Career Diversity

Real talk about diversity and careers: The things you want to talk about at work but can't...and probably shouldn't.

The heat is on for MBA and undergraduate business student interns in the summer of 2009. After clawing their way into coveted internship positions in one of the most competitive job markets in memory, the real fight for full-time job offers is happening now, halfway through their 10 or so weeks on the job.

While there is some consolation in the fact that companies hired fewer interns because they planned to make fewer full-time offers for the following year, the chosen few lucky enough to land those internships still have to make sure they stand out. In fact, this is just the beginning of the battle for full-time positions for business graduates at every level. "This year the job search is not going to be a sprint," says Patrick Perrella, director of MBA career development at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business (Mendoza Full-Time MBA Profile). "It's a marathon." If you want to make it to the finish line with a full-time job offer in hand, you'll have to go the extra mile.

Exceed Expectations
Most career placement directors will tell you that one of the first ways to insure a satisfying internship is to communicate your expectations to your direct supervisor and ask what he or she expects of you. If this has not happened yet, you should make a point to talk to your manager and ask for feedback on how you are doing and what you can improve. You should also tell him or her what you think of the internship so far and how you'd like to add more value.

In addition to a midsummer evaluation, Madhu Palkar, a 2009 graduate of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management (Kellogg Full-Time MBA Profile) who interned at L.E.K. Consulting in Chicago last year, scheduled biweekly meetings with her mentors. "You have to be creative and put out on the table what you bring to the table," says Palkar.

She told her bosses about her experience in health care and took on a health-care assignment in which she excelled. This made a great impression, and when she asked for assignments in completely different fields, her bosses were gung ho. On the last day of her internship, she was offered a full-time position, which she eventually accepted. She is now a full-time L.E.K. consultant in Chicago.

Work Hard and Smart
Worker bees get the honey, say recruiters. A strong work ethic, says Steve Canale, manager of recruiting and staff at General Electric (GE), is the common denominator among those who snag full-time offers at GE. The same is true at Deutsche Bank (DB), and working hard is more important in the weaker economy. "It's not even just about being good now," says Kristina Peters, managing director and global head of graduate resourcing at Deutsche Bank. "It's about being excellent."

Basic rules, such as coming in before the boss and staying longer, still apply. But you also must take initiative to stand out. For example, you could spend some of your free time learning how to use new software to help you work faster or do additional research that wasn't asked of you for the big presentation. Perrella, who used to work at Citigroup (C), says he was always impressed when interns finished their projects early and anticipated what they could do next. Canale says that if you think you could be doing more, you should speak up because most employers will appreciate your willingness and desire to contribute—and they'll happily give you more work.

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Great on the Job takes it one step further. I use TOUs, or thinking of yous, to encourage people to reach out to others in their network. TOUs are short emails and whereas an IOU makes you indebted to someone, TOUs instead create goodwill. Thinking of yous are inherently generous and the goal is to maintain relevance with someone by sharing information or passing along well wishes, with the side benefit of keeping someone on your radar or staying on theirs.

So what should the subject of these TOUs be?

Here are five foolproof ways to ping someone this summer with a TOU:

(1) Pass along an article of interest: Julie, I read this article in the Boston Globe today and I thought of you and wanted to pass it along. This sounds like its right in the sweet spot of what your team is working on. Hope all is well. Best, Erica. [* extra credit for highlighting or bold facing the relevant paragraph or sections of the article]

(2) Congratulate someone on good news: Adam, I spoke with Aaron last week and he mentioned your promotion / new baby / move to Chicago. Congratulations, I’m very happy for you. Once you get settled in, let’s schedule coffee to catch up and see how things are going. Fondly, Kevin

(3) Share a job lead: Cynthia, I wanted to reach out let you know that L&M is looking for a new property manager. If you know anyone who might be interested, please feel free to forward along to colleagues or friends. Warm Regards, Casey

(4) Acknowledge a sport fan’s win: Nathan, congrats! I watched the game last night and saw that the Buckeyes pulled it off at the last minute, enjoy your bragging rights today. Roger

(5) Reference a run-in with a mutual friend: Elise, Eric and I saw Katherine today and she’s just come back from L.A. and sends her regards. Let’s try to all get together soon. Jodi

National Black MBA Association knows that one key to the recovery is you. As the nation’s largest black professional organization, we are proud to partner with State Farm in presenting the National Black MBA Entrepreneurial Institute, our effort to educate and inspire today’s established and aspiring entrepreneur.

Upcoming cities:
Houston - August 22nd
Philadelphia - August 29th

This event is open to non-members!

Compete in the Innovation WhiteBoard Challenge for a chance to win $10,000! Contestants get five minutes to pitch an idea, product concept or business idea to business leaders, entrepreneurs, and funders – with just a pen and whiteboard and your power to sell. - no PowerPoints, no interruptions!

