As director of graduate professional development at the Philadelphia-based school, Janis is responsible for almost 100 full-time MBAs—and she frequently works with each of them individually. Her advice is notoriously tough, but well-intentioned.
“A lot of our work goes back to helping [students] figure out the environments in which they are going to thrive,” Janis says. “And a lot of that has to do with looking at their past and integrating their past experience with this new degree.”
Fox MBA graduates routinely find employment under Janis’ watch. In fact, numbers from the school indicate that 100% of graduates from Fox’s two-year Global MBA in 2016 were hired within three months of leaving the program.
Of these MBAs, more than a quarter went into jobs that require skills in finance or accounting. Around 25% went into the healthcare industry, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
“I would say for the six-to-eight major health systems in our region, many of those CEOs and CFOs hold a Fox MBA,” Janis says. “We have a pretty deep bench of senior and executive leaders in the region—even in biotech and other industries.”
Along with one-on-one advising, Janis teaches a course designed to get MBA students thinking about their future employment prospects. Janis focuses on a professional development model that includes personal development, career and industry awareness, and impression management.
The three facets of this professional development model help students make “realistic” career choices, says Janis’ senior colleague Corinne Snell, the professional development center’s assistant dean.
“You can be as smart as anybody, you could have an excellent GPA, you can look good on paper, but if you’re a ‘dud’ in the interview this will negatively impact your hirability,” says Corinne. Besides the important elements of self-assessment, market and career research, Janis’ course improves these "interpersonal skills” essential to a successful job interview.
The program also helps students pare down the industries that interest them. Once a student has identified the specific company or industry they would like to work in, Janis relies on a wide-range of contacts for assistance with informational interviews, and to find internships or job placements.
“I’m lucky enough to have a good Rolodex to know that if I call a [former] student, he or she will return my call,” she says. “I count myself blessed that if I’m putting my hand in the fire for a student, the alum of the program, whether it’s BBA or MBA, is happy to give that student a chance.”
Such a strong list of contacts is necessary for students at Fox; the Global MBA program requires MBAs to find an internship placement during the summer between their first and second years.
After the summer internship, Janis will tap into this list yet again and again to help MBAs meet the professionals that will put them to work after graduation.
“The placement rate is almost like a cherry on the cake because we’ve built such a solid relationship with our alumni,” she says. “I always ask the students ‘Have you ever seen The Godfather?’ Once you get in, we at Fox will never let you go!”