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MBA graduates: Job search tips from a career coach

SOURCE: DREW ANGERER -GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA - GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP
The post-MBA job search can seem like wading through murky waters but an MBA admissions consultant and career coach shares some tips for graduates.


By Yasmin 

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The main allure of an MBA is how the credential can open the door to a wide range of career options across various sectors. The post-MBA job search, however, doesn’t have to be daunting for an MBA graduate if you know which are the top industries for employment opportunities. 

In an email interview with U2B, Sameer Kamat, founder of MBA Crystal Ball and Careerizma, said the biggest recruiters for international MBA graduates come from consulting, finance and technology. 

MBA graduates
Sameer Kamat is the founder of MBA Crystal Ball and Careerizma. Source: MBA Crystal Ball

“Unlike smaller companies that may not have the resources or the inclination to go the extra distance to hire international candidates, many of the top recruiters are big enough to be able to handle the additional paperwork,” explained the MBA admissions consultant and career coach.

That doesn’t mean, however, that MBA graduates should write off approaching smaller companies. Sameer said while they may not hire candidates in large numbers, there may still be several niche opportunities where they’re looking for good people.

Navigating the job search post-MBA

Many MBA graduates have hopes of working outside their home country upon graduating, but securing a best-paying MBA job that’s a good fit can sometimes be a challenge itself. 

In this instance, Sameer notes that there are three basic parameters that all MBA graduates looking for a career change juggle with – industry, role and geography. 

“Not changing any is the safest option, since many companies would be glad to hire someone who’s already proved their mettle. However, that may defeat the purpose of going for an MBA,” he said.

On the other extreme, MBA graduates may aim to change all three, making it highly risky.

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“A more moderate approach would be to change only one or two from the mix. That incentivises companies to consider such applicants more seriously, since they already have highly transferable skills and their learning curve won’t be as steep in the new job.”

Neither approach is good or bad as it depends on the candidate’s appetite for risk, said Sameer, who has an MBA from the University of Cambridge. Wherever possible, test the waters. An MBA internship is a great way to find out whether the grass is really green there, he said. 

“Other than that, it also helps to get some informational interviews with alumni who’re working in diverse fields. They’ll be able to share the pros and cons without sugarcoating it.”

In addition to this, there are many things that MBA graduates can do to improve their chances of securing a job abroad, including to research market trends. 

Students can reach out to current students and recent alumni to find out the realities of finding a job in a new country where they may not have an existing network. It’s also fruitful to grow your network in your target industry during your MBA as there may be opportunities that aren’t advertised. 

Brushing up on your soft-skills and interpersonal skills will not go amiss, either.

Gearing up for a post-COVID-19 world

job search
Some of the biggest recruiters for international MBA graduates come from consulting, finance and technology. Source: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP

COVID-19 has affected numerous businesses across different sectors, particularly non-essential services. So how can MBA graduates navigate their job hunt during a pandemic when many businesses have been brought down to their knees?

“The ideas and tips shared in the previous answer would be relevant in the COVID-19 world too. It just gets tougher to execute them,” said Sameer.

Despite that, it’s still possible to get good jobs despite lockdowns in place.

“It’s important to understand that jobs might be lesser, but big companies with strong fundamentals are less likely to collapse. And they’ll need good people to help them hit the ground running once the focus changes from softening the blow (by laying off employees) to re-building and growing their global businesses,” he explained.

Alternatively, those who have always aspired to build something from the ground up might want to consider going into entrepreneurship as they’ve learnt the theory in school and likely have plenty of ideas in mind. 

With these tips, in combination with the right skills and enthusiasm, navigating the job search in a post-COVID-19 world can be less daunting.