From Wharton Admissions to Career Services, Cutler Does It All

Last week, we alerted you to big changes taking place at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, with the merging of business school admissions and career placement departments under one person, J.J. Cutler.

An interview with Cutler published yesterday in The Chronicle of Higher Education explores the implications of this bold move–a first in the school’s 129-year history and a first among MBA programs. Below are edited excerpts from the Q & A, conducted by Katherine Mangan.

Q. Why merge the roles of admissions and career services?

A. In admissions you not only build a relationship with the students, you see trends in terms of the applicants and their interests. But the typical model in admissions is that you turn the class over to student services or the office of student life, and then you start recruiting for the following year. [This] way we get an early read on our students and can start to better build services for them in career management, even before they get here.

Q. How does this affect your relationship with recruiters?

A. In admissions you work with a lot of employers who want to send their employees to M.B.A. programs. We get to not only talk to employers about the class that’s coming and the skills they’re looking for, but also to get their feedback on how our graduates and interns are doing.

Q. How has the sluggish economy affected the career choices of your students, many of whom, historically, have pursued jobs in the financial sector?

A. Financial services is still a very strong industry for us, and this year is certainly going to be better than last year. But we as a school have used this as an opportunity to broaden our relationships with employers in new industries like energy and clean tech, … all kinds of industries that may not have been quote, unquote, traditional or typical, but are on the radar screen now.

Q. What changes are you seeing in the MBA application pool?

A. One of the exciting challenges about this generation is that they’re more accomplished much earlier in life. They apply earlier in their careers. They want to pursue dual and joint degrees like a JD/MBA and take language classes and get involved in all the clubs and learn about all the regions of the world. Their dreams and aspirations are much bigger and broader, and they see business schools as a platform to help them get to those dreams.

(photo credit: The Chronicle)

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