Career Services Key When Comparing MBA Programs in Virginia

Choosing an MBA program is a difficult task—there are a lot of factors to consider. One of the most important factors is something that is often only used at the end of a program: career services. Checking into career services of each of the MBA programs you are considering is very important and can have a major impact on your post-graduation plans.

According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, the average American, ages 25-54 (with children) worked 8.8 hours per day. If you consider that most individuals will work 5 days a week for 50 weeks a year (2 weeks of vacation) that will equal about 2,200 hours per year. Now most individuals will work at least about 40 years before retirement (ages 25-65)—that’s a whopping 88,000 hours in a lifetime (not including extra hours, overtime, additional work years, etc.). To say the least, that is a lot of time to spend working.

So what’s the best way to make sure you enjoy your working time rather than dread it? The key is to find something you love and do that, but the trick is that you must also give yourself the tools you need to succeed in your career.

Each of the ranked MBA programs in Virginia (part-time) has a unique industry network and offers a range of career services to help place you in the career you are looking for. The top ranked MBA programs in Virginia (part-time) according to U.S. News & World Report are:

  • George Mason University School of Management
  • Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech
  • Robins School of Business at University of Richmond
  • Mason School of Business at College of William & Mary
  • Virginia Commonwealth University

Here’s a short break down of the career services for each of the top part-time ranked MBA Programs in Virginia.*

George Mason University School of Management
At George Mason, we are hard at work building doors of opportunity for our students to walk through. George Mason University’s career services department has deep connections in the greater Washington, D.C. region with a wide network of global companies, regional startups, government agencies, government contractors, and technology giants. Our career consultants connect students with a diverse group of employers such as AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, the CIA, Northrop Grumman, Capital One, and Microsoft. These connections ensure you have an opportunity to network and interact frequently with potential employers.

Our dedicated career consultants take an active role in your professional advancement, providing tailored consultations to help you develop a road map to meet your professional development goals. The George Mason MBA program provides individual services such as mock interviews and résumé evaluations, hosts recruiters for employment and networking opportunities, and provides numerous online resources to help you take advantage of your degree once you graduate. All School of Management alumni retain access to our career services staff that can assist you throughout your professional career. Our network of more than 25,000 business alumni span the globe and include Fortune 500 CFOs, nonprofit executives, government leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Average base salary: $89,434
Full-time graduate employed at graduation: 66.6%

Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech

The Virginia Tech MBA Career Experience emphasizes a holistic, proactive, integrated marketing approach to the career search. A unique organizational structure offers MBA students synergy between academic and career advising. Rather than shuttling between a career services advisor in one office and an academic advisor in another, these functions have been merged such that students may establish and maintain a relationship with one advisor who is adept in both advising arenas.

Students have the assistance of the MBA Program’s career and job search advising office, in addition to the university’s Career Services office. Through this customizable approach to internship and job searching, they help students identify and capitalize on their distinctive gifts to determine how their career objectives fit their personal and professional priorities. Pamplin College of Business students can also check out the university’s Career Center, which hosts on-campus interviewing and helps with cover letters, negotiating salaries, and networking, among other things.

Average base salary: $67,392
Full-time graduate employed at graduation: 52.6%

Robins School of Business at University of Richmond
Students at the Robins School of Business have access to the MBA Career Management series which consists of a series of workshops that focus on practical tips and techniques for managing your career. Past topics have included: Communications Strategy; Resume Essentials; Know Your Reputation; Effective Networking; Networking with Social Media; Interviewing & Negotiating; and Creating Effective Team Meetings.
Students at Robins join a student body with experience at firms including Altria, Bon Secours, Capital One, Dominion, DuPont, The Federal Reserve Bank, Genworth Financial, Honeywell, Markel, The Martin Agency, MeadWestvaco, and Timmons Group. Upon graduation, students join a loyal alumni network of presidents, vice presidents and leading executives at major corporations and entrepreneurial ventures in Richmond, VA and around the world.

Average base salary: n/a
Full-time graduate employed at graduation: n/a

Mason School of Business at College of William & Mary

For post-graduation plans, MBA students can check out CareerPREP, which helps students find employment and, each academic year, provides them with a $300 stipend for job search-related activities. Through CareerPREP, the school partners with students on their schedule, offering a system of resources and tools specifically designed to facilitate the career development process and help students advance in the workplace or to transition into a new field.

Throughout each student’s time in the program and as alumni, they will have access to: one-on-one career coaching, career workshops and events, and a personal branding toolkit. Graduate students earning an accounting degree can explore the Cohen Career Center, which hosts on-campus recruitment events, as well as career workshops.

Average base salary: $75,674
Full-time graduate employed at graduation: 56.9%

Virginia Commonwealth University

At Virginia Commonwealth, Career Services is dedicated to assisting business students in defining and attaining career goals. By recognizing the need for differentiation in today’s competitive job market and providing tools to help students develop and showcase their skills and experience, Career Services provides a valuable service, for life.  Richmond also offers a prosperous commercial environment for many small businesses and was ranked by Entrepreneur magazine as the No. 1 mid-sized city in the US for small businesses.

Average base salary: n/a
Full-time graduate employed at graduation: n/a

The great American actor Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” One way to build your own door is to pursue your MBA. The new skills you will gain will assist you in your success. And when choosing from MBA programs in Virginia (or anywhere), it is vital that you consider the career services that the program offers. Getting the skills is the first step, but then having the assistance to find the right job to use these skills may even be more important.
Although it is up to you to open your doors, the help of career services will make all the difference upon graduation and throughout your career. Be sure to utilize all services available to you to maximize your success!

*Data obtained from U.S. News & World Report and individual university websites.

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Jackie Buchy

Since 2011, I have served as the assistant dean for graduate enrollment at George Mason University's School of Business. In my role, I work with prospective graduate students to identify and select the best graduate program to meet their career goals.

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