Finding The Right Wall For Your Career Ladder At Business School

When you choose a career ladder to climb, it is important that you place it on the right wall or you will waste a lot of time and effort.

Jonathan Masland spent summers in college painting houses in Philadelphia, so he was forever climbing ladders. The advice he received during his undergraduate studies at Harvard University has stayed with him throughout a career that has included investment banking, internet startups, healthcare M&A, telecoms and an entrepreneurial food trailer leasing business.

My co-Director at Fortuna Admissions, and co-founder of 42, a startup dedicated to providing technology and financial solutions for students pursuing higher Education in India found that business school was a wonderful time to make sure that you put the ladder on the right wall. “The process of choosing the right MBA or Masters program for you is also part of making sure you climb the right wall as you are forcing yourself to figure out what is important to you.”

With an MBA from Wharton, Jonathan spent 14 years at the Tuck School of Business a Dartmouth College and as the Executive Director of the Career Development Office managed a team that delivered career services to 580 full-time MBAs, 10,0000 alumni, and undergraduates through the school’s Business bridge program. Overseeing recruiting relations for more than 1,000 organizations, his team delivered six straight years of the highest or close to the highest level of employment of the top ten US MBA programs.

“Self Awareness was hands down the most important trait in successful job seekers. As we restructured career services at Tuck, I presented 10+ job characteristics to eight Career Development Office Directors and they all chose ‘Self Awareness’ as most important. So the more self aware they are as they go into business school, the more self awareness they develop during the program, the more successful they will be in their job search and in their career.”

When people think of business schools, they often think of the MBA. But as the CentreCourt Masters Festival I co-organize with Poets & Quants demonstrates, most business schools also offer a wide range of Specialized Masters programs that can cover very specific areas of business depending on the specialization or future role a student is interested in.

From the well-established MSc in Management and MSc in Finance to the fast-growing MSc in Business Analytics, the growing portfolio now includes the MSc in Climate Change, Management and Finance, MSc in Supply Chain Management, MSc in Product Management, MSc in Cybersecurity and more.

As the list of potential Master programs continues to expand, what career ladders have Business Masters graduates been following recently?

Some individuals will follow career paths open to them based on the location they have studied. For example, Berlin boasts a burgeoning start-up scene and this is taken advantage of by MSc graduates of ESMT Berlin with a new Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Roland Siegers, Director of Early Career Programs at ESMT Berlin sees a clear trend. “Our graduates mostly enter one of the many exciting start-ups in Berlin. They are looking for hot, fast-growing, dynamic companies with a start-up culture that enables them to use different skills and move quickly up the hierarchy. Later on, they either create their own company, or move on to more corporate companies such as consulting, but in roles linked to innovation or analytics.”

For MSc graduates from Durham University Business School in the UK, Neil Armstrong, Senior Manager for International Engagement and Careers, notes a continued attraction towards the finance sector, which has long been popular among business school graduates. “Finance roles still hold the greatest interest for students. The largest percentage of our students move into the finance sector, followed by technology and consulting. Students also move into a range of graduate level roles including marketing professional, supply chain analysts, and HR specialists or generalists.”

At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, an employment report on Master of Management Studies graduates from 2021 revealed similar career paths taken to previous years. Consulting and finance remained the top industries among graduates, with 61% of full-time graduate positions following one of the two sectors.

For the Master of Management at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, more than 22% of graduates went on to follow a path in consulting. Large numbers of graduates of their Master of Supply Chain Management and Master of Accounting also went into the consulting and finance sectors.

Roland Siegers at ESMT also notes that start-ups are becoming increasingly popular among graduates who may have ordinarily pursued traditional roles: “There is a clear shift towards more start-up careers, away from traditional industry roles. In particular, there is an increase in careers in FinTech as more students are graduating with a business plan and the ambition to found their own businesses.”

Siegers argues that the Covid-19 pandemic has also shifted what graduates expect from employers. “In recent years, big names have become less critical, especially for local students; they prefer to join an exciting project at a dynamic organization. After being forced to work and study online, graduates also demand flexibility from employers.”

Beyond consulting and finance, schools have also witnessed an increase in graduates pursuing careers in healthcare. The UK’s UCL Global Business School for Health, newly launched in 2021, focuses on this union between business management and healthcare, offering an MSc Biotech and Pharmaceutical Management, MSc Global Health Management, and MSc Digital Health and Entrepreneurship for students to accelerate their careers and become future global healthcare management leaders.

For students unsure of what path to pursue after graduating, business schools provide services to help with this. Career services at Durham University Business School support students at all stages, through one-to-one advice and guidance, grounding their own individual goals at the core of every discussion. “The school introduces students to the range of career options available to them in all business sectors and how the labor market is driving demand. Students gain support to build their skill sets and effectively manage the change in the digitization of the recruitment process,” explains Neil Armstrong.

ESMT Berlin also introduces students to potential career paths they could pursue with their degree. “The ESMT career department organizes a lot of touching points with alumni from different industries who can present various aspects of chosen career paths,” explains Roland Siegers. “They also invite a diverse range of companies to a recruiting event to allow our students to check which company culture resonates with them.”

At Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Sheryle Dirks, Associate Dean for Career Management, explains, “We don’t provide services and resources just to help students find jobs now. We want our students to leave Fuqua with career-building strategies and skills they can use throughout their professional lives.”

Other business schools are beginning to offer Masters programs specific to sectors that are seeing rapid growth. The University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management offers an MS in Cybersecurity and Business Analytics, providing graduates with skills that look set to only increase in demand. Lisa Beauchene-Lawson, Manager of Admissions and Enrollment at UNM Anderson says, “these are skillsets that are highly sought after and I expect the demand for programs like this to continue to increase; it’s certainly trending upwards at our institution. Data security is very complex and constantly changing so we have to continue changing with that demand as well, especially with the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing an increase in these information security analyst positions.”

The MS in Product Management at Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business reflects similar demand, but for a specific job role: “Our previous Dean for the School of Computer Science came from Google,” explains Brad Eiben, Executive Director of the MS in Product Management , “and his observation was ‘when I was at Google, we had a difficult time finding good product managers, so let’s make them.’ This program came from that idea. At Google when they found a good software engineer, they’d ring a bell; When they found a good PM, they’d throw a parade. That’s how difficult he found it. So, we build product managers for employers.”

Looking at past and current trends to understand what sectors are popular among business MSc graduates is one thing, but what industries might graduates pursue in the future? For Neil Armstrong at Durham University Business School, it is important to consider how technology will continue to take hold in all industries and all sectors. “Students see technology companies as holding future potential and have more and more interest in this area.”

This is a progression that Roland Siegers agrees with: “The industries that will embrace change and transformation, both technologically but even more so culturally. All industries will be affected by increased automation, digitization, AI, etc. So, it is more a question of the individual firms living up to these challenges.”

Siegers also believes that sustainability will become an increasingly important area to future graduates: “I expect to see growth in sustainable energy production and green finance. Very few graduates will find it appealing to work for fossil fuel-only companies from here onwards. Graduates will want to see how convincing these companies and industry strategies are in contributing to a more sustainable future.”

The upcoming CentreCourt Masters Festival captures the dynamic and evolving market for Specialized Masters, as leading businesses from around the world develop new programs alongside established courses in Management, Finance and Accounting.

So where do you want to place your career ladder?

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker