Executive Education

Four MBA Programs That Offer Best-in-Class Career Support to Their Students

career support

For many MBA students, the real journey begins once the degree is in hand.

That’s when the lessons learned go into practice, the contacts made can be called upon and the value of the program’s ability to fast-track your path to the C-Suite is tested. At the top MBA programs, career development and advancement is a core part of the school’s offerings for its students.

Perhaps one of the most sophisticated career services departments is at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. With a team of career coaches, the department has a variety of resources available to help MBA students advance.

As part of its Ascent Career Programming, Cornell offers transition workshops, advancement workshops, career development webinars and alumni panels. The transition workshops are intended to assist students moving from one career to another—or even moving between companies within an industry or perhaps even to another part of the world. The advancement workshop targets long term skills needed to move ahead in the workplace while the career development webinars offer a range of digital resources and tools including resume development and tips on how to best use LinkedIn. The program’s alumni panels assist current students on a range of topics including how to achieve their best performance while still enrolled in the MBA program and specific tips on various industries and roles.

For program participants seeking more individual attention, Cornell’s one-on-one coaching sessions suit a variety of needs. For the MBA student who may be trying to break out of a mid-career plateau, the school offers executive coaching to better equip him to lead. For the student who performs best on her own and knows her weaknesses lie in teamwork and engaging a group in a project, the program offers team coaching to help bolster this skillset. For the student who wants to plan ahead, learn how to navigate career negotiations and ace networking opportunities, the program offers career coaching sessions that promise to hone all of those skills.

But Cornell isn’t the only top school with a strong career services department.

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern also emphasizes one-on-one coaching sessions. MBA students have unlimited access to career coaches who are available to discuss anything from resumes to interview skills to offers.

In addition to in-person coaching sessions, Columbia Business School emphasizes its online offerings—in particular, because the MBA student may need the flexibility to access resources anytime, anywhere. With self-assessment tools, job postings and resume databases, Columbia’s online career portal also gives students access to the school’s impressive alumni network.

The Fuqua School of Business at Duke actually holds an orientation specific to its career services department to best equip its MBA students to use it. Another unique offering of this program are “sector chats”. These are small group sessions—either in person or online—for career services staff and the program’s alumni to provide their expert perspectives on various industries.

While each school offers a range of career development programs for its students, it would be a mistake to overlook this department when evaluating which program is the right one for you. A stellar faculty, prime location and winning ranking are all useful—but ensuring that the career services department can provide the right coaching and resources to put your MBA to use is crucial.

About the Author

R. Kress is an Emmy Award winning journalist whose reporting and writing has appeared in national media from NBC News to the International Herald Tribune. She has covered news from cities around the world including Jerusalem, Krakow, Amman and Mumbai.