Anne Jones is the director of career management for the MBA program at the Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Jones joined the school a month ago after more than six years at financial-services giant Citigroup (C), where she worked in marketing and recruiting. In 1998, she earned an MBA from Britain's Cranfield University School of Management.
The McDonough School has gone through a lot of changes lately. Four weeks into Jones's tenure, it announced the appointment of a new dean, George G. Daly, a professor of business administration at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. In 2004, after a few rocky years with lots of turnover, the program's career services office redeemed itself. About 75% of McDonough students seeking a job had an offer by graduation.
And Jones says the 2005 numbers, which the school is still collecting, are even better. Her goal is to spread the word about McDonough students to top recruiters. Jones recently talked with BusinessWeek Online reporter Francesca Di Meglio. Following are edited excerpts of their conversation:
Q: What kinds of things do you want to change?
A: I come out of the marketing world, and I'm excited to look at career management from a business point of view. I want to make sure we have a clear, identifiable brand. You should immediately know that the McDonough School of Business is intensely, academically vigorous. This is the school where 100% of the students have work experience outside of their home country by the time they graduate.
Q: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?
A: People will immediately think of the school as having global scope, rigorous academic coursework, and an ethical focus, when I mention McDonough to them. Then they will add that they just hired two McDonough students and plan to hire two more.
Q: How do you market your students to recruiters?
A: Georgetown attracts students who already have a global mindset. Our curriculum is rigorous and trains students to strive for excellence in the real world. They are held accountable for all their coursework through a transparent grading system.
Students remain noncombative, despite the challenging and competitive environment at Georgetown. Our focus on ethics is rooted in Georgetown's history, and it has been a core part of McDonough since its opening nearly 25 years ago.
Q: Who's recruiting at McDonough?
A: I just got off the phone with a student who is at Citigroup, a company near and dear to my heart, as you might imagine. But I also talked to some people at Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), McKinsey & Co., and Deloitte. We get a nice mix of big and small companies.
There are always those companies that you think would be perfect for Georgetown. We send a steady stream of students to companies we'd like to see on campus. We usually say, "You give us the profile of exactly who you are looking for, and we'll make sure that those students who fit the bill get in front of you."
Q: What are some of the new industries that are hiring MBAs?
A: Our focus on ethics makes us attractive to an industry that is suddenly starting to look at MBAs. Interestingly enough, the gaming industry has shown an interest. We also have strong health-care and marketing clubs this year, so we may make a little more of an effort to get some of those businesses to see our students.
Q: What kind of salaries are your students earning?
A: The mean starting base salary last year was $88,734, and the mean signing bonus was $18,177. Our numbers will never be among the highest, but that's by design. We have many students who end up working for nongovernmental organizations or smaller or nonprofit companies.
Q: Are you doing anything to attract more recruiters?
A: One of the things that we need to do is have a well-run career management office. The fact that we got our [recruiting] calendar out to key companies in May is a benefit. Companies responded well because it helps them to better plan their recruiting efforts.
Q: What are some of the highlights of the career training you offer?
A: What is unique to Georgetown - and something we take great pride in - is that we provide one-on-one counseling to students. When I talk to employers, I can say that I really know my students, their strengths, and interests. We work hard to make sure our students understand all the resources available to them - from workshops to peer interviewing. We also have a good communication system on the career counseling and employer relations sides.
Q: What do you do to help international students?
A: We work with them on the same things we do for any student. But we also make sure they can clearly communicate their strengths and feel comfortable doing so. We want them to understand the visa process and what possibilities they have. There are a number of tracks they can take. Our main priority is to help them find jobs that will position them for long-term career success.
Q: What's your best advice for job seekers?
A: Be nice to other people. Networking is a two-way street, and helping someone else is the best way to position yourself.
Q: What's your philosophy on building a career?
A: The most important thing to know about the career placement office at Georgetown - or any university - is that it's very much like a high-tech gym. We've got fantastic trainers and equipment here, but only the student can come in and get in shape.