Getting Hired As An MBA Grad
Getting into a business school is just one part of the challenge. How will you translate your learnings and resume to a hiring manager at your dream job?
Elizabeth Whitehead, a contributor at US News, recently spoke to a few experts on how MBA grads can improve their odds of landing a dream job.
Keeping a Positive Outlook with Interviews
One piece of advice is to keep a positive outlook with interviews.
Naomi Sanchez is the assistant dean of MBA career management at University of Washington Foster School of Business.
“One thing we emphasize is not getting derailed by a difficult interview,” Sanchez tells US News. “I’ve had students who’ve been told their answers are not good. Don’t lose your composure. Continue trying to respond in a positive manner. Engage with the interviewer.”
Indeed, interviews are a chance to make a connection, more of a test of emotional intelligence than your skills.
“By the time a candidate is called into an interview, their skills have already been vetted on paper (or the electronic recruiting system),” says Krystal D’Costa, a contributor at Scientific American. “Successful teams in the workplace are those where there are minimal personality conflicts. For this reason, while skills matter—and will certainly be a factor in being able to keep the job once you’ve gotten it—the interview is really an exercise in emotional intelligence.”
Demonstrate How Your Work Will Translate Into Value
While it’s one thing to have desired skills, it’s another to demonstrate how you will apply those skills as an employee.
At AT&T, it’s more important for candidates to demonstrate specifically how they can add value to the company.
“We seek candidates who are passionate about AT&T and can identify where he or she can add value in the future – like a young woman who registered for one of our “meet and greets” recently,” Jason Oliver, vice president of talent acquisition at AT&T, tells US News. “In an initial conversation, she discussed AT&T’s mobility product suite, asking, ‘Have you ever thought about making a differentiated marketing offer?’”
From that conversation, Oliver says, the candidate explained her proposal to the company.
“The impressive component wasn’t the proposal per se – it was the fact that she came prepared, felt comfortable pitching her idea, and was passionate about driving our business forward,” Oliver tells US News.
Having the skills or ideas is one thing but demonstrating how you (as a candidate) can propel a business to grow is another.
Don’t Overdress, Don’t Underdress
How you dress can play a huge factor in a company’s culture.
At IBM, how a candidate dresses can leave an impression of how they’ll fit into the culture.
“Culture plays a big role in recruiting,” Allison Fether, vice president of human resources at IBM, tells US News. “We want to see if applicants fit into the ‘new IBM.’ If we tell you to wear business casual, don’t show up in a three-piece suit. Folks have even shown up in suits with the tags still on, while the interviewer is wearing jeans and a T-shirt.”
Fether says the best strategy to solving confusion about dress code is “if you’re uncertain about something, ask your recruiter.”
The Highest Paid MBAs? Nah. Just A Horrible Survey
The Internet is the birthplace of many new ideas. Unfortunately, one of them is clickbait. All kinds of websites create less than credible surveys to get attention. Many of those surveys are based on flimsy data, small sample sizes, and worse.
The latest in the MBA space is a new survey from Emolument.com, a crowdsourced site for benchmarking salaries. It claims to rank the top 20 business schools with the highest paid alumni. Treat the survey with a big grain of salt. The school that routinely comes out on top of these types of surveys–Stanford’s Graduate School of Business–doesn’t even make the table. Emolument doesn’t even tother to explain how many years the alumni in the survey have been out of school. And there’s also no mention of sample size, casting still more doubt on the results and the integrity of the website.
For a chuckle and some entertainment value, check out the rankings below.
MIT Grads earn median pay of $286K
MIT’s Sloan School of Management came out on top. Its graduates earn a median pay and bonus of $286,000. Harvard comes in second at $255,000. At third is University of Chicago with $250,000. Overall, American MBA program constituted all of the 10 highest-paid MBA programs. INSEAD, Europe’s highest placed school according to Bloomberg, came in 12th place. INSEAD graduates earn a median pay and bonus of $185,000. The University of St. Gallen and Cambridge Judge trailed closely behind at $181K and $180K, respectively.
