During a time when the job market is particularly competitive, students at the Goizueta Business School are feeling a lack of preparation for job and internship interviews.
According to B-School senior Don Wang, the preparation students are receiving does not encompass students’ needs.
“The Career Center gives students mock interviews, but they do a more general interview,” Wang explained. “Finance interviews are more intense. A lot of kids have gone into interviews not really know what they’re going to be asked.”
The mock interviews done at the Career Center are more behavioral than technical, Wang said.
Many interviews will ask difficult questions and give students “brain teasers”, such as requiring students to design a car blind people can drive and solve difficult math problems.
B-School senior Alex Greenhouse said that preparation varies greatly from major to major, and that while there are many resources available to B-School students, there’s “no real structure” to interview preparation.
“A lot of people don’t know what resources are optimal for their career preparation,” Greenhouse said.
The B-School offers a junior seminar program geared towards “building leadership, communications, career development, business computing, and academic skills,” according to its website, but Greenhouse said that the program is a “hodge-podge of classes” and that not all students take the classes that are best catered to their needs.
According to B-School senior Andrew Joy, however, the B-school does well in preparing students for future careers, but the burden is primarily on each individual student to succeed.
“The B-School will prepare you as much as you take the initiative to do,” Joy said. “If you’re looking at a specific industry, you’re going to have to do your own research.”
Director of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Career Management Center (CMC) Andy Rabitoy said that CMC staff as well as other mentors such as business librarians are available to help direct students to the research corresponding with their respective concentrations.
“Our job here is to provide information, access and advice to help with job searches and career preparation, including interview preparation,” Rabitoy said.
The BBA program itself prepares students for both the behavioral and technical aspects of job interviews, Rabitoy said, but there are also a number of outside resources of which students are able to take advantage.
For those students seeking resources or direction, Rabitoy said that the CMC provides information online and offers walk-in advising every day.
Preparation begins from day one at orientation, B-School senior Danny Rodriguez said, where students receive a schedule detailing what needs to be done and when. All students, he added, are coached on every aspect of the career search including resources for resumes, how to dress at interviews and what to expect at a given interview, depending on the industry.
“I think they really do prepare you if you seek out the help. The resources are there, but it has to come from your own research and the amount of time you put into your coursework,” Rodriguez explained. “It’s very dependent upon the student’s initiative.”
Greenhouse, however, said that the coursework does not adequately prepare students for certain industries, such as interviews in higher levels of finance.
Although the Career Center offers mock interviews and other career-specific events, he said, even those offer little help if students go into a practice interview without having been prepared for that.
Joy said that students seeking realistic mock interviews have opportunities to conduct practice interviews with various companies that visit Emory’s campus.
Students require guidance in order to succeed, Greenhouse said, adding that those who don’t have mentors aren’t at the same place as those who do.
Due to this observance, Greenhouse has started Goizueta Fast-Track, a student-run organization that focuses particularly on preparing students for finance, accounting and consulting interviews.
“These concentrations tend to have a more technical skill-set involved,” Greenhouse said of the interviews.
Fast-Track, which is set to begin this February, is an organization of ten mentor families, each consisting of one freshman, one sophomore, one junior and one senior. Older members who have experienced the job search and interview process will serve as mentors to those preparing for job interviews.
Greenhouse explained that in addition to providing an additional mentoring service, the organization will also bring students of different years together, which he said is not seen often at the B-School.
Rabitoy said that he commends and appreciates both student and alumni mentors, both of whom he said are dedicated to helping students succeed.
The B-School’s connections with alumni are extremely valuable, Joy noted, because Goizueta alumni work for companies all over the world and serve as connections between the student and the employer and are eager to help Goizueta graduates do well.
Ultimately, according to Rodriguez, success depends on the individual and Wang acknowledged that the B-School has a wide agenda and that it is up to the students to do the work.
“The B-School isn’t going to get a job for you. If you have a specific interview, you can even sit down with your professors,” Rodriguez suggested.
Rabitoy said that this kind of preparation is vital not only in the job search but also in the business career field in general.
“The resources are there; I think students need to take advantage of them. They need to be prepared, especially in the current competitive market,” Rabitoy said. “You need to be on top of your A-game, not only in the interview process but also in the business world.”
— Contact Alice Chen