Most top business schools breed their students for a career in consulting or financial services (which is slowly being displaced by high tech and entrepreneurial opportunities). Entry into both these industries requires rigorous preparation in terms of professional networking skills, resume reviews and interview preparation (not to mention certain passports). Business School rankings are determined by placement success, median salaries, career services reviews and so on and hence, most top schools invest heavily in career services to sustain ratings. I consider myself fortunate to have been exposed to two different business models in career services – one at IESE Business School and another at Stephen M. Ross School of Business. These differences could be fuelled by the professional cultures (centralised or decentralised) of their geographic locations, making one wonder if any business school is ever truly global.
IESE Business School employs a centralised model for career services where they hire highly qualified staff to spearhead business development (building corporate connections), offer professional advice to students on building a career, organise company visits/ treks and act as mentors for professional clubs in their respective sectors. They offer office hours that can be reserved on the campus recruitment portal and if a student is willing and persistent (being the key words), there is potential for tremendous value out of this experience. I can personally vouch for this model working very well in some sectors (some counsellors investing even upto 6 months before start of the program!!). Apart from this, students are expected to benefit from seniors within professional recruitment clubs such as finance and consulting. Some second years are committed to offering the best services to first years, but most experts (students with work-ex in desired sectors) have no real incentive to help aspiring candidates unless you’re a BOW (Bar of the week) buddy! If the school were to realise the potential amongst its students from various programs (MBA, EMBA, GEMBA, etc), they could possibly increase liquidity in the job market for all students, in turn making the MBA a profitable business line with higher ratings (Top 3 in the world can’t be that far fledged an aim given the quality of education)!
Stephen M. Ross School of Business, on the other hand, is a school that employs a marketplace model for career services. Being a part of a massive university with undergrad programs as well, makes it easier for Ross to leverage resources from across the board. While they have qualified staff that head career services, additional requirements are met by qualified students (experts) on an hourly pay basis. So, the campus recruitment portal offers a marketplace of diverse student counsellors who offer an array of services such as resume review, mock case interviews, fit interviews, etc. This model has the dual benefit of dynamically servicing diversity in student demand and also, aligning incentives for all stakeholders, making the process of recruitment more successful and cost effective. For an exchange student such as me, I didn’t need to go to be a part of any professional club or go to Skeeps (weekly socialising night) to find a mock interviewer, instead I found two of them every week in just two clicks. Most seniors have full-time offers by now and having benefited from this service previously, they are more than willing to give back to those still in the market for jobs. This model incentivizes communal behaviour in a place that is supposed to be breeding baby sharks!