Incoming students at the Yale School of Management this fall will have a new self-assessment tool to help explore their career options, one that gauges personality and talent.
Yale SOM’s Career Development Office has adopted StrengthsFinder, an online assessment program that helps students identify their talents and strengths before zeroing in on sectors and roles where those attributes might best be utilized.
“StrengthsFinder is a self-assessment tool that targets the talent themes within us,” says Kristy Posocco, director of career education and coaching in the CDO. “A successful career search isn’t just about finding a good job; it’s about finding a job that’s good for you—one that will give you a platform to leverage your unique talents and strengths. This will really help students, not only in career choice but in search efficiency.”
Whereas some assessment programs identify top career choices based on student questionnaires and feedback, StrengthsFinder identifies a student’s top five talent themes. “There are no specific career presumptions that come along with it,” Posocco says. “Students then determine the careers where their talents may best be deployed.”
The CDO continues to use Career Leader, which puts greater emphasis on identifying career choices as opposed to students’ broader talent sets. The addition of StrengthsFinder, Posocco says, reflects SOM’s commitment to helping students identify the types of roles that best accommodate their personal goals and abilities.
StrengthsFinder is based on cross-cultural research, an important benefit at SOM, where almost half of the incoming MBA class holds an international passport. The program is already widely used outside the U.S., Posocco says.
SOM students entering the full-time MBA Class of 2019 and the Master of Advanced Management program will complete the online assessment this summer. After they arrive on campus, students will have the opportunity to work with CDO staff to reflect on their results and apply them to their individual career paths.
Students seeking to switch sectors may find the program especially helpful, Posocco says, explaining that recent studies have shown that up to 75% of MBA students nationwide switch sectors after earning an MBA. “Students who are looking to change careers will be able to better leverage their strengths, working with CDO coaches,” Posocco says, “and non-switchers will develop a deeper understanding of themselves and how they can uniquely contribute to the sectors they’re in.”