Job Outlook After Your MBA

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The Ultimate Guide to Job Searching, Impressing Recruiters, and Networking

Earning an MBA can open doors to employment opportunities in nearly every sector, from finance to logistics. Yet, landing a job after graduation is not a foregone conclusion. Before completing their program, students should be sure to align their academic curriculum to their future career interests. The following guide discusses career paths for MBAs, includes an interview with a recent MBA graduate who secured employment, and offers resume tips to help maximize the chances of landing a job upon graduation.

MBA Concentrations to Career Map

Flexibility is one of the major benefits of the Master of Business Administration degree. The broad business curriculum, coupled with specializations in areas such as entrepreneurship, marketing, or finance, allow students to develop skill sets applicable across industries. Once the diploma is in hand, keep an eye out for the following potential career paths, salaries and job growth for related occupations.

ConcentrationCareerMedian Salary Job Growth
1. Economics Senior Financial Analyst $75,18412%
Economist$95,7106%
2.EntrepreneurshipChief Executive $173,3206%
Marketing Director$96,7209%
3. Environmental ManagementArchitectural Engineering Manager$130,6202%
Environmental Program Manager$120,0507%
4.ExecutivePostsecondary Education administrator$88,3909%
5. Health CareHealth Information Systems Manager$113,51014%
Hospital Administrator$92,81017%
6. Human ResourcesHuman Resource Manager$102,7809%
Compensation Manager$108,0706%
7. Information TechnologyInformation Systems Manager$127,6409%
Information Security Analyst$88,89018%
8. International BusinessInternational Marketing Manger$67,02012%
Transportation Manger$85,40012%
9. MarketingMarketing Manager$127,1309%
Market Research Analyst$61,29019%
10. Master of Business AdministrationDirector of Staff Development$101,9307%
Personal Finance Advisor$81,06030%
11.Project ManagementAdministrative Services Manager$83,7908%
Management Analyst$80,88014%
12. Public AdministrationInternational Affairs Director$104,920NA
Director of Operations$83,7908%
13. TechComputer Systems Analyst$82,71021%
Management information Systems Director$127,64015%
13 MBA Conentrations with Careers

Start Early: A Timeline for MBA Success

  • First Semester


    Come prepared. Many MBA departments provide resume guidelines on the school’s website to help students revise existing CVs according to a set template. Arrive to campus with your current resume ready to be reviewed by a career counselor.
    Get focused. Professors often invite speakers from varied industries to speak in class during the first semester, allowing students to explore potential paths and narrow their areas of interest. Use these lectures – and your own research – to think through how goals and interests align to career options. Ask lots of questions about the ins and outs of different roles and sectors.
    Resume, round two. After receiving feedback on the initial resume, take those notes and make changes before resubmitting the file to the career department. Some MBA programs produce books containing resumes of current students that are made available to companies looking to hire MBA students. It’s vital for students to meet the deadline for these publications, so start early.
    Network, network, network. Recruiters begin visiting campus around October, with networking events extending until the end of the first semester. Students should use these opportunities wisely and meet as many current staff and recruiters as possible. Even if a company doesn’t sound interesting at first, it’s worth discussing available roles and company culture with visiting organizations.


  • Second Semester


    Apply. After researching companies and meeting recruiters, it’s time to hit the ground running. Many internships require individualization beyond sending a cover letter and resume. Work closely with a career counselor to create applications that will grab a recruiter’s attention.
    Put it on the line. Interviews for internships can take place between the beginning and end of the semester, depending on the company. Those that visited campus often conduct interviews at the school, while any companies found outside school networking events may require an off-campus interview. Use this time to showcase skills and present a clear vision for the future.


  • Third Semester


    Don’t panic. Not everyone finds a job by their third semester in an MBA program. If you’re one of them, try not to worry. There are plenty of resources available to help you find the right job.
    Social Networking. Many employers post jobs on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition, experts suggest making announcements on the appropriate website to let your key contacts know you’re searching. Be specific in your request, “I’m looking for a financial analyst position” instead of “I’m looking for a finance position.”
    Direct Networking. Don’t be shy about reaching out to friends, colleagues or former classmates to see if they know about open positions. If they don’t, they may be able to refer you to their contacts who might.


  • Fourth Semester


    Consider the options. Jobs at large companies are great. However, if those companies are done hiring, plenty of other options are still available.
    Entry-Level Positions. When undergraduates go straight into an MBA program without gaining professional experience, it can be difficult to land a high level position in a company. Entry level positions offer hands-on experience with the opportunity for growth. This doesn’t mean working as a receptionist. Examples of entry-level MBA positions include financial analysts, actuaries, and pharmaceutical representatives.
    Government Jobs. All government agencies need people with a management background, especially administration, budgeting, finance and accounting. Look at jobs with the local, state, and federal governments.


