News, advice and resources for business school applicants

Careers

Read our collection of MBA career strategy advice and interviews with MBA career services directors.


MBAs Find Early Job Offers in Nontraditional Sectors, GMAC Reports

A greater percentage of MBAs and other business school graduates seeking jobs in fields like technology, manufacturing and healthcare reported having early job offers than did those searching in the more traditional fields of finance and consulting, according to survey results released by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) earlier this month.

GMAC released results from its 15th Annual Global Management Education Graduate Survey on June 4th. The global exit survey, conducted in February and March, polled 3,049 business school graduates at 111 universities. Of those, 57 percent had at least one early job offer, down slightly from 60 percent in last year’s survey but still a huge improvement over the 32 percent who had offers in the same time period in 2010.

At the time of this year’s survey, 62 percent of the graduating students were involved in a job search, and another four percent were either self-employed or intending to pursue entrepreneurship at graduation.  Continue reading…

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Harvard Business School MBA Grad Develops Resource to Help Students Record Summer Internship Experiences

As any business school student will tell you, the summer internship between the first and second years of an MBA program can be as important a part of your ultimate career path as any class you take while on campus. And yet, amid the many pressures that confront MBAs when they return to campus in the fall, it can be easy to lose sight of experiences and impressions they may have had while interning.

Now, thanks to an online resource developed by a recent Harvard Business School (HBS) graduate, current students can keep track of their goals and experiences during summer internships, creating a resource to help them gain as much from the process as possible. Called Life Guides, the website features a Summer Internship Guide to help MBAs quickly and easily record and summarize their summer internships, enabling them to better understand what they want to do with their careers as a result. Continue reading…

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GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey Reveals Strong Hiring Forecasts for MBAs

now hiringGood news for MBAs seeking jobs. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) released the results of its annual global survey of employers, revealing that 80 percent of business school recruiters plan to hire MBAs in 2014. That’s up seven percentage points from last year and a whopping 30 percentage points over 2009, in the midst of the economic crisis.

GMAC’s annual Corporate Recruiters Survey, now in its 13th year, polled 565 employers from 44 countries in February and March, including 32 of the top 100 companies in the FT 500 and 36 of the Fortune 100. GMAC, which administers the GMAT exam, conducts the employers survey in partnership with EFMD and the MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance. Continue reading…

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5 Ways To Excel When You Join a Startup

7754541930_98ea0edea5_zTaking the place of our weekly career strategy column by Ivan Kerbel, Common Bond has offered their take on how to succeed at a startup, no matter what the stage of your career. 

You’ve signed the offer and sighed with relief: you’re just weeks away from joining an innovative startup in your dream role.

If you’ve never worked at a startup before now, you’re in for a wakeup call. You’ll enter a completely new professional environment, where you’ll face sole ownership of your workstream, turnaround times that occur at light speed, and the chance to actually grow a business.

MBAs can bring great things to the table at any firm, but it takes special grit to excel in a startup. Here are five ways to start the summer strong:

1. Learn everything (really) about the company and industry. That weeklong orientation or onboarding period from your last job? Think again. Whether you’re an MBA intern or a full-time hire, don’t assume much training is ahead. Be sure you’re absolutely up-to-date on the industry landscape and your company’s recent initiatives so your employer doesn’t need to clue you in.

2. Prepare beyond your functional area. Cross-functional knowledge is the first step to diving in on day 1 and, ultimately, collaborating with teammates who love working with you. That means that if you’re a finance manager, review the firm’s latest marketing campaigns and PR placements, and if you’re on the design team, learn the names and brand of every investor.

Continue reading…

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How to Tell If Someone Truly Loves His or Her Job

It’s a given, as most business school students in the midst of MBA recruiting know, that the alumni and employer representatives who visit campus for company presentations, coffee chats, and various other career-oriented events tend to be the ones who enjoy their work the most (and are the most successful at it). The end result, in terms of what these alumni and recruiters share with students who are evaluating their career options, is that almost every aspect of internships and post-MBA careers at “organization X” is described in superlative terms.

The amount of responsibility granted to MBAs who join the organization is outstanding; access to senior firm leaders and decision-makers is great; the work content is stimulating; the chance to achieve impact is awesome; your colleagues are talented and fun to be with; compensation and performance bonuses are off the charts, etc. It can seem as though, despite some concessions (long work hours, travel demands), careers across a wide range of employers are all rated “A++”.

Thus, a question I’ve often been asked by students is: how can you truly tell when an organization lives up to its projected image, when a job truly is fun? Are there tell-tale signs to zero in on and ways to tell when an employer experience truly does stand out from the rest? … How can you tell if an alumnus or alumna you speak with truly loves his or her job?

Although it may seem a purely subjective realm, I’ve found that there are three categories to focus on that can demarcate job/work experiences which are merely positive from those that are transcendent. Continue reading…

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Conducting a Career Self-Assessment – for New Admits and Current MBAs (Part 3 of 3)

hand-with-reflecting-sphere-mc-escher-1935At one point a few years ago, during the height of MBA recruiting season, a senior manager visiting campus for a corporate presentation bemoaned the amount of self-imposed stress that students experience in choosing a full-time employer: “students will spend two years (during business school) agonizing over a job they’re going to keep for less than two years,” he said, and his assessment was not far off.

In its 2013 Alumni Perspectives Survey of MBA graduates from 2000 through 2012, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) found that “63% of the members of the class of 2010 are still working for the same organization” – or, phrased differently, that 37% had left their first post-MBA job within two years of graduation (and in the midst of a very tough job market). My own anecdotal evidence suggests that at some point roughly 4 to 5 years after graduation, finding yourself employed by the same company you joined coming out of business school becomes the exception rather than the norm.

