Why a MBA / Leadership Development Program (vs. direct hire)?
I wanted to have the ability to see how different parts of the organization worked before settling into a position. When you understand how other groups operate and are motivated, you can make better decisions and create better interfaces within the organization.
What are the key advantages / disadvantages of being on a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
The key advantage in the Endeavor program is the number of connections you make with people throughout the company, including upper management. A disadvantage is feeling like you aren't contributing to the organization quickly, but you have to recognize that you are spending time to develop yourself now so that you can be an even stronger contributor down the line.
How does the MBA / Leadership Development Program fit in your career goals?
I wasn't sure where in a company I would best be able to lend my strengths. By getting to rotate throughout the company, I've seen the skill-sets required in different departments, allowing me to get a better picture of where I will be able to make a large impact and excel. I'd like to work in upper management, so exposure early on in my career to the way that executives think and interact will only help me succeed.
How strongly did you weight the location of the program?
I was more interested in the opportunities presented, knowing that I could translate that development anywhere. That said, San Diego is a great place to be, so I got the best of both in the Endeavor Program.
What to look for in a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
I would look for the type of exposure and learning that you will get through the natural course of the program's activities. Look for projects that are geared more towards being a vehicle for desired learning outcomes than projects that are there to get that work done.
Can you summarize the recruiting process you went through and how long it took?
I attended an info-session in the fall on the program. I then submitted my resume and a Statement of Purpose explaining why I wanted to be a part of the program in February-March. These packets were vetted by the exec team, and I was selected to interview on site in April. Interviews consisted of 12 half-hour interviews with the executive team, plus a breakfast and lunch with the other interviewees (and now also with the current participants). The interview was followed up with an offer a few weeks later.
What were the required skillsets and prior experience and how were they evaluated (behavioral interviews, case studies, assessment center, panel interview, etc)?
The program is generally evaluated for a personality type reflecting openness, curiosity, and a desire to learn. They are looking for people who "get" the vision of the program. This is evaluated through short 1-on-1 discussions with the executive staff. No precise skill-set/experience is required, but as this is a technology-focused company, an engineering/science background is useful.
What advice and tips can you share with those interested in MBA Development Programs?
Make sure that the vision of the program aligns with what you are enrolling in the program for. Think about what experiences you want to get while in the program and what you want to do after "graduating".