An article published by the King’s College of London “Why Overseas Experience is Important” states the reasons why overseas experience can make a difference in your future career- this type of assignments helps you gain a competitive advantage among your peers such as gaining a new perspective, learning a new language, bringing out your adventurous side, taking on a global mind-set and creating a new network from across the globe, among others.
The Forbes article “Can HR Strategies Create a Competitive Advantage for Your Company?” by Scholley Bubenik echoes the chatter from human resources and other functional leaders that YES “maximizing your human capital is a major contributor to achieving a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Be-Edge crafters like myself need a framework to uncover their core and competitive advantage. Dr. Ivy Be-Edge tool and methodology helped guide my experience of recognizing my personal, social, and professional capital through consulting projects. I was able to answer my own question of how I can be an HR leader for my organization.
Studies have shown that graduate school applications rise in periods of an economic downturn, and that trend has continued with the Covid pandemic. More specifically, business school in the United States saw double-digit percentage application increases in the fall of 2020, and the top M.B.A. programs managed to reverse “several years of declining demand, according to the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council, which tracks hundreds of M.B.A. programs.” (WSJ) In addition to this, “five of the seven M7 schools had record years for applications, bringing the group’s total to just under 48,000, a 14.5% jump from the previous year (2018-2019) and 3.3% higher than 2016-2017.” (M.B.A Watch)
The team of MBA students volunteered with the “Making Your Case” project to assist a Director of Admissions and Marketing for The Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership (GIEL) program in a strategic challenge of expanding the outreach of the GIEL program to increase total student enrollment to 50 admitted students.
This research topic explores marketing and academic programs offering challenges that higher education organizations face in the highly saturated Boston market. This research was done on behalf of The Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership at Northeastern University to improve marketing positioning and optimize advertising to a strategic target market. This investigation includes that higher education organizations must leverage unique core competencies to carve out a unique position in the market to maximize their value proposition when marketing to prospective students.
By Juan Dib
As my college career comes to an end after five years, I reflect on how learning what you don’t like guides you to know your real passions and what you like. After living in 4 different cities, working in 4 different industries, and having mixed experiences, I can finally say that I know what I want to do in my professional career. A recent study released by Allaboutcareers.com, a leading careers exploration website, revealed that 44% of undergraduates are unable to define the industry that they would like to work in once they graduate. That’s why I wanted to share my story and suggest some actions that can help to find real passions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has never attempted to estimate how often people change careers along their working lives due to the lack of consensus around what exactly is considered a career change. However, it is estimated that people change jobs about six times between ages 18 and 24, two times between ages 25 and 34, three times between ages 35 and 44. Specifically, Americans born in the early 1980s held an average of 8.2 jobs from age 18 through age 32, having more jobs at younger ages. It is more relevant for educated women who held more jobs than women with less education. Regardless of education, men held a similar number of jobs. The overall statistics indicate that lieky you are one of career changers.
There are multiple factors that contribute to career switches such as changes in the economic and industry environments, personal life changes, developed interest for a different field, and other. Often people can experience difficulties when trying to translate their skills into a new career within a different industry.
Throughout my business undergraduate program at Northeastern University, a concept that was often mentioned was that of competitive advantage — specifically its importance in business success . Competitive advantage, as defined by the Corporate Finance Institute, is an attribute or trait that allows a company to distinguish itself from and outperform its competitors. Especially in the marketing program, it was emphasized in every course that a company needs a strong competitive advantage in order to gain market share and prove itself successful.
However, until my Strategy capstone course taught by Dr. Julia Ivy my last semester, I had never considered the need for an individual, let alone myself, to possess a competitive advantage. Granted, I had spent the last five years working to accredit and distinguish myself from my peers through different activities, opportunities, and work experiences; but it had never dawned on me that I had been searching for my own competitive advantage.
As referenced in the article “Simplified Strategies in Understanding Personal Strategy of Boutique Employability,” crafting your personal strategy revolves around finding one’s Boutique Employability. This entails positioning yourself as a multidimensional professional that brings something unique to the table and differentiates you from every other jobseeker (Ivy, 2020). But how does one stand apart when they are transitioning between defined technical careers and the wide world of business?
