Figuring out your career path involves some brutal self-criticism and self-reflection—confronting our personal strengths and weaknesses is much easier said than done. A process fraught with uncertainty, useful guidance and mentoring can make all the difference.
Sandra Richez, MBA program director at EDHEC Business School, says that personalization is crucial when helping students plan out their careers. "For a school to offer a personalized approach, you need to know your students very well. And, for you to know your students, they need to know themselves," Sandra explains.
Small cohort numbers—the career service manages a pool of only 50 students per cohort—means that EDHEC's guidance is highly tailored to each students' specific needs. The school pushes students to identify their strengths at the very outset, and utilize the MBA to build upon their unique sets of skills.
EDHEC offers a 360-degree approach to identifying these skills. Within the first two months of the course, students undertake mock interviews, create presentations, and participate in group exercises that mirror the tough recruitment processes they might face when applying for future roles. Students are given immediate feedback, and have the opportunity to recognize their particular strengths through the eyes of their peers and coaches.
MBA candidates also undergo emotional intelligence, leadership, and personality assessments. Sandra says that after taking these tests, "students receive a full report, which gives them the vocabulary to represent themselves as unique candidates to employers, and situate themselves in the labor market." They can then discuss these findings on a one-to-one basis with their career coach, and formulate strategies for achieving their goals.
Jessica Corpuz, an MBA graduate from EDHEC, says she pursued the degree to step out of her comfort zone after working for seven years in media roles.
"To figure out the next step of my career and explore my options, I needed to be in a different and challenging environment," Jessica explains. "I knew that an MBA would help me enhance my soft skills in terms of communication, presentation, and inter-personal-relationships, as well as improving my strategic thinking."
While at EDHEC Business School, Jessica attended a panel discussion featuring Red Fuse chairman and founder Steve Forcione. Red Fuse is a global communications agency delivering integrated campaigns for all of Colgate-Palmolive’s' brands. Jessica says that after a brief conversation with Steve following the event, she was inspired to go back to her advertising career.
Jessica now works as a media account supervisor for the entire EMEA region at Red Fuse. "EDHEC helped me identify and hone my strengths, and address my weaknesses, which led me to go back to what I know best—media and advertising," she says, "Sandra and her team helped me through conducting mock interviews, editing my CV to emphasize my strengths, and developing my personal brand."
While many business schools organize company visits to campuses and fairs for students to interact with recruiters, EDHEC takes a personalized and proactive approach that sets them apart.
"We take the initiative," Sandra explains, "our corporate relations team meets regularly with talent acquisition managers at global players like Amazon, Amadeus, IBM and Microsoft, but also with regional players or startups to suit a broad range of career plans. They discuss hiring needs, open positions and what these firms are looking for in potential candidates."
Rather than sending entire CV books, EDHEC's corporate relations team is a talent-sourcing solution for employers, sending carefully hand-picked resumes that match the profile being sought by the company. Sandra says that students are encouraged to be up-front and up-to-date with career services about their career orientation and potential becausere commendations can be immediately provided even within initial meetings with the firms.
The team then receives direct feedback from the company, which they can relay to the students to further develop their profile. Through this process, the career service at EDHEC Business School works with students in targeting certain companies and shaping their applications precisely according to their requirements.
Yet, it isn't just the unique work of the career service that makes EDHEC's students so employable. QS ranks EDHEC second in the world for diversity, with around 91% of the MBA cohort composed of international students.
Jessica says this prepared her for working in a highly diverse business environment after her MBA. "At Red Fuse, I work with a team of 40 people from countries like Russia, Columbia, Greece, and so many more," Jessica explains, "I interact with people in different time zones, and we implement global campaigns. At EDHEC, I was able to erase preconceived stereotypes, and open my mind to understanding varied cultures."
"Our diversity, in terms of nationality, gender, age, and background, means it is impossible to have a single definition of leadership," Sandra continues, "students witness leadership in concrete business environments during international expeditions, where they interact with senior executives in companies based around the globe. They can compare how different styles emerge in different settings, and find their own leadership methods."
Jessica says that the program's content, diversity, and emphasis on leadership gave her the holistic understanding of business she needed.
"While I was used to devising local campaigns catered to a culture I have known since birth, EDHEC enabled me to see a bigger, global picture," Jessica says. “Through our international trips and interaction with different companies, I was able to see how different offices work on a regional and global level, and how various business models thrive in a competitive environment."
It wasn't just exposure to other parts of the world that Jessica valued during her time at EDHEC. "The campus is situated in the sunny city of Nice in the French Riviera,” she says. “Even though you're going through a very rigorous program, the environment has a relaxing and happy feel to it."