Innovator Article

Connections Count
How Career Development can help recent grads land great jobs

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by Marianne Skoczek

When a promised position with a major investment firm fell victim to the recession and was rescinded just after Daniel Hwang graduated in June, the new Full-Time MBA graduate turned to the School’s Career Development team.

Led by newly appointed Senior Director of Career Development Christine Dito, they helped Hwang land a plum position with GAP. Dito, the former manager of career recruiting programs at UC Davis, drew on her deep knowledge of career development, her extensive employer network—and the energy and tenacity required to help the School’s students find work experiences that match their long-term career goals.

“Chris provided a lot of advice about job-search strategy,” says Hwang. “She coached and conducted multiple practice interviews with me, and connected me with people at firms I was interested in—invaluable assistance in today’s ultra-competitive job market.”

Today, as a staff analyst in GAP’s Field Finance Department, Hwang helps manage and allocate payroll labor hours across GAP North America’s store fleet. “I help to ensure that stores have enough employees to provide a quality environment for customers, and that we hit our financial targets,” he explains.

“UC Davis MBAs are highly motivated, eager and hungry for opportunities,” says Dito, who applies her decade-long background in employer relations to bring students’ resumes before recruiters. “Often, just making sure their resume gets to the correct hiring manager is the helpful piece of the puzzle.” 

Developing relationships is key. In October, Dito accompanied more than 50 Daytime and Working Professional MBA students—along with Dean Steven Currall and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs James Stevens—to the National Society of Hispanic MBAs conference in Anaheim. University of California business schools were a lead sponsor of the annual event, which hosts recruiters from hundreds of top-tier companies.

Taking Dito’s advice to heart, the students networked with recruiters for firms both local and from across the country. Many secured interviews for internship or career positions in fields including finance, consumer products, sustainability, food and beverages, IT and health care.

The effort has already paid off richly for MBA student Laurie Grimsmann, who will begin her finance career at Intel Corp. upon graduation in June.

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