A Coach’s POV: Partnering with E&W Students to Own Their Career Paths
By Loraine Hasebe
Six years ago, Loraine Hasebe (Evening & Weekend Program Career Coach) seized an opportunity to work in Kellogg’s Career Management Center. Having always described herself as a “boomerang” (moving back and forth between corporate roles and Northwestern University), she now dedicates herself to the career development of Evening & Weekend MBA students. Below she discusses the diverse career paths of the “awesome group of students juggling work, travel, family and school simultaneously” and how the CMC partners with them to execute their short and long-term career goals, empowering students to confidently take ownership over their career paths.
Customized coaching for each career path
From day one, our E&W students partner with a career coach to identify a strategy to execute their short and long-term career goals, all while continuing to develop and practice strong leadership skills. Though our students have diverse professional experience levels (from rising to seasoned managers), the CMC has identified three areas that E&W students pursue: amplify (grow within their current organization or similar), shift (change functional role and/or industry), and launch (start or launch a new venture).
Depending on the specific career goals, students may need one or two meetings to help with an immediate situation (such as an upcoming performance review or new manager). However, others may connect early and throughout their Kellogg journey to prepare for their post-MBA jobs, while managing their current work situation.
As coaches, though, we’re more than just career focused—we’re the student’s sounding board, a safe place to vent, and the person to high-five successes as well as re-evaluate disappointing outcomes. And it’s so rewarding to see our students grow personally and professionally over the course of their Kellogg journey.
Career coaching in practice
Career changes can be challenging, especially if trying to shift both industry and function simultaneously. And oftentimes, when a student is pursuing this path, one of the biggest challenges is translating their previous industry/functional-specific terminology into business references.
I recently coached a student that had a strong interest in general management programs. He had solid engineering experience, a background in the military, outstanding leadership and team interactions and very personable. I worked with the student early in the recruiting process, supporting him as he redesigned his resume to align with job descriptions, practiced his elevator pitch, and prepared for interviews. I coached him on questions to ask, deep dive company research to best understand the program and company culture, and how to leverage the Kellogg alumni and military network.
While he recruited with many of the companies offering Leadership Development Programs and did well in first-round interviews, he was not able to progress to the second and/or final rounds. To figure out why the student was not able to move forward after one of his interviews, I conducted another mock interview to prepare for final round interviews with the student’s target company. Together, we worked on translating military terminology into business applications to demonstrate adaptability and readiness to be a business leader in the organization. This was the turning point for the student – he was offered, and ultimately accepted, a leadership position!
Connecting students with Kellogg’s career resources
So much of our work with students is connecting students with the resources that are available to them as Kellogg students. From self-assessment tools to employer events to programming customized to the Evening & Weekend working professional student, we strive to direct students to the resources that will support the discovery and execution of their specific career goals.
In addition to all these resources, the CMC has an amazing career library available to all students. Not only do we have actual librarians (aka our Kellogg Ninjas!) on staff, we also subscribe to 80+ premium databases, have set up 30+ industry/functional guides, plus offer one on one virtual career research sessions with the librarians. It’s this in-depth research, facilitated and supported by the CMC, that sets Kellogg students apart from the other candidates when students are interviewing for new roles.
Developing skills for a lifetime of career growth
What I’ve noticed students gain from their partnership with the CMC is a comfort level to market themselves. By the end of their Kellogg experience, they are able to network on their own behalf and cold call potential networking connections with ease. I also see them able to negotiate their compensation and adapt to unexpected changes in the job market. And it’s wonderful to see them achieve their first post-MBA job/goal, offer to help other E&W students, and move forward with their next step in mind.
It’s this resiliency and confidence in marketing themselves that will drive their continued career growth and professional development while they’re at Kellogg and for the years to come.