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An MBA Resume Checklist: 10 Tips

The most successful resume, says Walker, are easy to read, concise and descriptive. “Recruiters,” he notes, “generally scan resumes for 30 seconds, look at positions, companies, and education—and then finally dig deeper into your most recent position.” The ten tips below can be used to craft a compelling case to recruiters and hiring managers that your MBA and professional experience make you a competitive candidate.

TipReason
#1: Keep it to One PageRecruiters and employers may review hundreds of applications for a position and typically don’t have time to navigate through multiple-page resumes.
#2: Use Whitespace to Your AdvantageDon’t clutter the resume with too much information. Whitespace can be used to increase the readability of a resume.
#3: Use Hierarchies and FormattingUsing subheads and bullets, along with formatting (bold and underlined), presents information clearly, cleanly, and succinctly.
#4: List Accomplishments, Not DutiesTo stand out, candidates should demonstrate how their professional experience benefited their previous employers. This information is used to determine the potential success of the candidate in the new position.
#5: Demonstrate your WorthThe resume should be tailored to the role and responsibilities of the job posting. Throughout the resume, candidates should focus on showing how their job skills relate to the position they are seeking.
#6: Use Strong Action VerbsStrong, compelling language can catch the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s attention. Translate success into action.
#7: Use Numbers Whenever PossibleWhen discussing accomplishments or successes, qualify those successes with percentages or dollar amounts when possible.
#8: Write a Specific Job ObjectiveCandidates often include a vague objective, such as “Seeking a challenging, yet rewarding position that offers personal and professional growth opportunities.” Instead, focus on writing an objective that combines the needs of the employer with what you’re seeking.
#9: Reveal Your CharacterUse the “Interests” section of your resume to briefly show the hiring manager who you are outside of the workplace.
#10: Start the “Education” Section with Your Highest DegreeDon’t leave the MBA at the bottom of your education section. If not completed, include the date you will receive it—and if relevant—indicate any noteworthy coursework that is related to the job posting.
10 Resume Tips

The Perfect Fit: Finding the Right Company

Although it may be tempting to jump at the first job opportunity presenting itself, it’s also important to remember how much time will be spent at work. Before accepting any position – no matter how great it sounds – consider the questions below to ensure the role is matched to specific personal and professional needs.

Industry Leaders


Is the company known for being innovative and taking smart risks?
Does the executive team have a reputation for being on the forefront of new ideas and industry advancement?
Do leaders within the company make themselves available to new hires and provide mentorship opportunities?
Does the organization have a good public relations system to celebrate accomplishments of their employees?

Geographic Location


Do you prefer to be in an urban or rural area?
How important is it to be close to friends, family or a significant other?
When picturing your first place after competing an MBA, is it a 500-square foot Midtown apartment or a house with a yard?
How do you want to spend your time after work? Is it hiking in nature or attending museum openings?

Size


Do you want to be a big fish in a little pond or a little fish in a big pond?
How important is it to have access to decision makers within the company?
Do you prefer the energy of a start-up atmosphere or the security of a stable venture?
Will it be possible to make valuable contributions in a company of this size and is that important?

Culture


What are your values, and are the values of this company in line with those?
Does the company encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Do other employees seem happy and motivated by the company culture?
Is the work environment conducive to how you work best?

Standing Out: Impressing MBA Recruiters

As the old adage goes, you’ve got one chance to make a first impression. Recruiters interview countless qualified candidates during the hiring season, making it imperative to stand out – in a good way. Use the following list to make a favorable and lasting impression in the interview chair.

