Placement: Whose job is it anyway?

There is a saying that, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, it takes a “village” to secure a placement too, and even then, a placement is not guaranteed.

Ultimately, the actual placement lies in the hands of the recruit and the company offering the job; however, there is much that needs to be done by various stakeholders to secure an opportunity for placement.

Everyone involved must recognize that placement is not an event. Placement is a process, often coordinated by the educational institution – in our case, a B-school. As with any process, the quality of the outputs depends upon the quality of the inputs and the process itself.

The placement process begins with the recruitment of students to our educational programs. When B-schools recruit for placement, we look for students who have had a variety of experiences – academic, volunteer and business, and good communication skills, as well as good academic skills.

Emphasis on subject matter is the primary focus of an educational institution, and this is certainly true at MYRA School of Business where our students, outstanding international faculty and successful business persons collaborate to co-create a research-based, experiential learning environment.

Throughout the educational process we provide opportunities for students to build relationships with our corporate partners, NGO’s and government agencies through projects, guest speaking engagements, internships, and other networking events. Opportunities for community service and opportunities to create and lead are also needed so the students can practice the soft skills that are demanded by recruiters.

Realistic expectations on the part of the student and on the part of the recruiter can be developed through Career Fairs where working professionals (not just recruiters) can explain workplace cultures and conditions and job expectations, and can interact with the students who may one day be interviewing for jobs.

To help students obtain and prepare for interviews, the educational institution often provides “Coaching” in résumé writing, cover letter writing, interviewing techniques, company research and forming questions. In addition, a student profile book or résumé book with student vision/mission, skills and background may be provided to recruiters.

With luck (good economic conditions, e.g.), the results of this collaborative preparation will be one or more interviews and one or more offers for employment.

If the learning is good, earning (i.e., placement) is more likely to happen, even if the economic scenario is not so good. However, even with preparation and luck, actual placement will depend upon the personalities involved and an alignment of personal values with the values and culture of the organization.

The bottom line, don’t expect an “arranged” placement.

Dr. William A. Verdini
Associate Dean and Director of External Relations
MYRA School of Business
Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University
W. P. Carey School of Business, Supply Chain Management