Comprehensive career services and events from day 1 of study
Networking with a capital N is ingrained in every part of the WU Executive Academy, exponentially increasing students’ and alumni’s opportunities in the focus areas of career, content, and community by providing new learning experiences, substantial personal development, and unprecedented career opportunities. Barbara Stöttinger, Dean of the WU Executive Academy, and Mae Leyrer, President of its International Advisory Board, present the wide selection of career services and topics as well as the different events that are available to all MBA and Master of Laws students from day one of their studies.
Students at the WU Executive Academy have access to at least 4,500 mentors from more than 90 countries: that’s the number of executives, managers, and high potentials forming the global network of the WU Executive Club. WU’s business school not only offers MBA and leadership programs that have been awarded the coveted international triple accreditation, its hand-picked community of graduates is an enormous and priceless additional perk: “We are proud of our alumni community, which includes top managers in countries around the world,” says Barbara Stöttinger, Dean of the WU Executive Academy. “For many of our students, this network tipped the scales in favor of one of our programs. This is why it is important to us to connect them to this network in the best possible way so that they can reap its benefits for a long time to come.” The enormous value of this network of students and alumni can be felt from the first day of classes at the WU Executive Academy, and it extends far beyond graduation: many participants continue to benefit from contacts made during their studies as well as the network’s targeted career services long after they have completed the program.
From when they first enroll at the WU Executive Academy, students are guided and supported in their career development. “Our network of more than 4,500 alumni all over the world plays a major part in this,” says Mae Leyrer, a graduate of the Global Executive MBA who serves as the President of the WU Executive Academy’s International Advisory Board (IAB) today. The transformation expert benefited from the friendships she formed during her studies herself; as the IAB President, she now seeks to help current students form meaningful connections.
We want to make sure that graduates stay in touch, both with us and the network, so that they benefit in a sustainable way.
Female executives find support in the WU Executive Academy’s Female Leaders Network, where they can discuss and receive advice on career-related topics and participate in regularly held networking events featuring eminent business women as keynote speakers. Coaching and teaming up with mentors as part of the Career Accelerator Program helps students start building a successful career early on. The triple accreditation, among them the AMBA quality seal, also means that the WU Executive Academy can offer the AMBA Toolkit and its valuable digital tools to its students, giving them an extra boost towards the goals to which they aspire.
“The 360 Degree CV Feedback or the Elevator Pitch Builder, for example, are very useful tools to position yourself as a high-potential or executive also on very competitive job markets,” Barbara Stöttinger explains. Thanks to the expertise provided by the numerous mentors and Career Partners of the WU Executive Club, students gain a wealth of practical insights and in-depth knowledge, giving them a competitive edge on the labor market. They can, for instance, attend workshops on salary negotiations, developing one’s personal brand, or the career opportunities and potential of interim management. Such events do far more than just convey knowledge.
Students get to know our many Career Partners personally, which can be a great asset in planning your career.
The “Making it in Austria” initiative, a digital platform comprised of experts, mentors, and alumni, offers extensive support through career services and individual coaching to students and graduates wishing to start a career in Austria.
The “Virtual Career Days,” during which students get a chance to learn more about the Career Partners and build a valuable network through speed dating, have been particularly popular throughout the pandemic.
A central perk of the network is the opportunity to learn from other professionals enrolled at the WU Executive Academy. “Many students not only find valuable work contacts but also make friends and keep helping each other throughout their careers, introducing each other to further contacts, and also answering industry- or market-specific questions. This is made possible by our WU EA Connect digital social network, which allows graduates to extend their list of contacts by connecting to the contacts of their peers. They can also easily stay in touch despite being far apart geographically,” May Leyrer explains, adding: “Particularly when you are trying to access new markets or are relocating for work, personal contacts who know the ins and outs of the place are truly priceless.” The concept of learning in peer groups, i.e., learning from each other, is also embedded in the MBA curricula. As students collaborate in projects spanning several days to months, they also learn a lot about each other’s work and cooperation styles as they discuss a business case or an entire project. Students are grouped together in project teams with an eye on diversity to maximize potential learning effects: “Program participants hail from all over the world and collaborate online,” Barbara Stöttinger explains. “This not only makes for good teamwork but also enables students to acquire skills related to virtual collaboration and communication.”
There are few things that top learning from experience and insights into realities that are not one’s own. In the MBA programs, international residencies make sure that students acquire an international perspective. These stays abroad are organized in cooperation with partner universities and companies located, among others, in the USA, Asia, and South-America. Students get to know foreign cultures, countries, markets, and industries. While the pandemic has, unfortunately, put a halt to actual travel, the international exchange was still realized through virtual events, for instance the GEMBA Virtual Global Week. The alumni groups have also grown even more international in the course of the pandemic: hubs and local alumni clubs were formed in various countries, among them Romania, Bulgaria, several Balkan states, and Russia, and virtual events have been organized with great success: “Graduates have responded to these new offers with enthusiasm as they have been able to reconnect and engage more actively with former classmates in these virtual events,” Mae Leyrer reports. The vivid exchange with others and the focus on current or industry-specific business topics at such happenings give rise to new insights: “This kind of understanding helps you see potential professional opportunities a change of industry might bring,” Mae Leyrer says.
“We will continue our efforts to further extend our portfolio of career services and topics as well as (online) events for students and alumni, because when it comes to a career boost, nothing is as effective as a strong network,” Barbara Stöttinger concludes.
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