Eyes on the prize

Career Focus Tool

What do I want? What are my strengths? What about my network? To facilitate career self-management, the Centre for Excellence in Career Management has developed the Career Focus Tool. A series of questionnaires and exercises guide students to answer these questions.

In the first part, they reflect on what is important to them and what career moves they would like to make. The second part helps them identify their skills and expertise as well as areas for improvement. The third and final part invites them to map their personal and professional network and analyse how it can help advance their careers. For Master’s students, this tool is the basis for a two-day career seminar. Full-time MBA students use it during a one-day career coaching session.

“The Career Seminar lets you practise the application process” [Katrien Ingelbeen, currently studying for a Master’s in General Management | Has an MA in Linguistics and Literature (French, Italian) from Ghent University | Has completed the Teacher Training Programme at Ghent University | Works as a French & Italian teacher]

“I’ve chosen General Management in order to keep as many options open as possible. After the seminar, having completed the Career Focus Tool questionnaires, we had to write a reflection paper. This was the best part of the exercise, as it made you truly aware of your values and ambitions. I’m someone who thinks a lot about values and goals in life. So, in a way, it confirmed what I already knew, but it has helped to structure things. I have a much clearer idea of what I want to achieve.

“The workshop on CV and cover letter writing provided valuable tips to make you stand out. My CV is now much more concise and effective. I particularly enjoyed the mock interviews with real recruiters. This session completely turned around my perception of job interviews. As a result, I wasn’t nervous at all in my first interview a couple of weeks later. I had learned to think of it as a conversation, not a sales pitch or an exam. We also completed several assessment tests, which were evaluated by Hudson.

“To sum up: the Career Seminar lets you practice the application process, and that’s what I really liked about it.”

Katrien has put this practice to good use: with several job applications on the go, she has already received one firm offer.

“It’s a strategic exercise” [Fabio Zagami, full-time MBA student | Has an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Turin | Has held various positions in the aviation and aerospace industry | Looking to move into the consumer goods or energy sector]

“A one-year MBA is not only a sound investment for the future but a great opportunity to reflect on your career so far. From this point of view, the coaching session and the Career Focus Tool provide a framework for analysing your past working experience in a more structured way: in my specific case, they were extremely useful in helping me to rediscover my strengths and weaknesses as well as to define a plan for improvement.

“I now have a much clearer vision of what I want to achieve, and this has been beneficial in enabling me to narrow my job search and concentrate my efforts on specific roles and industries that fit my profile. I’m actually a very social person who needs interaction with other people, preferably in a multicultural setting, so a solitary office job wouldn’t attract me. I have strong analytical and troubleshooting skills as well, and although I’m passionate about the aviation sector, I’d like to move into other areas. This means that I have to rely on my transferable skills. This is where the coaching session really comes in handy: it teaches you how to emphasise your skills during interviews and how to make the most of them in the working environment, thus raising your self-awareness, which is key for a more conscious job selection. To sum up, it encourages you to define a long-term path instead of simply focusing on the next career move.”


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