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 what students can gain through career coaching, along with services that are offered. 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 second of a three-part series about our Career Services at Rotman.

What services do you offer to students as a Career Coach? What can students expect from the Careers Services team?

The goal of the career services team is to provide customized programming for each individual to be successful in their career search. Students will meet with me 1:1 to discuss and create a career search strategy; be able to participate in Master of Management Analytics-focused workshops to further hone their careers-related skills and have access to the career service team’s vast network of employers and friendly alumni.

When I first meet a student, I want to find out more about what they are interested in. We start to build what I call their “career profile”; learning about what types of roles, organizations and industries they are considering now, the locations they’d like to work, and what they are looking for in terms of salary. We then discuss their strengths and the areas they’d need to improve in order to work towards their career goals, usually generated from a CliftonStrengths and Career Leader assessment. As I am going through this with the student I am identifying the types of support that myself as their coach and the Career Services team can offer.

Some of the types of support include how to tackle the job search strategy, how to network, all the way through to preparation for interviews. It doesn’t stop at the interview either. After a successful interview we then help students to negotiate their offer to ensure they are being paid a competitive rate for the market they are entering as well as prepare them to think about how to succeed in their new roles.

All programming will be shared on RCareer (the Rotman internal career portal) or via email. As a student remember to check those tools frequently to ensure you do not miss any important events.

You’ve talked about the services you offer. Could you elaborate on one of the different groups of students you may typically see?

Focused group

Let’s start with the focused group, those who know they want to work in a particular industry or role. At first, I would meet with the student to find out what they know about that area, what they know about the role, and why it is appealing to them.  We really want to understand what is behind that interest, and if there is any openness to other areas to have as a backup plan.

Next, we’d start to work on building their network in that field. We would look at MMA alumni who would be good to connect with, then more broadly Rotman alumni. We’d look at events and employer sessions that they might consider attending with the goal of gathering information but more importantly making valuable connections at the firms of interest.

I will help them strategize what events or employer information sessions they might want to consider attending to find the right people. We want to ensure students are utilizing the benefit of the Rotman alumni network, and going through those paths to give them information on the company along with interview prep.

I will also encourage those students to participate in mock interviews, both with myself and with industry individuals such as the advisory board or alumni. Even for focused students, I would encourage them to participate in exploration activities with different industries or companies to gather more data on what other industries or roles are out there and what that could look like, as a career path.

Exploration group

For the students who are more unsure and are still exploring a variety of options, I believe there is real value in doing some personal reflection and assessments, such as the CliftonStrengths assessment. This is a way for students to find out more about what their key marketable strengths might be.

There is another assessment called Career Leader which looks at what motivates a person, and what kinds of organizational culture and industries they may thrive in. They provide useful information for my initial conversations with the students. Sometimes the information is what they expected, other times it really does open up new areas to explore. This is where I would then be suggesting events for the student to attend, and we’d start working on what connections they can make to learn more about those areas that do excite them to start to gather “data” to inform their next steps.

One piece of advice I give to all students is to check the upcoming events regularly, there are always new sessions being added. I send out a weekly email with employer events, external events, Career Services events, and open roles and any updates or requests that I have that I highly encourage MMAs to read every week so you don’t miss out.

There is always so much going on at Rotman you can access activities throughout the year. Some students feel pressure to land a job by December of their academic year, however we know that many students actually get roles closer to completion of the program in June. I really encourage our students to use their time at Rotman as a gift of a year where they can really invest in self-development and to work with myself and the wider Career Services team to uncover who they are, what they are good at and enjoy, and what career path fits best for them.

“My tip for those looking for career coaching – Don’t be afraid to reach out! I have lots of resources available to help you along the way, and I work with students that are on various career building journeys. Together, we can work through a career plan and find the job best suited for your individualized skills and passions.”

You mentioned that students have recently been interested in roles in technology and consultancy. Has there been a lot of change in where students want to work?

It has changed over time, and I believe it will continue to change as data and analytics become more in demand in more organizations. Initially, a lot of students were going into financial services organizations, and a high number still do.  Although we have seen a growth in technology companies, consultancy, and consumer packaged goods/retail.

It’s important for me to keep on top of these changes by engaging with industry professionals so we offer the right type of career supports and make connections with the right types of employers to best educate and support our students.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about coming to Rotman?

Being in Toronto is fantastic. Finance, consulting, and technology have been three of the top industries our MMA graduates want to work in. There are a lot of organizations, of all sizes, which are based in Toronto. The city provides great opportunities.

I’ve touched on the Rotman alumni, community, and faculty before, but they really are all world-class. The organizations that our alumni work at, and their willingness to support the students is just incredible.

Finally, I’d say the program itself, and the knowledge our students gain which is directly applicable to expectations in the professional world.

A student told me how they went through a technical interview with a large Canadian organization, and they felt like they nailed every single question as they directly correlated to the coursework they had done during the program. This tells me that the topics we are covering in our curriculum are what the industry is looking for, and which are vetted by the Advisory Board, so this not only increases the likelihood of getting the job you want but also succeeding at it when you start.

‘’Being within a management school, not only can you develop as a technical expert, but also as a business leader. That is something, in my opinion, is something that is incredibly unique.”

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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