Deborah Bibb is the director of the Career and Student Life Center at the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, (second tier in BusinessWeek's 2004 MBA rankings). Bibb says the close connection between student life, alumni, and career services, all of which she oversees, helps Weatherhead students maximize their job search. She recently spoke with BusinessWeek Online reporter Jeffrey Gangemi. Here's an edited transcript of their conversation:
Q: What are the program's strong points?
A: Finance, supply chain, and especially, industrial marketing are our strong suits. Employers are appreciative of our students' ability to roll up their sleeves and work in a team environment.
Q: What are the most innovative career services you offer students?
A: Our office encompasses career services, alumni, and student life, so we have the opportunity to integrate all aspects of the students' experience. Among our more interesting programs are "Weatherhead on Location," where we take students on job-search treks to hold information sessions and stage mock interviews at major companies, and "MBAs on Call", where students get their foot in the door by helping out with a project or filling an internship role during the school year.
Our mentoring program matches students with a corporate executive to help them learn about specific industries and disciplines. In the past, every student participated. Now, about 55% of students accept the chance to customize their relationship with a mentor.
Q: Which recruiters are most active at Weatherhead?
A: We try to cultivate relationships with employers with whom students express interest. Progressive Corp., National City, and GE are the main ones in Cleveland. Deloitte, J.P. Morgan Chase, Emerson Electric, Ernst & Young, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers are some of the big national names.
Q: How do recruiters influence the curriculum?
A: When we're developing the curriculum, we ask employers for feedback on its relevance in the marketplace. We have a bioscience and an e-business concentration at Weatherhead, and those departments seek out their advisory board for further input. We're also forming an advisory board for our office so it can channel input more effectively into the development of the core curriculum.
Q: What international work opportunities do you promote?
A: We've had a close relationship with Samsung in Korea over the years, and they tend to hire many of our students. We also attend the international MBA consortium in Orlando. Also, students are connecting with alumni in regions around the world. It's important for international students to make and maintain connections with alumni in their home countries because of more stringent post-9/11 visa laws.