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Ask Yourself What Your Perfect Job Is

Know your dream and what you’re passionate about advises Marcel Kalis, Head of Career Services at ESMT

Imagine going to a job interview with complete confidence, plenty of practice, knowing exactly what you’re looking for. That is what the career service at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) aims to provide to all its students. And in charge of the effort is Head of Career Services, Marcel Kalis.

In this interview Kalis explains what recruiters expect, and what approaches ESMT is using to send better-equipped students into the corporate world.

For starters, Kalis stresses the importance of students knowing what they want to do. He suggests doing plenty of research to find the right school and the right program. “They [prospective students] should go to schools and visit campuses. They should also think about what would give their career a boost, and look at what the school has achieved.”

When it comes to jobs, he recommends students ask themselves what their perfect job is, what their dream is and what they are passionate about; and then stick with their decision!

“Students on ESMT’s one-year MBA program need to start applying for jobs during the summer – around four to five months before they graduate. Since 2006, when the MBA program first started, we’ve been happy to register that over 90% of the graduates have made a successful transition within 3 months of graduation

Recruiters like to see what the candidate has done before, adds Kalis.

“An MBA alone cannot lead to a job and, for students looking to remain in Germany, they must realise that some German companies are slightly conservative. Recruiters look at past performance and for connections. For example, if you want to enter finance, with no finance experience at all, it will be very difficult to land your job. If you target something you have experience in, the chances of getting a job are better.”

ESMT Career Services provide candidates with one-on-one career counselling sessions, which get extremely positive feedback from the class.

The school also introduced its unique and innovative “Art-Coaching” in 2010, and will publish a paper on the technique early in 2011.

“We practice interviews so candidates can make all the mistakes that they want to…This of course, doesn’t guarantee a job in the end, but it does help.”

ESMT Career Services also offer a corporate mentoring program with some of ESMT’s associated companies and organisations. It can open doors for students.

“It connects students with mentors in different companies and organisations. It helps students reflect on what kind of long-term employment they want. They meet their mentors either at school or in their companies, many of which belong to ESMT’s circle of founders.

“Sometimes of course, the mentor may open doors career-wise… if students play it right.”

So as Head of Career Services, what innovative approaches is Kalis taking to help his students find jobs?

“We do our bit by being very pro-active with client relations. The MBA class is small – we have just 40 students – so we are able to provide personal focus on students and give them a one-on-one service.

“We try to create inspiring circumstances for students, and we also use more internal faculty with career service prospects – we involve everyone in everything we do.”

One example of “inspiring circumstances “ was when ESMT was chosen by General Electric (GE) as one of three European business schools to have a live satellite-connected broadcast with GE’s office in Michigan. Students from Berlin were able to directly communicate with the GE CEO in his United States office.

Having been founded by 25 leading German companies, building relationships is a way of life for the team running ESMT. “We are making efforts to build relationships – and that never stops! This opens a lot of positions for students. For example, 40% of our alumni are connected to one of our founding companies.”

For those looking to step into the corporate world soon after an MBA, Kalis offers three tips to get you moving.

“Two things are very important. Students need to practice interviews, practice applying, and get feedback from their peers.

Secondly, candidates must be prepared with the right answers.

Thirdly, he adds, many recruiters use social media like LinkedIn and Xing (which is popular in Germany) to search for talents. “So no matter what, students should be prepared!”

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