And while there are many variables that influence and reflect MBA employee retention and turnover – GMAC finds, for example, that “switching organizations has a positive impact on salary levels but a negative impact on career momentum” – the simple reality that you should keep in mind as a current or rising MBA is that your next job is almost certainly not your last job, and that part of your task in the MBA career search process is not only to choose an internship and a full-time, post-MBA job, but to begin to plan for and scope out the job after that, and perhaps even beyond. Continue reading…

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MIT Sloan MBAs Scope Out Leading Seattle Firms as Part of Annual Tech Trek

seattleAfter returning from a recent MIT Sloan Tech Trek to Seattle, a first-year MBA student shared highlights in a recent article on GeekWire. Jarek Langer (MBA ‘15), vice president of treks for the Technology Club at Sloan, detailed his recent trek, which included visits to Amazon, Microsoft and Groupon. Though all three companies had already given formal presentations on MIT’s campus, visits to their campuses provided valuable insights into company culture and more, Langer writes.

At Microsoft, trek participants got a tour of the campus as well as a chance to convene with MIT Sloan alumni now working there. “We’d heard about its giant campus, but it was incredible to experience the scale of it in person,” Langer writes. He noted that conversations with alumni gave him a sense of the importance of collaboration at Microsoft, as well as a high degree of ownership over work, with little micromanagement.

Next was a visit to Groupon, where trek participants got to learn about a shift in the company’s business model toward a greater focus on local and mobile. Particularly interested in the intersection between tech and retail, Langer noted that what he learned at Groupon makes him plan to keep the company in his sights.

The trek’s final company visit was to Amazon, where a panel filled with more Sloan alumni helped describe what it’s like to work there, as well as what Seattle living is all about. “One thing that stood out for me was how employees don’t use PowerPoint very much,” writes Langer. “Instead, they use thoroughly written white papers that explore issues in depth.” This observation was in keeping with a company known for its analytic depth and attention to detail, he added.

Rounding out the trek was a visit to venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group, with a panel filled by senior people from several of its startups, all interested in hiring interns. “It was clear from our discussion with these startups that analytics is playing a significantly greater role in business models,” Langer writes. “There are a lot of opportunities to apply analytics in various settings and industries, which is great news for students from MIT Sloan where big data is an area of great interest and strong expertise.”

Learn more about MIT Sloan’s recent Tech Trek to Seattle

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Conducting a Career Self-Assessment – for New Admits and Current MBAs (Part 2 of 3)

Last week’s discussion of self-assessment took us to the start of business school, and assumed that the newly-matriculated student has performed a deep-dive on the “highs” and “lows” of each past educational and professional experience, and has gained new insights via the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the CareerLeader MBA career assessment.

An equally important aspect of MBA career self-assessment involves focusing on the Present – assessing all of the variables that relate to: 1) the MBA program you’re enrolled in, 2) your comparative advantage and competitiveness within the context of your peer group (the first-year student body at your own school, primarily, but also including MBA candidates at other programs), and 3) the MBA recruiting climate and macroeconomic conditions for the industries and opportunities you are likely to pursue.

Conducting a self-assessment with respect to the ‘present’ time frame of the business school experience itself is less dependent on understanding one’s individual predilections and aspirations, and more reliant on mapping that self-knowledge onto a competitive landscape, and on creating a strategy about how to allocate one’s time and energy for maximum effect given that context. Continue reading…

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Choosy MBA Students at Top Schools Reject Job Offers, Hold Out for Dream Jobs

dream-job-2Some students at top MBA programs are rejecting employment offers and choosing to graduate without a job in hand, holding out for positions at technology firms and startups, which hire later than more traditional finance and consulting companies, according to a Wall Street Journal report yesterday.

“I’m not nervous,” Ellen Cory, a second-year student at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business who has turned down several job offers, told the Journal. “I’m not behind for the type of position I’m trying to get. I’ve seen classmates get a lot of great jobs. And I have confidence that I will be able to find a job that satisfies me,” she said. Continue reading…

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Conducting a Career Self-Assessment – for New MBA Admits (Part 1 of 3)

MBAs are often told that a new job search should begin with a process of introspection known as “self-assessment,” yet that advice is not always accompanied by a prescriptive guide for what that process should entail … the words themselves are deemed sufficiently self-explanatory.

At the same time, a good career self-assessment is not rocket science. It involves focusing on three time periods – past, present, and future – and it can benefit from use of a small handful of exercises and instruments, the most prevalent (and useful) of which are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), whose intellectual antecedent is the philosophy of Carl Jung, and the CareerLeader assessment, developed by Drs. Tim Butler and Jim Waldroop at Harvard Business School.

For a rising MBA, the need to conduct a critical self-assessment is acute because the cost of having to reverse course or of simply “getting it wrong” – for example, by chasing after “your roommate’s dream job” rather than your own, or by discovering that your dream career path lies in private wealth management one week after deadlines for private wealth management internships have passed – is high. Continue reading…

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Fewer Grads from European MBA Programs Are Heading Into Finance

amazonFar fewer MBA students from Europe’s top business schools are choosing careers in finance than they have in the past, opting instead for jobs at Facebook, Amazon and other tech firms, according to a recent report in the Financial News.

London Business School (LBS), Cambridge’s Judge Business School, Oxford’s Saïd Business School, INSEAD and HEC Paris all report significant drops in the number of MBAs who have accepted full-time roles and internships at finance firms as the heaviest portion of the annual recruiting season comes to an end. Continue reading…

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