Jumpstart your dreams with the practical advice and direction you need to get up and running in today’s competitive environment:

  • Identify the best model and resources for you – from franchising, to partnerships or made-from-scratch
  • Study real life scenarios that entrepreneurs must consider before pursuing, or continuing a specific model
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses you possess
  • Learn the differences between the certifying agencies and the pros and cons of being certified for black and female owners, and how to make it work for you without bias or complication
  • Learn sales methods that help find the customer and keep them
  • Identify your most profitable customer profile
  • Understand the sales process
  • Get up to speed on venture capital financing, financing acquisitions, creative financing
  • Understand Stimulus program options
  • Learn where to find pools of capital and small business loans, how to attract the attention of angel investors and how to utilize creative capital-raising strategies
  • Address dilution, how much to raise and when, ownership versus wealth considerations and more

Registration links can be found on each cities page and on the registration page.

Host: NBMBAA-Houston Chapter
Date: Friday, August 28, 2009
Time: 11:30am - 1:00pm
Location: Houston Area Urban League (Downtown)
1301 Texas Avenue (between Caroline St. and Austin St.)
Houston, TX 77002

Grab your lunch on the way and meet us Downtown
Free: Members
$5.00: Non-Members


Host: NSHMBA Twin Cities (Saint Paul/Minneapolis) Minnesota
Date: Friday, August 28, 2009
Time: 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Location: Zathar Minneapolis (Inside the Grand Hotel)
615 2nd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN
Phone: 6127529595

Learn about the upcoming National Conference to be held in Minneapolis in October 2009.

Free admission
Complimentary appetizers
Welcome cocktail
Drink Specials

Enjoy a Happy Hour in style with fellow colleagues and professionals, and learn about the National NSHMBA conference to held in Minneapolis 2009 and the many opportunities for professionals, students, and allies to become part of this exiting event!

Building a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success withDan Schawbel-For more informaiton about Dan Schawebel, please visit

Sponsored by Lowe’s Companies, Inc.-Follow us on Twitter @LowesRecruiting and Join the Lowe’s Facebook fan page: Lowe's/NBMBAA 2009 Conference-NOLAAdmission is free!

Date: Thursday, August 20, 2009
Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: Johnson and Wales University; Hance Auditorium
Street: 801 W. Trade Street
City/Town: Charlotte, NC


Finding the right business school out of a list that tops 8,000 internationally isn’t easy. For every MBA candidate there are numerous reasons for short-listing one school and not another. At QS, the world’s leading website for MBA information , we encourage candidates to spend significant time thinking about their personal interests and limitations to ensure their chosen school is the right one for them. Not every school suits every candidate, no matter how high their GMAT score or how well-ranked the business school might be.
Accreditation is a process that business schools volunteer for in order to get public recognition they have achieved a certain standard of education. Most business schools are accredited to some level, so it is worth asking an unaccredited school why they haven’t chosen that route.
There are three international accreditation bodies. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), started as a body accrediting US and Canadian business schools, although it now accredits schools outside North America. The European Fund for Management Development (EFMD), has its accrediting body, EQUIS, which now accredits outside the European Union. Both accreditation bodies look at, and accredit, the school as a whole, taking in big picture issues such as resources, quality of faculty, and programs on offer.
Generally speaking EQUIS has a strong focus on business school diversity, largely as a result of its pan-European background. It also includes Executive MBA and part-time programs. For the AACSB, which accredits full-time MBAs, how a school uses its resources to bring it up to a top level is more important. The third body, the Association of MBAs (AMBA), based in the UK, accredits individual MBA programs rather than the school as a whole.
There are other accrediting bodies but these operate on a local level. The Central and East European Management Development Association (CEEMAN), for example, accredits business schools in the Central European region.
So how important is it for an MBA candidate to consider accredited programs above unaccredited ones? Nunzio Quacquarelli is managing director of the QS World MBA Tour. For the last 14 years, QS has taken top-level accredited business schools on tour to over 65 cities worldwide to meet MBA candidates. For Quacquarelli, accreditation is important, as long as the candidate’s expectations are realistic.
“Accreditation provides a threshold of standard for business schools,” he says. “The specific focus of each board is quite different so they are measuring different things. A candidate needs to understand what accreditation a school or program has received and why, before making their decision. It is important that a school is accredited either locally or internationally.”
Durham Business School in the UK, is one of only 34 international business schools, of which 29 regularly attend the QS World MBA Tour, to be triple-accredited by the AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. The school’s Dean, Rob Dixon, says attaining all three kitemarks takes a business school a great deal of commitment and hard work but it is something that many top MBA programs strive for, at significant cost and effort. “There is no doubt that the independent endorsement and credibility of an accreditation kitemark is a standard of excellence worth striving for,” Dixon says. “In today’s crowded MBA market it [accreditation] provides students with a useful benchmark and starting point when deciding which schools to consider. However, one of the most important points about any accreditation is that it demonstrates a real commitment to quality and a process of continuous improvement and development.”
Jerry Trapnell, chief accreditation officer from the AACSB, based in Florida, stresses that accrediting bodies are co-operative and not in competition with each other, due to their different philosophies and methodologies. “We have great respect for EQUIS accreditation and the schools that have earned it. EQUIS accreditation standards have a strong focus on how schools address internationalization among curricula, faculty, and students of the business school as well as relationships with corporations/businesses. AACSB clearly expects schools to prepare their graduates for work in the global economy and to seek appropriate input and counsel from various stakeholders to include employers, alumni, students, and faculty; however, we grant significant latitude on how this is accomplished.”

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