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Welcome Linda Esquivel

MS&E’s New Link Between Employers, Students and Alumni


About Linda

Linda joins the department as an experienced student advocate, having previously worked as an undergraduate advisor for the Stanford Art and Art History Department and as a job skills instructor for the San Jose Job Corps. She has a degree in psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and received counselor education training at San Jose State University.

"How do we connect?"

That’s the question the Department of Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) has increasingly heard from students, companies and alumni seeking to interact with each other for career opportunities, networking, and professional development. In response, the MS&E department recently filled a new staff position to facilitate this interaction and to help students prepare for their careers. Meet Linda Esquivel, MS&E’s new career and affiliate services officer. 

In her new role, she will not only provide career guidance and job-hunting education for students, but she will also arrange an array of events between employers and prospective employees and facilitate alumni interaction with the department. On board for less than a year, Esquivel jumped in with both feet to organize this year’s alumni reunion and initiate new student programs. 

“Since nobody has had this position at MS&E before, I started by asking students what they needed the most,” said Esquivel. In addition to one-on-one conversations, she conducted a focus group and a survey. The feedback highlighted several critical needs. 


Knowing What You’ve Got

First, she discovered that many students weren’t aware of and taking advantage of helpful career programs already available at Stanford.

For instance, many students were not fully tapping into services offered by the Stanford BEAM (Bridging Education, Ambition and Meaningful Work) program, formerly known as the Career Development Center.  BEAM offers job-search training, career assessments, and resume labs that give instant feedback and editing assistance.  BEAM’s alumni database and Handshake platform are also useful aids. Esquivel hopes to serve as a bridge between BEAM and the department to improve awareness and collaborate on workshops that are specific to MS&E student needs.

To highlight various available resources and provide MS&E students and employers one-stop shopping, she created the new MS&E Careers and Partners Services website, a portal for MS&E-related job and internship listings, profiles of recent alumni, and links to critical job-search resources for students, alumni and employers. Esquivel hopes this site will build awareness not just among students but also among MS&E alumni and employers seeking candidates with strong management science skills.


“Where Do I Go From Here?”

MS&E career paths of 2016 graduates

Esquivel also found that students want more information about what types of careers they might excel in and more connections to alumni and employers in those specific careers. 

“MS&E students go into a broad range of careers. We have a pie chart on the website that illustrates this diversity, showing the career paths of 2016 graduates. I wanted to customize workshops and events to students’ specific areas of interest,” said Esquivel. 

To this end, she began creating small-scale events, each with a specific topic. Recently, for example, she arranged a lunch with a small group of students to discuss product management with an MS&E alum in the field. According to Esquivel, “This roundtable conversation had a meaningful impact on the students in attendance. They were extremely focused and asked excellent questions.” 

She also plans to arrange a series of informal mixers with students and prospective employers. The goal is to facilitate relationship building and help students understand what employers are looking for. 

Job-Seeking International Students Have Unique Needs

Another key finding from the survey came from MS&E’s international students, who make up roughly half of the master’s students. Esquivel learned that this population has different concerns. They need special programming to understand U.S. hiring culture, the work visa process, and how to make contact with employers from abroad. 

Esquivel has already arranged one workshop to assist international students with these issues, with more to come. 

Trends in Job Hunting

Requisite job hunting skills have changed dramatically for students. “Twenty years ago,” Esquivel said, “It would go like this: I apply through the career center. Someone calls me. I have an interview on campus. Maybe I then have a second interview at the company’s offices and, if lucky, get the job.”

She tells students that now they must be more proactive and leverage relationships. Activities might include informational interviews with MS&E alums; making connections through other relationships they have; becoming active on LinkedIn and industry-specific social networking sites; and participating in professional organizations and events.

Realizing that many students don’t feel confident or equipped to pursue these strategies, Esquivel plans to roll out a variety of workshops and events to build these skills and take some of the guesswork out of their job hunts.

“What I love about this department is that our academic programs do an excellent job of preparing students to make tremendous contributions professionally,” she said. “All I have to do is help them find the right fit and connect great students to great alumni and potential employers.”

written by: rachel Street

Monday, November 28, 2016