The Top MBA Job Placement Starts with Professional Development Week

The Foster School of Business is known for its top career placement year after year. Here’s a look at where it all begins.

In late August Foster’s halls buzzed with the excitement of our newest class of MBAs. The Class of 2021 includes electrical engineers, teachers, bankers, non-profit leaders, and a broad array of other professionals.

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From making a positive difference in this world, to creating meaningful lives, to achieving high levels of leadership and success, our 117 students bring 117 different dreams to Foster. Our students gather four weeks before classes begin to learn about each other, prepare for a rigorous year of learning and set the stage for their personal career journeys towards achieving those dreams.

What is “ProDev Week” at Foster and why is it important to students?

For many, the first step on campus is a first step towards a new career. And like any journey, knowing where you want to go can make the trip so much richer. That’s why part of these first weeks included five intensive PROfessional DEVelopment days focused on understanding what it takes to make the next career moves, building career search skills, and knowing how to engage the amazing Foster Community for support and encouragement.

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Developed and presented by the Career Management Team, ProDev Week is a very special opportunity for personal exploration and skill-building – and unique among many MBA programs. The week starts with a full day of reflection and planning.

How do you advise students to turn dreams into careers?

What is so very exciting about this journey is the many directions it can go. ProDev Week began with Designing Your Life, a program developed by Stanford Professors Bill Burnett & Dave Evans. During this full day workshop, every student engaged in design principles of Self-Reflection, Ideating and Odyssey Planning to articulate and share their dreams with their team members. These dreams are the foundation for planning everything from selecting class electives to evaluating internship and ultimately choosing the right job opportunity. Students develop the skills, frameworks, and mutual support that will sustain them on their 22-month journey through the MBA program.

The Designing Your Life Odyssey Plan exercise allowed me the rare chance to pause and really think about what I wanted in the next five years of my life, both professionally and personally,” says Mikaela Rubin (MBA 2020). “I will continue to us the Odyssey Plan exercise throughout life as I find myself in new circumstances and develop new interests and goals!”

Research continues to demonstrate the power of leveraging our individual strengths. Using the widely respected GALLUP CliftonStrengths assessment, Foster’s certified career management coaches led the class on Day 2 in a deep dive into understanding natural strengths and how each student can leverage those in team settings at Foster and beyond.

From self-reflection and personal planning, the students turned to gaining an understanding of the MBA marketplace and career paths. What skills and attributes do employers value most in today’s fast changing environment? What skills will be most highly valued in the future? And, what can each student do to prepare to gain the internships and jobs they want, from researching companies and opportunities to learning how to write effectively to preparing an effective resume?

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During Day 3 and 4, students not only heard from a variety of speakers, they got a first-hand look into the strategy of one of five of Seattle’s iconic companies during an on-site visit.

ProDev Week concluded with a full day of interview prep workshops to help each student build their interviewing skills. For many who have been in the workforce, MBA interviewing demands a whole new level of preparation and skill. These workshops provide a deep foundation for every student as they continue their career journey at Foster.

The week was punctuated by more than a dozen presentations from business leaders and alumni who shared inspirational career journeys and insights into their extraordinary companies – from market leaders like Amazon, Microsoft and Proctor & Gamble to entrepreneurial startups and those who fund them.

Ultimately, finding the meaning of their success and building the journey towards it lies within every student. The Career Management office is here to help each student uncover their strengths, dreams and skills to take advantage of the many opportunities that a Foster MBA creates. The fun and excitement of their success is why all of us at Foster love what we do.”
– Naomi Sanchez, Assistant Dean