Q & A with Joyce Rothenberg

Director of the Career Management Center

From the Fall 2008 edition of Vanderbilt Business

QWhat services does the Career Management Center provide?

AThe CMC does not play a traditional placement role in the sense of matching companies and students. Today’s MBA job market is all about fit, and that’s something only the companies and the students can assess; matchmaking is really not part of what we do. Our job is more about helping to develop the job market. Our role with corporate employers is to educate them about the school and to help them attract the talent that they need to run their companies. Our mission with students, on the other hand, is to help them prepare for their job search. It’s not just about finding an MBA job when they get out, although that’s really important to everyone. It’s also about giving them the tools that will allow them to seek jobs for the rest of their lives. We teach them how to pick a direction, match their skills to job requirements, fill gaps if they’ve got them, and then market themselves to companies.

QDoes the CMC also provide career assistance for alumni?

AYes, there’s a person in my office named Debbie Clapper, who is the Associate Director of Executive and Alumni Career Services. She reviews resumes for alumni and consults with them in developing job-search strategies. For those who live in Nashville, she’s organized a job-seeking group that meets every other week. She’s also started taking her career services on the road to cities where there are larger concentrations of Owen grads. If any of our alumni are interested in career services, all they need to do is pick up the phone and call her. Or they can visit www.OwenConnect.com to find out more.

QWhat advice do you give to students who are searching for jobs during these tough economic times?

AOur students need to be a little more flexible about their searches. They also need to be persistent. There are jobs out there. They may not be the dream jobs that the students envisioned when coming to business school, but there are good MBA jobs. In certain sectors and regions of the country, the job market is quite robust. I think finding the right job is just a question of being realistic about what’s available and really matching your skills and interests to something that’s a good first step. Maybe you have to get two-thirds of the way to your dream versus the whole way when times are tough.

QHow can alumni play a part in the CMC’s success?

AWe look for alumni to open doors for us at their companies. When we focus on companies we don’t know or the strategic holes in our employer relationships, we turn to alumni to make that connection either through the HR people who do the MBA hiring or through the senior managers who care about MBA talent. We always appreciate it when alumni make us aware of opportunities at their companies. Being an advocate for Owen is something that is really helpful and important to us.

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