To start that discussion – I’d like to pose a thought question. A quick Google reveals that there are nearly 200,000 newly minted MBAs each year (PoetsQuants), and as of 2019 there are approximately 10.8 million STEM workers in the US economy (Census.gov) –but how many can do both?
Considering the analogy of social capital at an individual level; you are always advised that your social circle has a significant influence in your future success in business or career development. On a large scale, the idea transcends to the societal parameters (the network of people and their relationship) that dictate the logistics for community development.
Social capital plays a major role in the socio-economic and political structure of a community. It represents the productivity generated from a joint task force in the community. To achieve this, the structure of the social capital has to adjust to the new developmental challenges and communal policy restructure.
Now, the structure of social capital is pillared on five dimensions — norms and values, trust, network, sense of belongings, and power.
By Aqib Rahman,
May 29, 2020
In just two months, the environment in America has completely transformed, leaving many to face uncertainty. There are 40 million Americans that have lost their jobs, with an unemployment rate of 14.7%. Many people have been distraught from layoffs, while others like me are recent graduates just entering the job market. As we now start reopening and restarting our economy, we must stay determined to prosper.
From a young age, I was told that to succeed I had to show respect, compassion, and empathy. I strive to live a life of meaning for myself and others around me. I strive to show kindness, respect, and concern for my family, peers, and even strangers. I also maintain a sense of appreciation for the world around me and have a sense of humor. My journey has had its ups and downs. I embraced challenges along the road and celebrated when I solved them.
By Gerad Sockol
May 15th, 2020
Experiential Learning: two words that every Northeastern University student sarcastically repeats back in a mocking intonation. And as Northeastern tour guides showcase the Boston campus (albeit virtually in these trying times) whose lush, green space juxtaposes the urban chaos yards away, the phrase “experiential learning” (one sure to enter into the prospective student’s lexicon should they choose to enroll at Northeastern) will bombard the ears of both parents and students alike. As COVID-19 promises to create a “new normal,” it is pertinent that Northeastern can adapt its experiential learning framework to better emphasize those skills that will allow Northeastern to maintain its spot atop the throne of leading the U.S. News ranking in co-op/internship opportunities.
As a recent college graduate, matriculating during one of the toughest job markets in recent years, I possess not only the understanding of the necessity of soft skills to stand out among the crowded “new graduate” field of future employees but also the recency of being a student at Northeastern to understand how they can better position their students to future employees.
The Millennial generation (born between 1980 and 2000) now comprises about one-half of the American workforce, and this generation has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. More Millennials (61 percent) have lost their job or had their hours or salaries reduced than any other generational group due to the pandemic.
At the same time, this generation is the most educated. Historical data of educational levels among people 25 to 29 years of age shows 40 percent of Millennials held advanced degrees in 2016 compared to 32 percent of Generation Xers in 2000 and 26 percent of Boomers in 1985.
By Swapnil Lokhande.
Faculty Mentor: Julia Ivy
May 14, 2020
The research involves the analysis of the impact of the Capstone program on the employability of the students or job seekers. The fundamental analysis in this research involves the identification of the keywords used by the people (authors) while discussing the benefits of capstone courses in the academic curriculum. The specified goal is to categorize the findings through the BE-EDGE concept and see how far the capstone project helps students in developing their personal, social, and professional capital.
By Liz Pereguda
May 7, 2020
A research study by IIE Center for Academic Mobility, Research and Impact “Gaining an Employment Edge: The Impact of Study Abroad on 21st Century Skills & Career Prospects in the United States” investigates the connection between study abroad programs and the development of 15 soft and hard skills considered to be most desired by 21st-century employers. The report concludes that in the context of today’s global economy, most college graduates will work for or do business with international companies, including work with diverse colleagues. Hence the professional skills acquired through international programs abroad can be powerful tools for career success.
According to the report, students that experience living abroad develop highly sought-after professional skills: “adaptability, communication, self-awareness, confidence that not only make them more hirable but also launch their careers.”
By Ivan Todorov
May 4, 2020.
After nearly 6 years in Boston, the finishing lines of my academic chapter have been written out. This time is filled with numerous joyful and rewarding moments that boil the excitement within me for what is coming. More than a million international students graduate from US colleges every year. They have similar excitement but also are facing similar challenges. “Which industry should I choose for elucidating my core and maturing my presence? What kind of company, entrepreneurial venture, corporation, or consulting firm would be most engaging. Which one will help me grow? Which geographical location would fit best my career trajectory?”
