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Leveraging Career Counseling

Every student who enters an MBA program is out to advance his or her career. But many don’t realize that the tools available to them aren’t only found in the classroom.

Getting the most out of an MBA means taking advantage of a school’s career counseling services.

Career counseling supplies the tools and guidance needed to explore every aspect of career advancement. They can help convert students into dynamic job candidates and shape professionals into exceptional employees.

Loyola Marymount University’s Executive MBA program puts career development at the forefront of its curriculum. The school pairs each student in the program with an executive coach — offering the invaluable benefits of one-on-one counseling with an experienced business professional. 

Students must seek feedback from peers and co-workers,  and keep journals to track successes and pitfalls at work. Then their coaches help them turn this raw information into a complex understanding of the talents they bring to the workplace. This helps students evaluate the most critical aspect of their candidacy — themselves.

Emory Walton, 35, spent 10 years with A&E Television Networks before enrolling in LMU’s EMBA program — a response to encouragement from his boss and personal concerns about the shrinking economy. Working directly with his executive coach, Mike Schoettle, “reinforced things I’ve thought about myself and also brought to light things I might not have been aware of,” Walton said. “It was a real opportunity to build self-awareness, which I think is the key to advancing your career.”

During his final semester, Walton applied for a VP position at A&E. He was confident in his abilities, but he wanted to fine-tune his approach. So he took full advantage of LMU’s resources to hone his skills.

“I had been rusty on interviewing, but my coach helped me thoroughly prepare for that process and was administratively and emotionally encouraging,” Walton said. Two weeks after graduation, Walton accepted an offer for the vice president position.

Schoettle, a 23-year career specialist at Heidrick & Struggles, a global executive search firm with offices in downtown Los Angeles, brings the benefit of all his professional experience to his role as executive coach at LMU’s EMBA program. Schoettle believes that self-knowledge translates into stronger career prospects and that it’s critical for a worker to be dynamic in today’s ever-changing  job market.

“You can’t do long-term planning on your career because the world changes so rapidly,” Schoettle said. “Many things are going to change along the way.”

Naturally, a worker applying for a new position or a promotion must communicate those talents effectively in a well-written résumé. Schoettle said it’s important that a résumé be factual and specific. “It should contain an outline of what you’ve accomplished in your world of work and sometimes your accomplishments outside of work.”

And career-minded workers should never underestimate the importance of human connections. In Schoettle’s experience, networking is typically the means by which people actually advance or change careers. “Opportunities happen because of good relationships with other people,” he said.

From self-actualization to the formalities of the process, leveraging and personalizing these career services plays a critical role in transforming students into dynamic job candidates and professionally savvy employees.

—Sarah Kruberg, Custom Publishing Writer

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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