RSM Career Development Centre’s Activities

It’s June now, which means here at the RSM Career Development Centre we are finishing up helping the MBA’12 class with their salary negotiations while at the same time setting up company events for the summer and fall. We’ve been to visit Philips Healthcare recently – next week we’re going to Microsoft! And the big news of the moment is that Amazon is expanding in Europe – and hiring a lot of MBAs! Given the tough economic scene right now, it’s great when a company is expanding. But with Amazon, it’s twice as good, because for jobs in their European HQ (Luxembourg), you don’t need to speak anything other than English. And you don’t need a permit to work! Same thing in the UK. But they’re also hiring in Southern Europe and Germany and for the students who speak those languages, it’s great that Amazon’s MBA hiring program doesn’t require previous relevant industry or functional experience, or even a work permit there (they arrange it for you!), just the right ‘Amazon’ competencies – the particular ‘ways of working’ which work best for a particular company.

So we’re also beginning the process of getting our students used to how ‘competencies’ fit into MBA recruitment and how candidates can show off their competencies in applications and interviews. Competencies are often related to the core business of a company, as well as to the company’s main values (or mission), so for Amazon, that means ‘operational’ competencies are key. Even though Amazon is a major online presence, most of their core activities can be found in the logistics of their operations. So they’re looking for people who can think strategically but who can also roll up their sleeves and use their people-management skills to implement new plans quickly and without a lot of muss or fuss. And their CEO (and founder’s) main philosophy is to think in terms of the customer, so even employees who will never interface with an Amazon customer have to show that they will do everything they do at Amazon with the customer in mind. Can you tell me about a time when have you gone the extra mile in your work to make sure a customer was satisfied? That’s a question you might hear in an interview with Amazon. Amazon, like a lot of multinational corporations (Shell and J & J, for example) uses behavioural interview questions to determine if a candidate has the right competencies to fit in and work well in their organisation. Behavioural questions ask you to tell about a time when you did something in your work. With a hypothetical question –  “how would you?” – it’s easy to paint a picture of yourself at your best. When you are telling a story about a time you achieved something in your work history, it’s more difficult to make stuff up. So in a behavioural interview, an interviewer is trying to find out how you did what you did that achieved such a good result. In the world of behavioural interviews, “Past behaviour predicts future performance.”


Of course, as MBAers, our candidates want to be able to show off their competencies and skills and experience and all the management insight they’ve built up during the program to prospective employers. That’s where we at CDC come into play. Our current batch is beginning to apply for roles already! This may seem like a long time in advance, but management-level hiring is a more complicated animal than the more skills-based hiring that goes on right after University. Sometimes, the hiring process – from application to signed offer – can take six months and as many as five interviews and an assessment day. That’s a lot, and it can be a trying process to go through. It’s already seems like a chore to write a cv and a cover letter especially geared to a specific job at a specific employer in a specific culture which may not be your own (we’ve already given training in cv’s and cover letters to the current class). But when you are lucky enough to get the interview, you’ve got to know which kind of interview to expect and who it will be with and how to prepare. Is it a behavioural interview with a recruiter or a more typical skills-based interview with a line manager? Is it a panel interview with people who would be your colleagues, or even trickier, people you would manage, or an ‘informal dinner’ with Senior Directors from all over Europe? Will there be a quantitative assessment or a case study involved? Right now, we’re not only gearing up for more company activity in the coming months, we’re beginning the process of the intense, customised assistance to our MBA candidates to help them make the most of their job search – we’re helping them identify the roles and companies where they would be most fulfilled, we’re bringing them in touch with alumni and contacts at those companies, and we’re going over their applications to make sure they look their best and conducting mock interviews so our students head into their recruitment as prepared as they can possibly be.

Can we tell you about a time when we have gone the extra mile to make sure our ‘customers’ were satisfied? We sure can…..


By Dory

MBA and MFM Corporate Recruitment Manager/Coach

RSM Career Development Centre’s Activities

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