When EMBA Programs first started, organizations fully funded the lion’s share of tuition for most EMBA students. Some organizations even required EMBA candidates to commit to staying with their organization for a certain number of years after graduation.
As a result, EMBA students decades past were much less interested in exploring careers and pursuing job searches. Their stories went more like this, says John Worth, director of graduate professional development at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU): “My company loves me. I love my company. I want to move up at my company.”
Fast forward and the times they have changed. “More and more people in EMBA are considering career changes,” says Worth. Even those who plan to remain with their organizations want to know how they can better market themselves within their organizations.
“We see students who have been engineers for 10 years and now wonder how to make their organizations see them in different roles.”
With more EMBA students footing part or all of the bill for their EMBA, they want to make sure they are setting and reaching their career objectives, says Worth. “They are looking to the degree to do something different.”
With that desire for change prompting candidates, programs have invested more heavily into a variety of career services. In some cases, students are considering the quality and availability of career services as one of the factors in choosing their EMBA Program, he says.
“They really need assistance to point them in the right direction and conduct the job search in a logical way. They need that kind of assistance to achieve the goal that brought them into the EMBA Program in the first place.”
Worth has been able to see the growth of career services: He came to Virginia Commonwealth University from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which hired him to build a career management program for EMBA students.
The expansion of career services has meant the addition of workshops and events that are targeted for the experienced EMBA student, virtual resources, and access to onsite recruiting.
Even though the companies that recruit focus primarily on undergraduate and full-time MBA talent, EMBA students still benefit from the face-to-face networking that happens at corporate recruiting events, says Worth.
Another significant development involves the thriving world of coaching. Coaching for EMBA students can range from executive coaching, leadership coaching, and career coaching, says Worth. Each play a role, with career coaching focusing more on the processes for career change, advancement, and job searches. VCU offers one-on-one executive and leadership coaching to all students as part of the program.
The school continues to enhance its offerings, recently developing workshops on Leveraging LinkedIn to Enhance Your Brand and Elevating Your Management Perspectives to help students meet their career goals.
Students respond favorably to the menu of career services, says Worth, even though it can be challenging finding time to participate in workshops and activities. One trend will remain strong: EMBA Programs listening to students.
“I am here to help students meet their career objectives,” says Worth. “I think career services will continue evolving to respond to what students say they are looking for.”