Now that I have completed this chapter of my life and am ready for the next one, I look back and reflect on what made the biggest contributions to my desire of shaping my own space in the professional world and sharpen my voice as an upcoming expert in the field.
By Aliyah Mathur
April 30, 2020
I have had my fair share of work opportunities as a senior at Northeastern University. We follow a co-op program that takes into account experiential learning. You find yourself out of the classroom for semesters at a time to pursue full-time work opportunities. In high school, I also took on several internships that taught me valuable skills that I utilize to this day. In college, I spent six months working at the headquarters of The TJX Companies. This seemed right up my alley as it was an opportunity to explore how stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods choose what they sell in-store. I have a marketing degree as well as a minor in fashion, so this co-op was an interesting way to explore the industry. However, not every opportunity is a real investment and through trial and error, I have come to realize what truly makes an internship or co-op worth your time.
By Richard Li
April 26, 2020
As a graduating student, I’ve noticed how a Harvard Business Review case study is oftentimes a business professor’s best friend. As a business student in college, I find these pieces fascinating and a smart method of instruction; they are incredibly useful windows into how the lessons we learn in class can apply in professional settings. As I have come to learn this semester in my Strategy in Action class – a capstone course for all business majors at Northeastern – they are also incredibly effort-intensive and challenging to put together. In our main semester-long project for the course, my classmates and I worked in teams to create a true consulting case based on the very real problems of today’s organizations. Although it would be unwise for me to disclose who my own team looked into due to legal reasons, what I can say is that building it took a tremendous amount of rigorous research work, a true commitment to the details, and a solemn oath to the objective.
At this point, it must be recognized that not all consulting cases are even worthy of reading. Oftentimes, an author’s lack of intent or enthusiasm reflects through in his or her writing. An unengaging, uninspiring case can read off as a dull repetition of vaguely related facts or simply just a wall of words. So what’s the takeaway? An author must have a purpose for creating the work – not just through his or her time, but also through his or her own personal, social, and professional investments. This means having reasons for the case to be successful and being genuinely passionate about the case. Using the BE-EDGE framework, we can use these guiding principles to voice our own selves as outside stakeholders. This will not only showcase our dedication but also help build up a more effective case study.
April 27, 2020
In seven days, I will officially be a college graduate. I plan to work in a large investment firm in China. After using the BE-EDGE methodology to analyze the corporate decision of Intuit’s QuickBooks trying to expand its market to China, I realized I had a unique niche of marketable skills as well that add value to my future career, especially in how I can find a job that is a good fit for me rather than conforming to what a company expects in its supposedly ideal job candidate. I crafted a personal strategy for my boutique employability.
Written by George K, at the time of graduation.
For college students that study business, summer internships are expected, almost mandatory, of anyone entering the industry (of course, there are some exceptions, like entrepreneurs and self-starters). Many students use summer internships to secure their first jobs after graduating from college.
The university I attended, Northeastern University, differentiates itself by offering 6-month internships, called co-ops, that are built into the curriculum. Students studying business can potentially graduate having completed 3 co-ops, totaling 18 months of work experience, and if they are successful, a post-graduate job offer. Northeastern University attempts to replace the status quo summer internship system with an internal program and providing students with a network of potential internships to choose from. But after you’ve secured an internship or co-op, how do you get the post-graduate offer? How do you make your internship or co-op successful? How do you make your internship or co-op a great investment in yourself?
By Alix Crichton,
April 26, 2020
Happy employees could increase “sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%.” (Shawn Achor, 2011). In 2011, Shawn Achor demonstrated that happiness at work is not only beneficial for self-development, but it is also a key success factor for employers.
With this statement in mind, I dedicated my last year of graduate school to seeking the perfect job. Like many Millennials, I felt that the traditional job market did not go along with a fulfilling career (Julia Ivy, 2019). The Answer seemed to be elsewhere, but maybe I did not ask myself the right questions.
By Shreshthi Mehta
April 21, 2020.
I was born and raised in Pune. For a major portion of my life, I had lived in India and had been a part of one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. I was fortunate to attend some of the best schools and universities in my home country. In spite of the recession in 2008, I was able to secure a job as a new graduate and work as an HR manager.
I got married in 2012 and came to the USA thereafter. With my knowledge and education, it had been fairly easy for me to find a job in India. I was excited to pursue the American dream and have a fulfilling career. But, when I was searching for jobs in Boston, it was starting to look like a nightmare. I interviewed with many companies for positions in HR. When I sought feedback, they said that I had the skills to do the job but did not have an understanding of the culture or business principles in America. It was important for an HR person to know that so they could fit in.
What could I do to fit in? And what could I do to understand the culture in America?
There were several books and materials that I had reviewed. None were able to replicate the real-world experience.
By Swapnil Lokhande.
Faculty mentor: Julia Ivy
April 19, 2020
The research involves the analysis of EMPLOYERS’ PERSPECTIVE on the impact of the internship and co-op program on the employability of the students or job seekers. The fundamental analysis in this research involves the identification of the keywords used by the people (authors) while discussing the internship program in their articles published on business-related and business-targeting public platforms. The goal is to analyze the keywords based on the BE-EDGE methodology and see how far the internship program helps the students in developing their Personal Capital, Social Capital, and Professional Capital.
By Julia Ivy
Companies that honor the competitive strategy of “built-in employability” are able to recalibrate for fast recovery, and even growth, in times when the economy struggles. These companies know to turn to the vast reserve of internal talent represented among staff impact to their competitive strategies.
Built-in employability celebrates the culture of “making your case for shaping your space.” It allows them to apply the array of skills and talents that they have accumulated from their previous jobs, hobbies, or experiences for designing their own unique space in the company. In companies with an internal strategy for built-in employability, employees feel empowered to utilize their distinctive body of knowledge to provide novel ideas and problem-solving abilities across the organization where they can make a difference.
By Julia Ivy
Just a month ago, I started the article for graduates regarding a historically low unemployment rate. At that time, it was easy to find a job even though some jobs could be boring and one-dimensional. For those, who wanted more than just a job, I suggested the option of pursuing a personal strategy of BE for “crafting your edge for today’s job market.” The “BE” stands for boutique employability – the type of employability that would let these people craft their own edge and shape the space in the market that would fit their unique and multidimensional combination of skills, passions, and experiences. It would lead them to connect with a dream employer and show their multidimensional value for the company of their choice.
By Julia Ivy, PhD
Companies can find untapped value in their multidimensional employees when working to solve current challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. This involves utilizing a Make Your Case initiative that allows employees to apply their unused skill sets and connections in opening up new ways for their companies to operate.
Surprisingly, employers don’t often care to know or think about how to utilize the stockpile of unused resources their employees bring. They tend to view skills outside of their employees’ job descriptions as irrelevant to the scope of normal business operations. It’s possible that employers simply don’t see the value that such extraneous abilities or connections can generate.
But given the shockwaves reverberating from the market disruption that’s taking place, many normal business models are no longer operational, and new models must emerge. Companies would benefit from turning to the untapped expertise of their multidimensional employees for new ideas through Make Your Case solutions being applied to the rising challenges.
This post has been invited to be published in The EvoLLLution.
It used to be thought of as “right” to stay on one career track your whole life, gradually climbing the professional and income ladders of your chosen career before ultimately retiring to spend time gardening, vacationing, and enjoying the grandchildren, but times have changed. Midlife career changes have become more and more prevalent, so how exactly can colleges help?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person born in the later years of the baby boom (born between 1946 and 1964) held 10.8 jobs. As Forbes reports, in 2019, many retired Baby Boomers were getting ready for a new round of job hunting and thinking of a new career as an adventure. Generation Xers, born between 1965 and 1980, can also be expected to change careers at least once: many, according to Ernst & Young data presented by AARP, will at some point feel they are being overlooked when it comes to advancement and job enrichment and will want to change their situations.
[This is the text of the article, prepared by my friend-journalist. He asked to stay anonymous …]
At a time when college graduates are more vulnerable to unemployment than other workers, how can they crack the job market?
Northeastern professor Julia Ivy has come up with a strategic method to not only find work after graduation—but also to build a career in a field suited to your interests.
“This became for me a kind of puzzle, a personal challenge to figure out,” says Ivy, author of Crafting Your Edge for Today’s Job Market. “Millennials have multiple interests, and they are the most-educated generation, but they cannot capitalize on their education as much as previous generations. I feel pain for them. I want them to shape their own space in the job market.”
Sales of self-help books reached record levels in the past year, surpassing three million. According to The Guardian, this represents a 20% increase over previous years, “propelling self-improvement or pop psychology into one of the fastest-growing genres of publishing.” According to Publishing Perspectives, self-help books are the world’s bestselling genre. Today, a broad range of authors can find an audience in this fast-growing sector. But marketing a self-help book on a topic beyond health and wellness can be tricky.
I figured out the most effective and efficient way of doing something important and came to believe other people could benefit from learning about it. Over the past several years, in my job as a professor of strategy and leadership at Northeastern University, I developed a personal strategy for employability and incorporated it into work with graduating students and career changers. From the many, many “thank you” notes I started to receive from former students, I discovered the assignment had turned out to be one of the most valuable investments students felt they’d made in advancing their boutique employability — my term for narrowly defined job searches in which individuals craft a space for themselves based on their unique life experiences, capabilities, and interests.
At the beginning of December, Ian Thomsen, a journalist, contacted me to schedule an interview about my book “Crafting Your EDGE for Today’s Job Market” — the book that equips Millennials, graduates, and soon-to-be graduates, with an instrument to craft their Boutique Employability while they are still in college doing their capstone projects and internships. We also discussed that the book would serve accomplished professionals (say, veterans) with a tool for how they can utilize their already accumulated personal, social, and professional capital for self-differentiation in the civilian market.
While originally the journalist planned to publish the article in December to introduce the book as a Christmas gift that parents could give to their graduating Millennials or that friends could give retiring service members, Ian changed his mind by the end of the interview. He said, “No, let’s hold it until the beginning of January, as the book would be a handy tool for a New Years’ resolution.”
In my earlier post on three starting points for personal strategy coaching, I shared stories of John (a veteran, 47), Tyler (recently graduated Millennial, 22), Dana (approaching graduation Millennial, 21), and David (multidimensional professional, 36) to illustrate that personal strategy coaching must start with the classification of the client’s “what’s next?” dilemma.
The coaching for individuals, whose “what’s next?” question relates to the challenge of mobility, would target the formulation of the personal strategy of built-in employability. A most vivid example of these people is experienced professionals (e.g., veterans) that face a new chapter in their lives but feel loyal to what they did before.
When I started to write my blog, I followed a desire to share my thoughts behind BE-EDGE and how it can be applied for individuals, universities, coaches, and businesses. Besides, my friends kept pushing me to do so. But then, I challenged myself whether the use and logic of my posts are clear, so you as a reader can easily find helpful information. So, I developed a map, where each post can be located. Then, when my former students started to share their insights on how BE-EDGE worked for them, I shared this platform with them. At the end of the day, this is about thoughts exchange and learning from each other.
The map looks like a matrix or a flow chart, where one dimension covers the BE-EDGE steps: BE (Boutique/Built-in Employability) as a goal and a result, which can be achieved through the E-D-G-E (Elucidate CORE-Develop TRUST -Generate VALUE-Excite MARKET) steps.
This post talks about understanding the strategy behind the personal strategy, and not just any personal strategy but Personal Strategy for Boutique Employability.
First of all, the term Personal Strategy is overused, while not really defined. While it obviously includes the “strategy” in its definition, it’s frequently used by psychologies to emphasize their message that a person should define and own their own path in life.
When you are at the “what’s next?” stage in life, many options are at your disposal in determining your strategy for career design. You might choose a conventional approach for a personal strategy for fitting a job or target big career goals, or you can try a “BE” personal strategy for crafting your space in the job market.
by Julia Ivy (2020)
If we were to be professional in dealing with clients that come to us with the “what’s next?” question, we should project an impression that assures high-impact practices, without appearing shallow at the level of cost on consulting cases.
Before jumping into a list of recommendations, we should purport to understand the meaning of the question and the challenges associated with people who ask the question. Thereafter, it will make sense to look for the science behind the challenge and figure out how it can help us evaluate our options in making a conclusion. Based on the assessment of the conclusion, we can streamline the approach to help the client. The bottom line is to start with the client who asks and figure out why she asks the “what’s next?” question.
