Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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How career coaching can benefit MMA students - Interview with MMA Career Coach Diana

At the Rotman School of Management, we pride ourselves in preparing our students for their next career move, whatever that may be. The support needed to achieve this varies from program to program, and from individual to individual, which is why we have a dedicated member of the careers service for each of our programs.

In this post, we hear from the Professional Coach for the MMA program Diana, and her perspective on building careers after graduating and career coaching for MMA alumni. She stands as a key career point of support and contact for Master of Management analytics students of all stages and disciplines with career and self-development. This blog is the third of a three-part series about our Career Services at Rotman.

Do MMA students have a clear idea where they would like to work when they graduate?

No, not always. In a typical class about a third are unsure of where they want to work after the program. They are looking to explore different options, and network with a wide variety of people.  Another third is focused on the companies they’d like to work for, or the industries they’d like to work in, already having a lot of clarity of their goals of what their degree will help them achieve. For them, we are making sure they know what strengths are needed to be an attractive candidate and successful employee in that area, and how to best present themselves in their resume.

The rest of the class fall somewhere between these two groups with some ideas. We encourage students to students to attend events like Career Discovery Week to enhance their exploration of different industries.

“A great thing about Rotman is that students have access to many opportunities and events, such as case competitions, speed networking, club run events to network and several others.”

Many of these events you can hear from leaders of companies in lots of different industries, and not just focusing on analytics and data as an industry vertical. You can learn a lot from these events and I encourage students to attend a number of them to make as many connections as possible.

Members of our MMA Advisory Board host group Coffee Chats for students – these are fantastic ways to hear from leaders in the analytics industry in an intimate setting with an industry professional who is there to support you.

“Even for those who are focused on a particular area, it’s good to do your due diligence in speaking to others and asking really good questions to get a clearer picture of what the nitty gritty of the role actually is, even if it is only to confirm what you believe is true about your ideal job.”

Do you find some students change their minds on where they want to work after the experiences in the program?

That’s something I’m working on tracking now!

I think it will be helpful when developing future activities to know how many people changed their minds, who didn’t, which sessions were most influential in making up their mind, those types of things.

Having said that, all students are different, and we will still work on individual plans and not assume what works one year will work the next.

I was speaking with one student who told me they wanted to work for one particular company, and that was it. I really questioned that strategy and mentioned my concerns to the student to explore backup options. But, sure enough, two weeks later, they got an offer from that very company! There was a real tenacity there in building a network at that company and making a positive impression with the members of the team.

“Looking at the students that come out of the MMA program, not only are they incredibly intelligent and hardworking, but they have a bit of a competitive edge because of their unique skillset combination.”

Are there Career Services sessions that involve MMA alumni?

Absolutely! Students have multiple opportunities to connect and learn from our Rotman alumni. They host their own Group Coffee Chats, typically a one-hour informal Q&A session with between 10 and 20 students who are interesting in learning about their career path and their organization.

They are also part of our Analytics Mock Interview Program, which happens in the winter term and includes members of the Advisory Board, members of the Rotman employer community, and practicum hosts too. We find our industry partners are keen to be involved in these sessions, it’s a chance for them to meet and learn about people they may well end up interviewing for a job towards the end of the program. We run mock technical, behavioral, and case interviews in this program. What’s really good for the students taking part is that they not only get feedback from the career coaches but also the industry professionals too on how to improve their interviewing skills.

We’ve seen some of our alumni involved in the MMA Practicum as hosts, which must be interesting for them to be on the other side of the table, and it is great for the current students as they are getting advice from someone who has been in their shoes recently. It shows them that their hard work is worth it, and it will pay off.

The Master of Management Analytics is designed to give students the advanced data management, analytics, and communication skills needed to become an analytics professional. 

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