Executive MBA Students Making a Career Change

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Two men talk while looking out on Lake Michigan

If you’re looking into Executive MBA programs, chances are you’re thinking about evolving your career in some way. Gaining new skill sets will definitely enhance your personal brand. However, that’s only a piece of the process – you also need to assess a number of factors when thinking through a career change. 

That’s where Career Services at Chicago Booth can help. Their team is large, and consists of career coaches and employer-facing representatives who work globally across our Chicago, London and Hong Kong campuses. They are committed to two goals that serve you as a student and as an alumnus of Booth: providing you with lifelong career support and working to interest companies around the world in hiring Booth talent.

Executive MBA career change

There are many considerations to make when contemplating a career change. Chicago Booth coaches can help you determine which levers to pull, and when.

We recently hosted an “Own Your Career” webinar with the Career Services team to help prospective candidates better understand how they might partner with them as Executive MBA students. Here’s what we learned:

ARTICULATE YOUR PATH AND ASSESS THE MARKET 

Executive MBA students are a diverse group. They enter the program for a wide variety of reasons, and post-MBA outcomes can look very different for each student. To that end, career coaches at Booth begin working with you early on to clarify your goals and aspirations. Do you want to advance within your company or industry? Are you looking to make a more dramatic change, perhaps across functions or geographies? Coaches can help you to articulate where you want to go in a thoughtful, compelling way. They can also guide you on how to effectively “sell” yourself during a transition. For example, job candidates often fall back on reciting a list of responsibilities to employers in their cover letters and interviews whereas a list of developed skills are ultimately more interesting and, importantly, a great way to articulate what might be transferrable to new roles. For those looking to change directions on multiple dimensions, coaches will work with you to develop a realistic timeline and to determine how you might pursue different paths simultaneously. Coaches are a knowledgeable sounding board in terms of what types of changes the market will accept. Having realistic conversations about this will help you target your focus as you weigh opportunities.

TARGET ROLES AND COMPANIES OF INTEREST TO YOU 

The employer relations team at Chicago Booth works to establish relationships with companies worldwide and identify roles that are good fits for Booth students. Their work results in over 3,500 job postings each year on Booth’s internal job board, about 20% of which are director or executive-level. You have access to this as a student in the program and once you become an alumnus. In some instances, particularly with senior-level roles, companies may choose not to post on the job board; that’s where our resume database comes in. Students and alumni are encouraged to create a profile and upload a resume that then becomes searchable to corporate partners. This database also houses our recruiter contacts and relevant notes from recent meetings the employer relations team has had with companies. You may be interested in companies where we don’t have relationships; the team will teach you how to build those connections, too.

Career Services at Chicago Booth is not a placement service. Like many aspects of the Booth culture, students are expected to own and manage their career choices. However, the team at Booth can make that journey much more effective by helping you navigate the process and coaching you through the transitions. Career changes are possible for senior managers but there are many factors to consider along the way. For one, we see many EMBA career changes happening after the program, once the full impact of the Booth degree has been realized – and you have more time! Another reason why career support for life is valuable.