of Alberta, Alberta 

“Career services should place more emphasis on non-traditional careers. While there’s a well-defined process for consulting and investment banking, a playbook for navigating alternative career paths during recruitment would be incredibly helpful. Additionally, encouraging incoming students to learn about key aspects like case studies, networking strategies, application processes, relevant coursework, and even social aspects beforehand would be beneficial.  Starting business school can be overwhelming, especially with so much information thrown at first-year students from all angles.” – Shubham Gupta, MBA Candidate ’25, Booth School of Management, Chicago 

“Ideally, the CMC would have facilitated introductions and helped me connect with more alumni in my target company and industry.” – Jinyoung Kim, MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

“Career services should move away from generic feedback and provide more personalized guidance. Additionally, there’s a need for better alignment between career center timelines and actual recruiting processes. For example, tech firms often require immediate resume submissions, while resume workshops are offered later in the semester. Finally, more specialized resources would be beneficial. Instead of generic recommendations, students need targeted training specific to the roles and functions they’re pursuing.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

Shubham Gupta shares his feedback on the best MBA career services.

Meeting evolving student needs

“Although I know they are in high demand, I wish programs made it easier to access the career coaches. Not to mention, I always felt the need to see one particular career coach because she knew my background/story/goals and if I went to another I would have to use our limited time to reintroduce myself etc. Maybe some kind of profile or team approach could help with increasing face time with coaches.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, UW Foster School of Business, Seattle

“I would have appreciated more guidance from my career coach in understanding specific work functions and role descriptions. This would have helped me narrow down my target list of companies and positions based on both my short-term and long-term career goals. Ideally, the coaching would have provided a clear path forward to achieving those goals.” – Victoria Lever, MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston 

“Increased on-campus marketing about career services resources would be a big win.  For example, I found the CMC coaching sessions invaluable after an unsuccessful recruitment round.  The library’s access to databases like PitchBook and CBS Insights was also incredibly helpful, allowing me to gain a deeper understanding of target firms.  Finally, connecting with career peers who could share their internship experiences, both positive and negative, proved to be very insightful.” – Karan Harish Shah, MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

“[Career centers should] reiterate the importance of networking for students applying into all industries, provide better advice on resumes, and hold companies accountable for ghosting candidates – too many companies are not responsive at all.” – Ryan Noble, MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

“I didn’t have a lot of interaction with career services. My recruiting was pretty much self steered. I met once with CS to discuss deciding between tech and consulting. They told me to keep my options open, but that’s standard advice. ​​I was glad to not need career services. Honestly I think how well they perform is often measured based on factors they can’t control…a bad economy for instance.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

“I felt the CMC steered me towards less competitive career paths, which didn’t align with my goals. It seemed they weren’t working in tandem with my aspirations. This was particularly frustrating because I specifically chose this program to pursue this type of job, and the CMC’s guidance suggested it wasn’t achievable.” – MBA Candidate ‘25, Kellogg School of Management, Evanston

 

Karan Harish Shah shares his feedback on the best MBA career services. 

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