Mendoza School of Business

The Key to a Successful MSBA Career: Know Thyself

Published: February 26, 2020 / Author: Ryan Millbern

The Key to A Successful MSBA Career: Know Thyself

Every MSBA student is required to take a Bridge to Success career course during their first semester in the program. The class, taught by Associate Director of Graduate Business Career Services Lindsey McIntyre MNA ’16, is based upon three pillars: self-awareness, marketplace awareness and personal branding. “The idea is to understand yourself, understand the opportunities in the market and use that insight to build your branding materials,” McIntyre says.

Helping students identify their personal ambitions and professional goals is particularly important in a field like analytics, which has multiple applications across a wide range of industries. “Every company needs analytics, but they often differ in the skills they value and the way they deploy talent,” McIntyre points out. “With so many opportunities in the marketplace, the most important thing I can do is help students discern what they want to do and what professional opportunities connect with who they are. After we identify that, we create strategic pathways to help them get where they want to go.”

One of the ways students learn to articulate their professional strengths in compelling ways is by creating a bank of CAR (Context-Action-Result) stories. “I give them time in class to list their accomplishments and then teach them to translate those accomplishments into CAR stories that bring their top strengths and skills to life,” McIntyre notes. “It’s a useful tool that helps students build a catalog of stories that will add value to their networking and interviewing efforts.”

One-on-one coaching

In addition to the Bridge to Success course, McIntyre serves as a personal career coach to all MSBA students, offering everything from resumé and cover letter reviews to mock interviews, lunch and learns, and various workshops throughout the year. She also spends up to 20 hours each week meeting one-on-one with students to discuss their career needs.

The individual needs of students vary widely. One student from Taiwan has a desire to use analytics as a catalyst for the betterment of society in her home country. McIntyre’s focus has been to help her identify specific industries and functions that allow her to establish a foundation of experience that will support her career beyond the United States.

Another student entered the program determined to secure a position with a Big Four consulting firm. After fall recruiting, she became curious about a position in the tech industry. She came to McIntyre for help with the discernment process. “I quickly learned that she is an external processor, so my job was to listen and ask clarifying questions to make sure she was thinking through the pros and cons of her employment prospects,” McIntyre remembers.

The student interviewed with both PwC and Uber Freight. “My advice to her was to continue through the recruiting process with both companies, keep an open mind, and be genuinely authentic and transparent throughout each stage of the interview process.” After receiving offers from both companies, the student accepted a position with PwC.

Students come to McIntyre at different points in their professional journeys—with wide-ranging experiences, ambitions and expectations. The one constant throughout her coaching sessions is McIntyre’s desire to listen and help students process. “I’ve had several students share with me that they feel like I understand them in a way that transcends any cultural or language barriers that exist. For me, that’s the best compliment I could ever receive as a coach.”

True pathways to success extend beyond graduation

McIntyre and her team’s work isn’t limited to helping students discover their unique strengths—it also extends to ensuring that employers understand the values guiding many of Notre Dame’s MSBA graduates.

The Career Services team routinely meets with employers to assess marketplace needs and evaluate best-fit strategic partners. “We’re approached by so many companies who would like to partner with us to potentially hire our graduates,” McIntyre says. “We’re being very intentional about creating a list of targeted companies that align with the ethical leadership values that are core to Notre Dame. We want to make sure we’re partnering with companies that understand our students are graduating not just with an analytics skill set, but with an ethical leadership component that will drive their work.”

The recruitment process is a marathon: Start training now

McIntyre offers the following words of wisdom for prospective MSBA students entering the job search process, regardless of their professional interests: “To be successful in the recruiting process, students must be willing to do some heavy lifting. I compare it to running a marathon. You don’t show up the day of the race and expect to be successful without a significant amount of training and preparation.

“Getting a job is no different. As a coach, I can provide solid guidance, but only if the student is willing to steer the ship. My advice to prospective students would be to start your job search process now! Research opportunities in the business analytics market, figure out how they align with your core strengths and values, and network, network, network!”