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College of Business teams with Randstad RiseSmart to offer career services and coaching for graduate students

Published: December 6, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University College of Business is teaming with Randstad RiseSmart to offer career guidance to graduate students in the final semesters of their programs.

The collaboration, believed to be the first of its kind between a higher education institution and a company like RiseSmart, which provides coaching and tools to employees who are undergoing career changes and transitions due to choice or employer restructuring. Graduate students are often in a career transition of a different sort as they expand their academic knowledge. In fact, a desire to improve lifetime career opportunities is the top reason cited by entering students for pursuing graduate education within OHIO’s programs.

“Our graduate students come to us for additional education, often while already well into careers in their chosen fields,” College of Business Dean Jackie Rees Ulmer said. “While we are not only committed to getting them the academic knowledge they need, we also provide meaningful career support for a diverse range of students, and RiseSmart is in a unique position to help with that.”

The collaboration with RiseSmart gives students four-month access to a Career Acceleration Team (CAT), including an individual career coach, a branding expert, and a career concierge. It also includes lifetime annual career coaching sessions and access to RiseSmart’s Spotlight technology platform, which offers job search resources, job opportunities, personal assessments, and webinars.

The program piloted last year and drew positive responses from students. A full launch took place in October 2021 for professional and online program students and in November for residential program students. Tools and resources are available online 24/7, while coaching takes place via video or phone, providing students with convenient anytime, anywhere access to their coaches and job-search resources.

While college graduates are back in demand with employers after a difficult 2020 that witnessed pandemic-related job losses and a retraction in internships, the job market can still be challenging for someone just starting in a career.

“A career will inevitably take a lot of turns over the course of one’s life, but many look back on that first stop out of school as one of the most pivotal points in setting the right course,” said Dan Davenport, CEO of Randstad RiseSmart. “That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with Ohio University to provide coaching and job search resources to graduate business students to help them translate their education and hard work into careers that are personally satisfying and financially rewarding.”

Student Anna Arhin, who expects to receive her Professional MBA with a concentration in business analytics in December, had a chance to work with RiseSmart as part of the pilot program. When she first started pursuing her degree, she had her eye on a promotion.

“Part of the reason I was enrolling in the MBA was to transition to (being) a data scientist,” Arhin said. While doing her course work, she also had a chance to meet with representatives from RiseSmart.

“For me, it was the resume writing and professional development side,” Arhin said. “We went through the resume writing and they helped out with making sure formatting looked good and making suggestions.”

Arhin did get the career transition, but rather than a promotion, she landed a role as a senior data analyst at another company. She said working with the RiseSmart coach was helpful. “I really did enjoy working with RiseSmart,” she said.

Several students have commented about the value of the coaching they received. One-to-one coaching with a dedicated coach delivers personalized services to address each individual’s unique combination of needs and challenges. By partnering with Ohio University to provide both coaching and access to extensive job resources, RiseSmart is working to make a substantive difference in preparing students for roles. Career coaches can help new degree holders overcome challenges that are psychological, strategic and tactical, such as overcoming stress and building confidence, deciding the type of roles that are best suited to their interests and skill sets, knowing how to write a professional value proposition, customizing a resume, practicing the art of effective interviewing and understanding how to negotiate salary.           

A recent study by LinkedIn found that 35% of entry-level job opportunities required three or more years of prior relevant work experience. Even in a hiring atmosphere that now favors job seekers, and especially MBAs, job searching can still be complex, especially for students trying to land their first role or for professionals who have returned to earn a degree and are making a career transition. Maximizing income-earning potential and job satisfaction at the beginning of a career are extremely important.

“RiseSmart is an industry leader in coaching and career transitions and is capable of delivering a premium level of support to students, regardless of their location, level of experience and goals,” said Kari Lehman, assistant dean for graduate and professional programs in the College of Business. “This collaboration gives us a competitive advantage over similar graduate programs and shows that Ohio University is the place for students to come to launch or relaunch their careers.”