  • Understand the mission:
    Why would a company want to hire you if you can’t clearly convey why they exist in the first place? Especially for roles with client interfacing, a candidate who can’t verbalize the mission succinctly will be dropped to the bottom of the list.
  • Complete the puzzle:
    How do you fit in with the company? Demonstrating your value to a recruiter shows that much thought has gone into self-analyzing and understanding the organization – both of which are impressive to recruiters.
  • Present a win:
    How can you help them get a leg over on the competition? By showing that you’ve thought about both the company and their competitors, recruiters see your ability to take a holistic view of the field.
  • Tailor yourself:
    While it’s important to show up looking your best, this tip isn’t referring to that kind of tailoring. As with individualized cover letters, make sure the answers you provide in interviews show thoughtfulness about a specific company. It’s easy to start rattling off prepared answers to common questions after a few interviews, but these rehearsed responses can seem generic to recruiters, who are looking for answers tailored to their company.
  • Demonstrate your work ethic:
    How can you prove you’ll be a motivated and engaging employee while still in school? Extracurricular activities. Whether taking part in an MBA special-interest club or volunteering outside of school, these accomplishments show recruiters that you’ll be an energetic employee.
  • Stay on message:
    What’s your story? Interviewees who present a clear and cohesive image of themselves weave a story, making them seem memorable and put together. Whether you want to be known as a go-getter, a thoughtful researcher, or someone who is passionate about startups, keep this identity in the forefront as you craft answers to interview questions.
  • Ask questions:
    How can you make the interview more than a one-way interaction? Recruiters don’t want to be the only one asking questions. Most importantly, remember not to ask any question whose answer could be found through researching the company. Asking a basic question shows you haven’t done your homework, while a thoughtful query can show depth of interest.
  • Learn from those who have gone before you:
    Who understands the interview process better than you? Aside from career counselors, one of the best assets an applicant can take advantage of is a gainfully employed recent graduate. Having recently gone through the process, these professionals have fresh insights on what it takes to get hired.
  • Say what you want:
    How will a company know you’ll fight for them if you don’t fight for yourself? Although it may seem bold, one of the strongest things an applicant can do is convey that they want the job. While it’s important to avoid a tone that says you’re desperate, showing confidence in knowing what you want sends a clear signal.

Get Connected: Networking Resources

One of the most important components of success when it comes to landing a job is who you know. Networking is vitally important for students, but while still in school and after they graduate. The following associations provide opportunities to meet leaders in the field.

Alumni Associations

Career Fairs

Location-Focused

  • Rotary
    Although the rotary club has more than 1.2 million members, the goal of the organization is to build positive communities by developing leaders to create change.
  • Young Nonprofit Professionals Association
    With chapters spanning across the nation, recent MBA graduates hoping to put their educations to work in the nonprofit sector often join YNPA.
  • The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc.
    With a focus on civic leadership and community impact, Junior Leagues help women become strong leaders through volunteer opportunities.

Professional

Finance

  • Commercial Finance Association
    CFA serves individuals working in asset-based lending and factoring, offering local chapters, publications and continuing education opportunities.
  • European Finance Association
    Finance professionals working in the global economy benefit from membership with the EFA, which draws together both academics and practitioners.
  • The American Finance Association
    As the publisher of The Journal of Finance, AFA is a venerable organization in the financial industry.

Marketing

  • American Marketing Association
    The AMA is the preeminent membership organization for marketers today. More than 100 chapters give members access to a host of resources and special events.
  • Business Marketing Association
    With chapters throughout the country, BMA members attend events and networking opportunities to learn about business marketing.
  • Direct Marketing Association
    Members benefit from DMA’s training programs, events, advocacy efforts, and networking opportunities.

International Business

Operations Management

Leadership

  • American Management Association
    AMA members can access a range of benefits, including podcasts, webinars, white papers, online training, local chapters, and regular events.
  • International Leadership Association
    The ILA has a variety of affinity and community groups for members and also provides a leadership webinar for those looking to hone their skills.
  • US Business Leadership Network
    This nonprofit organization currently counts more than 5,000 businesses as members, with nearly 50 affiliates across the country.

Strategy

Entrepreneurship

MBA Graduate Talks Jobs, Transferable Skills, Advice: Interview with Ryan Walker

Ryan Walker

In this interview, we talk with Ryan Walker, a recent graduate from the full-time MBA program at Babson College in Massachusetts. Mr. Walker shares his job search experience after graduation, what skills were transferable to his new job, and his advice for recent MBA graduates.

Employer

MBA Program

Location

Babson College in Masschusetts

What was your job search like after finishing your MBA program?

It’s not a ticket to a career change, as it is presented to many who consider a full-time program. I found that employers still care more about your previous experience, the MBA alone won’t get you into a new career. I had three offers and a fourth on the way before graduation, but have for the most part stayed in my previous industry.

How have you benefited from earning an MBA?

The biggest difference is that I jumped up a few levels and am responsible for growing a new practice—a responsibility that probably would have been much harder to justify without an MBA. It also made a difference in pay as it more than doubled my salary pre- vs. post-MBA.

What did you learn in your MBA program or what courses were transferable to real-life situations in the workplace?

Although courses weren’t entirely transferrable, the business strategy is very useful. Babson’s small business focus also successfully teaches you to think about problems in a different light.

What advice do you have for a current MBA student to help them prepare for their post-education transition into the workplace?

Place a lot of thought into what you want to get out of it and go in with a plan The people that benefited the most knew exactly why there were there and what they needed to get out of it. They took the classes and participated in the clubs that brought them to their end goal. The people that just wanted to do something different and take two years off are in many cases still looking for a job.

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