How valuable is an education to employers? What weight does education carry when you’re looking to advance your career, apply for jobs, or assessing professional goals? How do hiring managers and businesses really view the value of education?
Opinions of employers about the value of education differ across various fields and various types of organizations. In our Ask an Employer series, we interview key leaders and hiring managers in a variety of fields to hear what their employees’ education means to them.
Name: Jason Veliquette
Company: Blue Mesa Group
Blue Mesa Group provides leadership consulting, coaching, training and team-building programs for business leaders. Its corporate coaching services include leadership and executive coaching, leadership development, executive assessment, change management, new leader assimilation, team coaching, transformational coaching program, and mentoring skills for leaders.
Title: Director of Operations
Years on the Job: 3
Number of Employees at the Company: 10
Jason Veliquette, ACC, MA, has a background in faith-based and business coaching. He holds a master’s degree from Denver Seminary and leads his own business coaching practice through The Veliquette Group. Professional business coaches partner with clients to maximize their professional potential through self-discovery and client-generated solutions and strategies. A testament to his hard work, he started in a part-time role that developed into coaching, teaching, and directing the operations of Blue Mesa Group’s programs. He is one of the leaders in the company and hires contract workers to help support his business.
Q. What are your goals or biggest priorities when hiring new employees?
A. Our biggest goal when hiring new employees is fit. We look to see if the individual is aligned with our company’s vision, culture, and philosophy. Further, we look to see if the individual is capable of learning.
Q. What challenges have you encountered during the hiring process?
A. Knowing the answer to the previous question can take time. When we are able, we offer test runs to see if a potential employee would work for other projects. Because a lot of our work is project-based, we can give individuals minor assignments to see how they perform. The difficulty can come if our expectations are not clear in the beginning.
Q. How do new/young employees get ahead?
A. It is a good idea for young employees to be good stewards with the roles that they have at the start of their career. Then take advantage of opportunities as they surface.
Q. Generally speaking, how do you view the role of higher education in the employment process?
A. Higher education offers individuals a chance to continue to become more specific in their expertise. Further, if an individual has spent time/money on higher education, then it tells me that they are dedicated to learning.
Q. How has education affected your career?
A. Education has affected my career greatly. The main effect it has had is that it taught me how to learn. The world and marketplace are constantly changing. If I don’t learn and adapt, I will get left behind.
Q. What tips would you give to someone considering going back to school?
A. Go for it. Learn about things that you are passionate about, or take courses from interesting teachers. These two essentials will foster the best learning.
Q. What do you think students should look for or consider when selecting a school and program?
A. Does the school offer courses that interest you? What is the level of academic support for your learning?
Q. How valuable is a master’s degree in this line of work?
A. A master’s degree is not required for this line of work. To become a certified coach, individuals have to go through a coach-training program. Several universities offer programs as part of a master’s degree. It is important to go through a program that is International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited. Blue Mesa Group has a coach-training program that is ICF accredited.
In addition, a master’s degree is valuable if the individual can translate the skills that he or she learned during the master’s program to this work. An example for me is that I had to do a lot of writing for my master’s degree. This has prepared me for the writing projects that I have in my current role.
Q. What skills are vital to this business?
A. The main skill that is vital to our business is the ability to learn and adapt to what our clients want. There are always core leadership skills that we teach, but the methods are always changing to fit the clients’ needs.
Q. What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing a career in this field
A. Reach out to somebody who is already in this career field. Buy them lunch or coffee to find out more about what they do. Get an internship working in this field. If you can do that, you will find out if this is a field of work that you really want.
Wondering what other employers have to say? Read more here.