A Life-Long Resource: Online Chat Highlights Benefits of Wharton’s EMBA Career Management Services

Who is eligible to use the career management services in Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives? Can we help students find a new job? Is this the right program for more experienced professionals looking to transition into a new industry? What services are available to alumni?

Those were just a few of the questions discussed at a recent online chat/call with Mary Gross, who is Director of  Career Management Services for Wharton’s EMBA Program  in Philadelphia as well as a graduate of the program.  She began the talk by explaining that many resources are available to all Wharton Executive MBA students such as those related to résumé development and networking skills. However, services pertaining to job searches are limited to students who are not financially sponsored by their organization or, if they receive more than standard tuition support, have permission from their sponsor to participate.

Wharton EMBA students have access to their own dedicated career management services director at both the Philadelphia campus and Wharton | San Francisco. While students on each coast are offered the same resources, some career-related events are targeted to the specific interests of the student populations at each location, she said.

Gross also emphasized that Wharton MBA Exec career management services are not a job placement service. “It isn’t just about finding the next job or promotion, but helping students to manage their careers. The most successful students realize that this is a partnership and that they need to actively participate in the process,” she said. “It takes effort on the students’ part in revising their résumés, networking, and searching through our alumni database to identify people they want to connect with. “

For example, Gross recalled how a recent student came to her for assistance in breaking into the private equity industry. “I made some connections for him and he followed up doing informational interviews and asking those people for additional introductions. He ended up leaving a job with a major pharmaceutical company to take a one-year consulting position at a VC firm, which he found through networking,” she said, noting that the he ended up staying at that firm and is now in a senior leadership role with one of their portfolio companies.

However, Gross cautioned that the time demands and rigor of Wharton’s MBA Exec program make it difficult for most students in the program to transition into a new career. “Depending on the industry you want to go into, the likely track for that is usually through a full-time program that provides opportunities for a summer internship to get experience in the new area,” she said.

The Executive MBA program also is not an ideal fit for students looking to go through the traditional MBA recruiting process. She explained that most of the positions available through that process are appropriate for people with three to five years of experience and are entry level post-MBA positions. “Since most of our MBA Exec students are further along in their careers and are not interested in those positions, I try instead to create connections that will lead to more senior level positions through alumni, job boards, and other corporate contacts,” said Gross.

She added that one of the most valuable career resources for Wharton EMBA students is the School’s alumni network of more than 85,000 graduates. “Across the board, we can find someone who is a good connection within our alumni network and then it’s up to the student to apply what they’ve learned in networking workshops,” she said, noting that alumni living abroad tend to be very helpful contacts for students interested in working in other countries.

As for when students should utilize the career management resources available, Gross says that she works with students at whatever point in the program they have a need and interest. “I have students graduating in May who are just now saying that they are making time to think about this and want to meet. And there are other students, maybe because of a tenuous job situation, who wanted to meet soon after they began the program.” Regardless of when and how students choose to use the resources available, alumni continue to have access to career services through Wharton for life.

Learn more about Wharton’s Executive MBA Career Management Services.