The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Careers » Career Services Director Q&A » Career Management Director Q&A: Stacey Rudnick of UT’s McCombs School of Business » Page 4

Career Management Director Q&A: Stacey Rudnick of UT’s McCombs School of Business

Image for Career Management Director Q&A: Stacey Rudnick of UT’s McCombs School of Business

CA: What keeps you up at night?

SR: The economy. We try so hard to be ahead of fluctuations in industry, function and sector because we want to meet the changing needs of our students. The thing that keeps me up at night is wanting to continue to innovate and be out ahead of trends or at least on trend—because it is not just the economic changes but also the changes of the profiles of the student. We as schools have a responsibility to help our employers move with that change.

One of my changes in viewpoint has been to move more toward thinking about how we can help our employers do a better job of marketing to an ever-changing group of students. What resonates with this class? How does this class want to be communicated with? Businesses have now operated for a couple of decades on email—but today’s is a generation that is on social media and prefers to take their information that way or via text. They prefer communication methods that are not archived, that don’t stay forever. “I see it, I absorb it, I react to it and it moves away.” That is their mindset. So businesses need to be thinking about how to communicate effectively with a large group of individuals who want highly customized messaging.

CA: What do you love most about your job?

SR: I still love most the fact that this is a very high-class counseling job where I get to work individually with scary smart students at this remarkable place in their lives where they have enough work experience to know what they like and don’t like, but there is some space between those. Some come in knowing exactly what they want to do, but a lot are exploring. To encounter students in this space where they are so open to the ideas and possibilities of what could be is amazing. Add to that the fact that we get to meet them at a point in their lives where they are enhancing their skill sets, improving their communication and investing in themselves. It is an interesting and fun and creative conversation to have, and I am endlessly fascinated by the diverse individuals I get to work with.

CA: In your experience, do you find that students who have done x, y or z before arriving on campus have a more successful experience with career services and the job search as a whole?

SR: I have three main recommendations. First, most people let their employers know pretty far in advance that they are going to be leaving and heading to business school. What a perfect opportunity this presents to start talking to people at your current company about your future goals. Go to your company’s marketing department and explain that you are headed off to business school and really interested in a career in marketing. Utilize the resources at your disposal to learn as much as you can about your future career path.

Second, I always tell them to read the business press. When you start an MBA program, you are going to go from reading a lot of email, which is very short, to reading long cases for class. Reading the business press will help you get your business vocabulary back up if it is not already sharp and will be important in preparing you to digest huge amounts of information in a really short period of time.

Third, consider the impact of your GMAT in your career search. It is still a screening tool for recruiters, beyond its use for getting into business school, especially in consulting and investment banking. Depending on the industry you are targeting, it might be worth taking the exam again to get a higher score. It’s not all about the GMAT, but it does make a difference.

I also tell prospective applicants that the first semester of any MBA program is very academically rigorous, particularly for students who are coming in that may not have a strong math, accounting or statistics background. If you are coming from a liberal arts educational background there is a lot that can be hard to digest, so anything you can do to better prepare yourself before you hit the first semester is a good idea.

Beyond that, take a break before you go to school if at all possible. Give yourself some time to recharge, to get acclimated to the city before orientation or just to relax, because things are going to get very intense very quickly.