Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Our Masters Students Get Great Jobs. Here’s Why.

Here’s something that I am really proud of. Last year, 100% of my grad students got jobs. Great jobs. This year, before graduation a few days ago, 75% of my grads had accepted job offers at an average salary of $60k.

As undergraduates these students majored in subjects like English, History, Philosophy, Psychology and other areas in the Liberal Arts. You read it right—Liberal Arts.

The Master of Science in Business Analysis program at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC was envisioned eight years ago by two smart business educators, Dr. Andrew Abela and Dr. Brian Engelland. Year after year they witnessed talented students graduate from college with exceptional grades in liberal arts studies only to find themselves unemployed or underemployed upon graduation. They saw the potential to start these graduates on great careers and together we founded the MSBA program.

I had just completed a 35-year career with ExxonMobil helping to build that Company’s fuel products division into the largest brand in the world. I suppose I know a thing or 2 about brand building. The 3 of us tasked ourselves with teaching students how to build their “personal brands” as they embark on their careers. In a nutshell, we designed a program to teach “Business” to the “Non-Business” person.

Our mission was to design the MSBA for liberal arts majors who struggle to find jobs where they can grow and earn a just wage. By adding our intense two semesters of practical business education and experience to their resume, our graduates are able to compete for any job and literally double their earning potential.

How do we enjoy these results year after year? We focus on four key areas to ensure our students are ready to win that all-important first job:

  1. Stand Out from the Crowd. Nearly everyone looks alike on paper. Take something to the interview that sets you apart. In our students’ case it’s the final client deliverable from our graduates’ real world capstone project. In your case it might be a marketing final project or a work product from your internship. Demonstrate not just knowledge but that you can put it to practical use.
  2. Exhibit a Professional Demeanor. You’ve heard the expression you can dress him up but you can’t take him out. Not so with our students. We model and practice professional business behavior throughout the program; in class, with clients, in our networking engagements. Our graduates are work ready and employers have confirmed this.
  3. Know the Culture. When you target a Company for employment, study their public website. Know the culture of the Company. Look for chatrooms of employees and public lists and ratings. Study the backgrounds of the key players, especially those who will interview you. What do you have in common? Schools, degrees, hometowns, sports interests? We are all an open book today; find the connection that makes you more personable and memorable.
  4. Demonstrate Confidence. Above all, have the confidence they you can compete for any job. Exude the knowledge, the skills, the attitude and the professional presence to fit into any kind of organization.

For me, the rewards of taking a 35-year career from business to academia are tremendous and it is a gift that keeps on giving. The email that says “I nailed that interview”, followed closely by the excited call, “I got the job”, is a gift to be sure. And the graduate who climbs the ladder in their career and continues to credit the MSBA program with their success is a never-ending reward.

If you're interested in investing 9-months of your time to discover your career, we have a place for you. For priority consideration for the program, contact our admission official, William Conlon, at conlon@cua.edu. If you know someone who can benefit from these tips, take a second to like and share this post. I would also appreciate your thoughts and comments below.

Stewart McHie is the Program Director of the Master of Science in Business Analysis at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. To find out more about the program visit msba.cua.edu.

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