So I have an MBA, now what? Maxine Clarke, Director of Careers & Strategic Initiatives, leads a team that helps MBA students navigate their career journey.
Ashton Paulitsch (AP): How does the Career Management team impact the MBA student experience?
Maxine Clarke (MC): Our team helps students develop the skills, networks, confidence and knowledge to own their career in the way that is most fulfilling to their unique dreams and life situation.
AP: How long have you worked for the Masters Programs Office and what was your background prior to joining the University of Alberta?
MC: I’ve been with the Masters Programs Office for four years. Previously, I worked for ten years in talent management, in consulting firms and leadership roles within a large utility organization.
AP: What’s the best part about your job?
MC: The best part about my job is supporting people in reaching their full potential. There are moments where students come to our team and don’t believe they have it in them to do something. When we work with them to put together a plan that helps them get the job they wanted or overcome a fear, it is very rewarding.
AP: What advice do you have for students coming into the MBA program?
MC: Be focused but be flexible. Trust the process and save space for new things to emerge.
AP: What are some of your favourite interview questions to ask candidates?
MC: “Tell me about yourself,” or “Take me through your career highlights and career disappointments.” They offer insight into lens through which the candidate views the world and their own story.
AP: What is the greatest area of opportunity for MBA programs?
MC: I think an area of opportunity is providing better soft skills development to students through practice, reflection, and feedback.
AP: What are some interview tips?
MC: Prepare around the job, company, and your own experience, and be the polished up, best version of yourself.
AP: How can students make the most of the MBA Career Management Centre during their time in the MBA program?
MC: We encourage students to make time to see and get to know the MBA Career Management team throughout their MBA journey. Check in with us often in order to stay ahead of, be ready to step up to, and be on our radar for any opportunities that may arise.
AP: What would you say to students who are worried about graduating into a tough economy?
MC: Top talent is always mobile. If you work hard, have clarity on what you have to offer and who might benefit from it, and are flexible, there will be opportunities for you.
AP: What are some trends you’re seeing from employers in terms of talent management?
MC: I’m seeing a push towards employers building from within. They’re building leadership development and other training programs to help great people continue to grow within the organization. I’ve also noticed employers creating more opportunities for people with strong critical thinking and problem solving skills.
AP: Now for our final question…what do you eat for breakfast?
MC: Egg and cheese on a croissant that I eat as a sandwich.
Interview conducted by Ashton Paulitsch