Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A time to choose

I think I pretty much speak for all the admits of Class of 2012 when I say that "the seach has begun!". the search referring to search of career opportunities. That's how the whole MBA things works. First you search for good books on GMAT, then you search for the best schools to attend, then you search yourselves to answer all the piercing and introspection-forcing essays. And when you finally do get an admit, you relax for a bit and then you search about various resources that will help you reach your ultimate career goals while at school. And now more that ever is the need to be on the top of things.
The past 1-2 years of economic turmoil has put a lot of pressure(for good reasons) on the MBA populace to be very very proactive to find internships and jobs. On the upward sloping straight line of the job worry vs. MBA clas year graph, Im sure we are curently at the peak. All of us are aware that companies are recruiting with frugality and taking minumum risk with new hires(wille explain what this means a lil' later). With this challenging situation around us and the undeiably substantial cost of a 2 yr MBA it is inherent on us to start planning our career moves right away.
First, frugality of recuritng within companies. Currently, in this time of firing, I believe a company would think twice before hiring a new person into their company. Although situation is improving, in order to ensure we are in a safe situation I think we should be very very clear as to what career we wish to pursue after MBA. Gone are the serene days when you got tired of a job and did an MBA for 2 years just to check-out the options out there. We simply can't do this. The advice I've received from current students is to be very very clear as to what kind of jon and internship you want. Have clear career goals. Once you've made up your mind, it's easy to stick to it and do career orientation stuff specific to that role/industry. There is no use of blaming the career centre at your school for not finding you a good internship when you juggled from one goal to another since you joined school. I think this is the best thing to do.This way you won't panic during the whole turbulent recuriting seaon because you know exactly what you are looking for and you'll find it in one place or the other.
Second, about the companies playing 'safe' in recruting. Companies seem to prefer recruitng people who are not career changers. They want to know that you can infact excel in the specific industry in the specific role. It might still be easier to go from tech consulting to management consulting but it's no more easy to shift from tech consulting to ibanking etc. Much is being speculated and planned by various schools to overcome this challenge and help their students in switching careers. After all career switch is probably the number 2 reason for people to go for an MBA in the first place. Read this article . The key thing to do is to highlight your exposure to these new industry in your resume. For ex. I wanna shift into marketing within an TV network, I'll then highlight my exposure to custmer management, product marketing in my previous IT career and also my involvement within the entertainment industry (may be by working part-time before joining school etc). This shows a true interest and seriousness on my part to chaneg careers and gives my career goals some credibility in the recruiters eyes.
Last, international students(such as me :)) are facing additional challenges of visa restrictions et al. There is really no way to overcome this since this is totally out of your hand. Just try and target companies which do sponsor your visa for a full-time job after MBA. This is probably where I would demand more help from career management centres at schools. Worst to worst, you can always work till your OPT lets you and then look for opportunities back home.
Just make sure you are well-thought and prepared for you career search and you'll end up as happy as the lady in the picture seems to be :)

Image source:v a l e n c i a c c e d u