I have just talked to my friend about her millennial son. Anton is a junior and doing well. He has been accepted for his second internship at a top tech company. It’s very likely that after graduation, he will be selected for Silicon Valley in a 100K+ job.
However, this boy is reluctant to leave college but why? He knows that he would be ok fitting the job, but he is not sure whether he would be ok with fitting everything else but the job. He doesn’t want to be defined by his job. The question is who is Anton based on his generational profile?
A simple Google search revealed within seconds that there are around 45,000 veteran organizations in the United States, and many of them are dedicated to assisting veterans with the transition to civilian life. Most of them have veterans on the board who used to face the same “what’s next?” challenge; they have found the way out, so they are eager to help others. On top of this, we have several regulations that encourage businesses and state organizations to hire veterans.
Why then is it still an issue? Veterans’ transitions are supposed to be a smoothly run operation that lets each of them happily land in the job of their dreams. At the same time, having friends among veterans, and having veterans as my students in a range of programs, I have learned that there are challenges. I asked them to share the sources of their frustration. This is what I learned.
In my strategy research, I investigated strategies for navigating low-trust vs. high-trust environments. Why is there such low-trust in Millenials?
I learned that when we claim this or that environment as “toxic” or “low-trust,” it’s actually not correct. The same environment might be defined as low-trust and high-trust for different groups: it might be low-trust for one group of people (say, for people of a specific age, profession, gender, or origin group), but fine for others (say, of another age or gender group). If you claim that the environment you work in is low-trust, it might be for people like you, but it might be wonderful for others.
Going back to Millennials, let’s look at how we talk about them. We keep citing Time Magazine and Forbes, which describe Millennials as the “Me, me, me” generation: narcissistic, fame-obsessed, convinced of their own greatness, critical of the establishment, technologically addicted (Time Magazine), and overconfident, with high expectations, inward focus, misplaced education, and low attention to building their credit scores (Forbes). We make cartoons about them as privileged kids who are used to getting a trophy for their every move. We laugh at them. Being Gen X, I use “we” on purpose.
By Julia Ivy
Nov 11, 2019
Why Millennials go to college, and what colleges miss in terms of what is expected for employability.
There IS a problem here. Historical data concerning educational levels among people 25 to 29 years of age shows Millennials to be the most educated generation, with 40% holding advanced degrees in 2016 compared to 32% of Generation Xers in 2000, 26% of Boomers in 1985, and 16% of Silents in 1964 (Pew Research Center, 2017).
It’s painful to see how colleges ignore the “Me, me, me”, “boutique” and “multidimensional” psychology of Millennials when trying to connect them with employers, who, by the way, are also often not Millennials. There is a gap between three major stakeholders in higher education: colleges, graduates/Millennials, and employers.
As we discussed in another post on my blog, way too often, people from a different generation (say, Millennials) find themselves in a low-trust environment, where they feel invisible and disconnected, and where their value is perceived as depreciated due to their background (gender, age, previous experience. etc.). This is especially true for established industries that are run by older, “classical,” rules. Academia, banking, construction, and healthcare are just a few examples. If you are in such a context, you need mechanisms of selectivity and verification for choosing the right social capital strategy for navigating such a context.
На рынке труда появляется все больше специалистов, имеющих не просто высокий уровень квалификации, но и компетенции в разных, иногда не связанных между собой, областях. Таким людям неинтересно обычное трудоустройство. Им неинтересно подавать резюме и проходить интервью, чтобы совпасть с предложенной должностной инструкцией.
Им важно найти свое уникальное место на рынке и уметь показать многогранность своей экспертизы на фоне других претендентов. Специальную методику для решения этой задачи разработала приглашенный преподаватель Бизнес-школы ИПМ и профессор стратегии Northeastern University (США), доктор психологии и доктор менеджмента Джулия Айви. Эта методика также опубликована в ее книге “Crafting Your EDGE for Today’s Job Market” (Emerald Group Publishing, 2019), изданной в 10 странах мира, включая США, Англию, Канаду, Австралию, Сингапур, Китай и Индию.