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Ohio University Adds Career Coaching for Business Graduate Students

The Ohio University College of Business has partnered with Randstad RiseSmart to offer career guidance to graduate students in the final semesters of their programs. The collaboration is 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, whether by choice or employer restructuring.

Graduate students often cite a desire to improve lifetime career opportunities as a top reason for pursuing graduate education within OHIO's programs, the university explained in a news release.

"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 months of access to a Career Acceleration Team, 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, the university said. 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; coaching takes place via video or phone, providing students with convenient, anytime-anywhere access to their coaches and job-search resources.

Ohio student Anna Arhin, who is scheduled to earn her Professional MBA with a concentration in business analytics later this month, described her participation in the pilot program as helpful for her career-growth aspirations. When she first started graduate school, she had her eye on a promotion and a change in job focus, Arhin said.

"Part of the reason I was enrolling in the MBA was to transition to (being) a data scientist," she explained. Meeting with representatives from RiseSmart through the pilot program helped her fine-tune her methods for achieving her career goals.

"For me, it was the résumé writing and professional development side" that made the biggest immediate impact, Arhin said. "We went through the résumé 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. "I really did enjoy working with RiseSmart," she said.

Several students have said the coaching they received from RiseSmart was valuable, according to the university news release. One-to-one coaching delivers personalized services to address each individual's unique combination of needs and challenges.

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 résumé, practicing the art of effective interviewing and understanding how to negotiate salary.

"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."

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].

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