Statistics on MBA employment, provided by business schools or quoted in media rankings such as Global MBA Ranking 2015, report that the vast majority of MBA graduates find a job within three weeks upon graduation.
Business schools have become increasingly responsible for their graduates’ career development. Many schools have developed highly efficient career development programmes on campus.
However, business schools always emphasise that landing a dream MBA job is above all the responsibility of the students and all the support that they receive from the school complements students’ own proactive job hunting.
Here are the major factors that can help you ensure that you land a great job on receiving your MBA diploma or even earlier.
Making the most of just these three steps will seriously maximise your chances.
Clear career goals
Professionals go to business school to prepare for a change. The typical expectations of MBA-bound professionals take the following three directions – change of position/career growth, change of employer/business start-up, and change of country/region. It is not uncommon that people aim to achieve two or even the three of these goals with their MBA studies.
Check out: What can you do after obtaining MBA degree
Even if you are open to new ideas and ready to seize any great opportunity, “if you don’t know where you are going, you will end up elsewhere”. When you start thinking about going to business school, you should come up with up to three realistic scenarios for your dream career development.
Try to describe what your short- and long-term goals are in terms of:
- Preferred employers
The MBA experience is truly transformational.
Indeed, you will benefit greatly if you join an MBA class with an openness to new ideas and opportunities. However, only a clear career focus will help you land your dream MBA job.
All business schools will ask about your career goals, why you decided an MBA will help you achieve them and how their programme in particular will contribute to your development.
However, some schools are so focused on helping you get where you want that they will not grant you admission if they see a misfit between between your own expectations and what the school can offer. In some business schools, such as IMD, you might even face the head of career services during your admissions interview.
Adequate school selection
Your career goals are the major selection criteria when it comes to shortlisting business schools. The number of MBA programmes has become truly overwhelming, but the good news is that this diversity enables you to find exactly what you need. You just have to take the time, discipline and research to find it.
MBA programmes differ in location, budget, brand recognition, curriculum focus, specialisations, electives, teaching methods, class profiles, faculties, international exposure, networking opportunities, traditional recruiters, facilities, career services, family support, reputation, accreditations, etc. Thorough research using your own selection criteria - based on your career goals – ensures that you will get exactly what you need.
Watch the video on What to Consider When Choosing MBA Programmes
Read, ask, meet, look for the facts, analyse the figures until you are convinced that your school selection decision is well informed. Both clarifying goals and researching certainly take time, but all this effort is absolutely worthwhile and you will yield its benefits for the rest of your professional life. MBA studies are usually a one-time commitment with long-term implications.
The investment into an MBA is for the sake of your career. It’s you who has to be the driving force. Make the most of the support which your business school can provide career-wise.
Some business schools enable their MBA students to draw upon the expertise of large teams of career coaches and experts. Just to get an idea about the scope of these resources, I can name SDA Bocconi which has a career services centre with ten experts. Start working with them from day one in the programme. Coaching and leadership workshops can help you fine-tune the professional roles for which you have the greatest potential.
Together, you can identify the sectors and industries that will provide a nurturing environment for you to make a difference. This is the essence of career development planning. Business school recruitment experts also communicate with employers and have a grasp of what skills and profiles employers will need in the future.
Only then turn to the practical steps related to building skills for job searching, presentations to recruiters, CV/resume building, interview skills, networking, etc. These are all technical skills that can only be effective in the long-term if you have a vision of what you want to have achieved after you look back at your career in a couple of decades.
Also, check out this infographic to find out what MBA students tend to do after they graduate: