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Leveling Up With Jenkins Career Management Center

By Samantha Beavers

When Poole College of Management set out to launch the Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) program and Master of Management, Risk and Analytics (MRA) program, it was with eyes on a quickly evolving marketplace and the sharp demand for analytics talent around the world. To that end, the college knew these programs would attract a variety of industry professionals – including senior executives seeking to keep abreast of a new, data-saturated environment, young professionals eager to gain a competitive edge and managers wanting to develop high-demand skills in order to make important career advancements. 

Offering quality career development services, then, was essential. And because many MRA and MMA students are full-time professionals, making them accessible through flexible time slots and formats was equally important, explains Bev Porter, director of the Career Management Center for Jenkins Graduate Programs at NC State.

“We’re committed to meeting students right where they are, so we offer these services during times when they can easily access them – whether that’s before they start their workday, after hours or on the weekend,” Porter explains. “And we’ll meet them where they are for the long haul of their career. Long after they’ve graduated and landed their dream job, we provide lifelong career support, including career coaching and online services. That’s something we’re really proud of as an office – we stick with students for life.”

In order to launch students into those dream jobs, the Career Management Center offers highly customized services to address their individual needs and goals.

“Students in our MRA and MMA programs come from several different industries and have varied levels of experience, so we don’t take a cookie-cutter approach. We take a look at where each student is, where they’re headed and what’s most important to their professional development, and then customize our approach to meet those needs,” Porter explains.

One key part of this professional development, Porter says, is helping students communicate their value proposition. 

“Most MRA and MMA students are looking to move vertically or laterally within their organizations. And while they’re in the program, there’s a metamorphosis happening – they’re consuming new information, developing another skill set and gaining hands-on experiences that are huge assets to these organizations. There’s only one problem – this transformation isn’t always evident to others in their organization,” she explains.

“For this reason, a lot of what we’re focused on from a professional development perspective is coaching them to unveil this new, extraordinary person. How can they put their educational experiences in words so their organization will view them differently? How can they communicate their professional superpowers? How can they immediately leverage these new skills within their organization?” she continues.

To learn to articulate their professional transformation and show others the impact of the investment they’ve made, students can schedule one-on-one coaching appointments with Susan Bach, an executive coach in the Career Management Center selected specifically for the MRA and MMA programs. 

Prior to coming to NC State, Bach served as executive director of the Center for Leadership Development at the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College – a program that was ranked No. 1 nationally for four consecutive years. Bach has also served as a vice president for a large global outplacement firm and a director of HR in the hospitality industry, and holds a Ph.D. in higher education. Her specializations include professional development, organizational effectiveness, conflict management and communication.

“To have someone with her level of experience is a tremendous resource for these cohorts,” Porter says. “Taking professionals to the next level in their career is her sweet spot, so these students are very fortunate to have her.”

In addition to career coaching, the Career Management Center also hosts boot camps to help students develop their resumes, craft cover letters and build impressive LinkedIn profiles. Additionally, the office conducts several assessments to help students identify potential growth areas and prepare for success, including an emotional intelligence assessment. 

“This is one of the more unique assessments we offer and some of us in the office are actually certified in this area, so we can really help students understand their strengths, as well as any gaps or areas where it may be helpful to invest some extra time and energy,” Porter says. 

Compared to resources offered to other Jenkins graduate students, such as Jenkins MBA students, career services for the MRA and MMA programs are tailored to students’ specific interest in analytics.

“Because the MBA program offers a much broader curriculum, we tend to offer more exploratory resources and use a general management approach with those students,” Porter explains. “Our Master of Management students, on the other hand, have already tapped into their niche interest – so the resources we offer are designed with their unique concentrations in mind.”

As to the importance of investing in these resources, Porter has a few words of encouragement and advice for students.

“You should approach professional development as though it’s one of the most important courses you have. Coming into a rigorous program like this in order to advance your career, taking advantage of these resources and investing in your own growth is crucial. It’s not compulsory, but it should be a no-brainer,” she explains.

“Second, you need to remember to have some grit. One thing I’ve seen over the years is that students don’t like talking about themselves – they’re modest. And it’s okay to be modest after you’ve secured the position you desire. When you’re pursuing an advanced degree and investing in your career growth, however, you need to be hungry and confident – boldly articulating your superpowers and showing organizations the extraordinary impact you can make. Our Career Management Center will help you get there, but you have to show up, too.”

This post was originally published in Master of Management Risk & Analytics.