Why We Recruit is a series of interviews with our recruiting partners covering everything from their experience working with HBS to what they would like students to know. Each week, we will release a new interview that dives into a unique perspective on recruiting.
Name, Title and Organization:
Mike Kaufman, Director of Talent Acquisition, EF Education First
Describe your organization in three to five sentences.
EF Education First is the world’s largest international travel and education company – with 41,000 members working from 500 schools and offices in 53 countries. Everything we do is about helping people create new opportunities for themselves through immersive international experiences. We offer our customers every imaginable way to see the world, engage with another culture, learn a language, or earn an academic degree; and one of the best perks about working at EF is the opportunity to travel the world while helping others do the same.
How long has your organization been recruiting at Harvard Business School and what roles do you hire for?
Harvard Business School graduates have been instrumental in the success of EF’s North American headquarters in Cambridge since it opened in the 1980s. In 2009, we launched a formal recruitment program at HBS. We typically hire for senior roles that present opportunities for candidates to make an immediate impact and manage staff across a variety of functions (from operations to sales, integrated marketing communications to customer service). HBS recruits typically join one of our global offices or schools in a senior role, and are then fast-tracked to even more senior leadership positions.
What recruiting tactics have you found most successful in engaging with students and/or alumni at HBS?
We are always looking for opportunities to partner with HBS students and clubs on and off campus. We’ve recently moved into our beautiful new North American headquarters on the banks of the Charles River, so we love to create opportunities for students to spend time with us here through club Treks, industry panels and other recruiting events. We also love working with students on campus. We’re currently working with the HBS Student Association to sponsor this year’s first “TGIF” mixer on Friday, September 11th. Last year, we created an MBA Summer Internship program through which interns partner with senior business leaders (think business presidents and C-level executives) to drive two projects that have a real and immediate impact on our global business. This year, each of our MBA interns had the opportunity for project-related international travel, and each presented their projects in a board meeting-type setting to our CEO, Chief of Staff, and other business leaders.
Give us your elevator pitch – what is the one thing students should know about working for you?
If you are passionate about the business of travel, language learning, or education, and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and big ideas, then EF may be a great fit for you! There are numerous examples of HBS alumni joining EF and making an immediate impact through innovative projects that we’d simply never thought of before. One HBS alum launched a portfolio of eco-tours in our adult travel division before shifting her focus to creating a “College Visit Tours” division to help students explore higher education opportunities in the United States. Another HBS alum recently launched the first free, high-quality English assessment test delivered online for the world’s approximately 1 billion English language learners. Our culture empowers staff to take ownership of a piece of our business. You can read more about it in this recent New York Times interview with EF Co-Chairman Philip Hult or in this recent Fast Company article about our “Culture Book.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with fellow recruiters or those who are new to recruiting with HBS?
I encourage recruiters to invest in candidates and work with them to find a truly great professional fit. Our recruitment process is not one-size-fits-all. Rather, it’s individual-oriented. We’re a global organization comprised of incredibly talented individuals who bring a variety of strengths to their work. Our goal as a recruiting team is to hire HBS students into roles that make the most of their strengths and give them a platform to make an immediate impact while growing in their careers.