Why a top job and salary are just another perk of a top-ranked master’s program

Every business school has a Career Development Center. For some, this means helping students write their CVs and practice for interviews. For others, this means connecting students with potential employers. For the Strategy and International Management Program (SIM) Careers Team at the University of St.Gallen, it means this and so much more. For the last 13 years, the SIM program at St.Gallen has been ranked the #1 Master in Management (MIM) program in the world by the Financial Times. Linda Lorz, Career Coach and Careers Manager for the St.Gallen SIM, explained to MASTERGRADSCHOOLS how helping students on their employability is a journey, not a destination.

In short

The journey of employability with the SIM Careers Team at the University of St.Gallen

Linda is quick to point out a misconception, namely that a Career Center is just a means to an end (i.e. it’s all about finding a job). While presenting students with employment opportunities is part of their services at the University of St.Gallen, she stresses the importance of ensuring that students grow during their program journey.

The purpose of SIM careers is really to enable the students to grow and ultimately to make more informed decisions based on being challenged on their long-term career goals,” she explains. (09:13) They try to understand the “compass” of the students by discussing their values, dreams, and interests to establish the drivers of their lives. 

It might sound counter-intuitive, but Linda stresses that the SIM Careers Team “focus less on the career start.” (09:43) They wish to take the pressure of landing that perfect first job off of students. However, what is more important is “why they choose a certain job and what happens after that.” (09:54)

The SIM Careers Team has several activities in place to support SIM students during this journey. These activities help students to reflect, gain the skills they need, and ultimately land those jobs they want. Linda mentions how the SIM team works closely with the Career Services Center at the greater University of St.Gallen. 

“They offer fantastic recruiting events. There are many many chances to visit companies on campus, everything from consulting days to banking days to industry days,” she points out. (10:52) The annual “HSG TALENTS Conference,” the biggest recruiting fair in the field of business in Switzerland, that is attended by more than 100 companies, is also open to SIM students.  

It’s not (only) about the salary

According to the Financial Times Master’s in Management ranking, SIM graduates, depending on the industries and locations they choose to go to, earn on average USD$124,000 per year upon leaving the program. This is an impressive number but Linda is adamant that “the more relevant thing for applicants to focus on is the fact that the SIM does have very good opportunities…to meet different companies.” (08:32) At the end of the program, students tend to have a few offers to choose from. This means, regardless of the salaries, they can really embark on the career journey that suits them best.

This comes back to the importance the SIM Careers Team places on their students’ growth and that they are challenged on their goals and supported in achieving them. They need to “understand their long-term direction and then make informed decisions for their short-term actions,” Linda explains. (03:18)

Linda stresses the importance to ensure that applicants really know what the program they are enrolling in is about. “Speak to some older SIMmies or some older alumni from other schools to understand really the essence of it,” she advises. (12:16) This will ensure that the huge investment – financially, but also in terms of time and energy – produces the desired return. 

Finding your purpose post-SIM

It also ensures that there is a fit between the student and the program. At SIM it is important that they know SIM is the right choice. “SIM is not something to put on your CV. It’s not something to do to get the job in Switzerland or to get the high salary,” Linda explains. (12:34) They focus a lot on helping students find their purpose to make a difference in the world, which attracts a certain type of student. “All of our SIMmies have in one way or the other a certain drive to change something in the world and change it for the better,” she proudly states. (13:04)

Judging by the work that the team does, they are also changing the world by enabling their students to pursue their purpose.

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