Lessons learned from Goizueta’s Career Management Center for working professionals

The Career Management Center for working professionals was one of the top factors in my decision to apply to Goizueta’s Evening MBA program. The office has three full-time staff and a host of resources ranging from webinars and networking events to individual coaching and classroom training. Knowing this team was there for me helped me feel confident in my ability to succeed in my career; indeed, I successfully switched jobs in the middle of the program!

As a student, I appreciate how accessible and approachable the staff are, and the wide variety of services that they offer. Whether you’re looking to strategize about your next career move, participate in formal on-campus recruitment or just to spruce up your LinkedIn profile, they have something that can help. I personally have participated in nearly everything they offer, and I can easily say I have learned an enormous amount. Before the program, I didn’t understand the point of networking (or how to go about it), how to quantify achievements on a resume, how to negotiate a salary, how to answer behavioral interview questions — or, really, very much at all, now that I think about it!

Here are a few of the lessons I have learned from the Career Management Center during my time at Goizueta:

  1. Step out of your comfort zone
    I’m just going to dive right in with the hardest one first. Trust me, as both shy and introverted, I understand not feeling comfortable at networking events or in an interview. But is staying on the “sidelines” really worth being stagnant in your job or your career? All the magic happens outside your comfort zone — as you can see in this photo that was in one of the CMC’s workshop slides:

    Photo credit: Benji Ellis

  2. “Don’t be that boring person”
    This is something one of the staff said in a workshop that stuck with me for a couple of years now. It’s so true! Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Having an “elevator pitch” is great and was something I knew nothing about prior to this program. That said, who enjoys listening to robotic, rehearsed one-liners? Say something interesting and different, and let your passion shine through as you talk about why you are in your line of work. Nobody else will care if you don’t!
  3. Build your network… especially when you don’t have an acute need to do so
    Use “down time” when you are not actively looking for a position to meet as many people as you can in the industry, function or company you’re interested in. This is an essential activity to prepare you for your next job search, and there’s no excuse not to. Every work week has five breakfasts, five lunches, and lots of 20-minute coffee breaks. Personally, I have yet to meet with someone and feel that it was a waste of time. I think we all have something to learn from and gain from one another, but on a more practical level, you never know when that connection will be the key one you needed to gain a connection to a hiring manager or to recommend you for a position. 
  4. Take advantage of the resources available to you!
    I know — evening students are extremely busy. I get it. But we only have access to these valuable resources for so long. Making time in your schedule — even 30 minutes a week — for your career can make or break your success. It’s not a one-time activity; it is a continual process that requires some strategizing and networking time.

This is definitely just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to what the CMC has taught me. I have learned and grown so much in my ability to interview, write cover letters, target my search for the right job, network and so much more. By the way — what are you waiting for? Why not email someone now to set up coffee this week? You never know what will come of it.

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Ashley Freeman

Ashley Freeman is a class of 2018 Evening MBA student and an independent leadership coach and speaker. In her free time, she loves crocheting, traveling, teaching French, piano and cello lessons, and spending time with her husband and pet bird. Connect with Ashley on Twitter (@AshleyFCoaching), Instagram (@AshleyFreemanCoaching) or on LinkedIn.

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