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Career Panels: Recruiters Reveal Some Secrets
and Leveraging Your EMTM Degree

EMTM’s six-part Career Panel series provides invaluable resources for students looking to expand, enhance or change careers. The 2009 series began in January with “Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change,” led by organizational change consultant and management professor Greg Shea, and a self-assessment workshop, “To Thine Own Self Be True,” which was focused on shaping a personal vision for career goals and led by Alison Peirce, EMTM’s director of marketing and corporate relations.

On March 13th, the series continued with a headhunter panel moderated by Jim Senior, a marketing communications public relations consultant and corporate speech writer. Panelists included Brad Stadler, partner in the global technology and venture capital and private equity practices at Heidrick & Struggles in Philadelphia, PA; Francisco Paret, leader of the US corporate and investment banking segment of Egon Zehnder in New York, NY; Marie Ford, consultant in the financial services practice of Spencer Stuart in Philadelphia; and Pat Hastie, a principal recruiter focusing on the higher education and healthcare arenas at Opus Search Partners in Philadelphia.

In his opening remarks, Senior likened the process of getting a resume to a top executive to that of a writer trying to place a manuscript in a publishing house. “If you’re looking for the way to get a big opportunity, sooner or later the recruiter, like an agent, becomes an essential element of that.”

All of the panelists agreed that relationship-building is at the heart of what they do and that the advantage of working with a recruiter is having someone act as an impartial third party to match clients and candidates. As a former psychotherapist, Pat Hastie brings her human insights to bear in assessing how potential candidates might best fit in the client’s work environment.

With or without the help of a recruiter, relationship-building is key to career development, panelists said. Paret reminded the audience that networking in general should be viewed as a giving exercise. “It should be inherent to everyday life, getting into the habit of helping to make introductions for others. That makes it much easier when you need to ask for that favor.”

In response to Senior’s question about using social networks as a relationship-building tool, the consensus was that social networking is helpful — up to a point. “I see a number of my clients using LinkedIn before they come to recruit our services,” Stadler said. “I would say that too much time spent building a profile can be a red flag. So they can’t be the main source for identifying an opportunity but it’s certainly a good idea to have a profile up, as companies do use it as a resource to find potential candidates.”

Audience members asked about how to get on a recruiter’s shortlist for job openings. The best way to get in touch with a recruiter, Marie Ford said, is with a “crisp introduction email of a few paragraphs, stating what you’ve done and what you’re looking for, and following up with a phone call a few days later to stay on the radar screen.” Panelists also offered advice on maintaining the relationship with a recruiter, suggesting that job candidates stay in contact with brief emails to apprise recruiters of their doings but warned against appearing overly aggressive.

Some current areas of job growth and opportunity panelists identified were clean technology, internet technologies and higher education research and administration. They reported that candidates with international experience or willingness to work abroad are particularly prized by their clients. They also agreed that having a degree like EMTM was helpful in differentiating candidates and defined a specific skill set that would be helpful to employers.

In characterizing what he looks for in making a client/candidate match, Paret contended that the requirements are similar for positions across specialty areas. “Regardless of whether I’m looking for a senior technologist, banker or a director, I’m looking for the same attributes across the board,” he said. “But we’re also not in the business of pushing paper in front of executives to see what sticks. We want to get to know you and fit the right fit for our client.”

On the following day, another panel discussion, “How to Leverage Your EMTM Degree,” was moderated by Dwight Jaggard, director of EMTM. Alumni panelists included Jack Allison EMTM’08, director of complementary store services at TD Bank in Philadelphia, PA; Wayne Dix EMTM’08, senior vice president, chief operating officer for customer service at AXA Equitable in New York, NY; Pamela Jordan-Farr EMTM’03, senior manager of product management and marketing at Motorola in Philadelphia, PA; and Todd Wallach EMTM’00, CEO of Biopticon Corporation in Camden, NJ.

Participants agreed that EMTM was a good breeding ground for trying out new ideas. “When I left, I had a clear vision of where I wanted to go,” says Allison. “The program gives you enough diversity to explore new ideas in a kind of safety zone.”

“I always thought I wanted to advance to C-level staff but at EMTM I found out I was good at taking risks,” said Wallach, who transitioned from a strategic planning role at Comcast to become an entrepreneur — and he has since raised $60 million in venture capital and financing for two biotech companies. In particular, he says the biotech course at EMTM opened his eyes to other possibilities.

While Wallach and Jordan-Farr used their degree to catapult themselves into new opportunities, Allison and Dix have continued to stay at the same companies (Allison’s was recently acquired) and have watched as new positions and responsibilities have opened up.

In Jordan-Farr’s view, courses in product development and marketing were essential to her career progression, first at Texas Instruments, and later at Motorola — but so was a class called “Playing the Game”, which unlocked ways of relating to company leadership. “That class really nailed it in terms of how to position yourself in the company, and it made leveraging the degree that much easier,” Jordan-Farr said that obtaining her newer position was made easier with the EMTM degree, which impressed her employer, and by a Penn alumni connection on the senior VP level. For Wallach, the Leadership class continues to provide inspiration in his CEO role as he uses the strengths he identified in class to motivate, engage and retain his employees.

The panelists all stated that among the best ways to leverage the EMTM degree is by staying connected with EMTM colleagues and professors, establishing a close “cabinet” of peers to call on with questions in the future, and getting involved with alumni organizations at both Penn and Wharton — all of which can open up new opportunities, ease the transition between jobs and support career performance.

“Frankly, when you’ve got a degree from Penn, administered by Penn Engineering and co-sponsored by Wharton, you’re in a different league than everyone else,” Dix said. “You very quickly recognize the privilege.”



EMTM’s six-part Career Panel series provides invaluable resources for students looking to expand, enhance or change careers.

“If you’re looking for the way to get a big opportunity, sooner or later the recruiter, like an agent, becomes an essential element of that.”

Jim Senior
Marketing Communications Public Relations Consultant
Corporate Speech Writer

“Regardless of whether I’m looking for a senior technologist, banker or a director, I’m looking for the same attributes across the board. But we’re also not in the business of pushing paper in front of executives to see what sticks. We want to get to know you and fit the right fit for our client.”

Francisco Paret
US Corporate & Investment Banking
Egon Zehnder
New York, NY

“That class (‘Playing the Game’) really nailed it in terms of how to position yourself in the company, and it made leveraging the degree that much easier.”

Pamela Jordan-Farr, EMTM’03
Senior Customer Marketing Manager
Motorola
Horsham, PA

“Frankly, when you’ve got a degree from Penn, administered by Penn Engineering and co-sponsored by Wharton, you’re in a different league than everyone else. You very quickly recognize the privilege.”

Wayne Dix, EMTM’08
Senior Vice President
Chief Operating Officer, Service Delivery
AXA Equitable
New York, NY

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