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From the Assistant Dean for Career Development: Now is the Time to Think about Your Next Position

Many individuals considering investing in business school are doing so because of the insights gained during their first few years of professional work experience. And many of them conclude that it’s time to make a change; in fact, about 75% of those returning to school want to make a function and industry career change.

At Yale SOM, you’ll benefit from a variety of resources designed to help you choose the industry and role that you’d like to pursue. Those resources will be even more valuable if you start thinking about your next position now.

Think about the thought process that went into your first professional experiences. Did you understand the realities of the role and did it live up to your expectations? Was there a strong fit between your skills, interests, and employer needs?

We work with many students who made career decisions after college that were driven by family and friends’ influences, the need to pay off loans, what was available through their schools’ campus programs, or the pursuit of something that seemed “aligned” with their degrees. Whatever the case may be, your reflections on what you liked, and didn’t like, about your professional experience so far offers tremendous insights into the type of work you would like to be doing in the future.

While it may seem early, now is the time to catalogue those likes and dislikes, to read and learn more about positions you see in the employment reports of business school graduates, and to think deeply about yourself—what strengths you want to leverage in the future, what values and motivators are critical to you in your next position. Doing so will help you stay true to yourself as you pursue—and eliminate—some of the various career opportunities that will be available to you during your time in business school.

Here are a few quick exercises that can get you moving in the right direction in this endeavor.

At My Best

The At My Best exercise focuses on peak experiences—an amazing accomplishment you’re proud of, a transformational personal experience—where you’re at your best and fully leveraging your strengths.
Available through: StrengthsQuest Activity Workbook

Job Envy

Think about jobs you have heard about and think you would enjoy. After conducting the job envy exercise, you can review your notes to identify job themes.
Available through: Discovering Your Career in Business, Tim Butler and Jim Waldroop

Letters about You

Choose at least five people who know you really well to write a letter to you. Ask them to answer questions like: What would be the ideal career for you? What are your blind spots?
Available through: Discovering Your Career in Business, Tim Butler and Jim Waldroop


Decades of Gallup research have proved that when individuals have the opportunity to discover their natural talents and purposely develop them into strengths, the effect on individual and organizational performance is transformational. You can take Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment to discover your top five strengths. Your results will include a Signature Theme report detailing those top five strengths, what they mean, and how they are typically recognized and applied.
Available through:; $15 for assessment and bestselling StrengthsFinder 2.0 e-book


Julia Zupko
Assistant Dean for Career Development
203 432-5907