Methodology and Findings
Emolument.com claims it analyzed pay data from 10,900 MBA professionals to examine which schools yielded the greatest pay – a relatively small and unscientific sample that doesn’t specify the number of respondents per school let alone set specifications based on region, industry, or graduation years.
The pay numbers also bring to mind the phrase, “It’s not only where you come from, it’s where you go.” U.S. MBA grads tend to make the most money. That’s not by accident. Academic reputation and prestige play an important role, obviously. However, US grads benefit from the pay premium that comes with working in the USA – and that goes beyond traditional MBA roles. For example, American tech workers earn more than 50% over their British counterparts, according to a 2015 study by Hired.
Among European schools, the report found that France’s INSEAD business school grads earned the highest salaries. However, if you look a bit closer, INSEAD is the only French school in the top 20. The UK has three business schools (Cambridge’s Judge, London Business School and Oxford Said) which made the top 20 rankings.
Garbage in, garbage out. The takeaway here is about the results. Instead, it reminds us to be highly skeptical of these clickbait Internet surveys.
How MBAs Are Evolving
The MBA isn’t what it used to be. According to The Wall Street Journal, applications to full-time MBA. programs in the U.S. fell for a third straight year.
As the MBA faces a transition period, a number of institutions are evolving to better satisfy today’s demands.
Katherine Hobson, a contributor at US News, recently discussed some of the common ways MBA programs are changing.
More Specialized Degrees
A number of business schools now offer specialized degrees, or programs that focus on niche studies and fields.
For instance, University of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business offers 11 different specializations, ranging from energy to health management.
Gregory La Blanc is a lecturer at Haas who was interviewed by US News. He says specialized degrees are a way to keep up to date with growing fields such as blockchain and data science.
“The outside world is moving very, very quickly,” he tells US News. “If students feel like the stuff they’re learning isn’t relevant or is outdated, they’ll be frustrated.”
Real world learning is a crucial component of the MBA education. And as the MBA evolves, so do the ways that information is taught both within the classroom and beyond.
“We have to put students in situations that very closely mirror the world we’re preparing them for,” Scott DeRue, dean of the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, tells US News.
At Arizona State University’s Carey School of Business, the faculty is constantly innovating to improve the learning experience and to ensure students are getting the latest knowledge.
“We embrace technology, so for example we’re using adaptive learning in our entry level economics courses,” Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P Carey School and Rusty Lyon Chair in Strategy, tells P&Q. “Learning outcomes are stronger than traditional teaching methods. We also do a lot of applied projects throughout our curriculum, so you learn and apply your knowledge right away.”
Soft skills and emotional intelligence (EQ) coursework is becoming standard amongst a number of business schools.
Most recently, New York University’s Stern School of Business began requiring its applicants to submit an EQ endorsement – a recommendation or endorsement letter from anyone outside the immediate family of an applicant.
Isser Gallogly is the associate dean of MBA admissions and innovation at NYU Stern. In an interview with P&Q, Gallogly says that the EQ endorsement is one of the many changes NYU Stern is implementing.
“It’s a brand new idea and a new concept,” says Gallogly. “We are looking for students who are not only capable academically but also capable in leadership, managing teams and having emotional intelligence. So we really asked ourselves what can we do to get more insight into a person’s emotional intelligence into their character.”
The Rise of Tech for Finance MBAs
When you think of finance, you probably think of Wall Street. But that reality is quickly transforming.
With the value in work-life balance among the younger generation and the growing popularity around tech, there’s been a 40% dip in interest for a career in banking, according to the Financial Times.
In a new article, Seb Murray, a contributor at Find MBA, recently discusses new MBA careers in finance that are arising.
What is one of the hottest industries for finance professionals? Financial technology.
In recent years, a number of school have rushed to create Fintech programs. At schools like UC Berkeley Haas, NYU Stern, and USC Marshall, specialized courses in Fintech are blowing up.
According to a spokesperson from NYU Stern, the Fintech specialization has consistently been a top five viewed specialization, out of all 25 total, since it was announced.
“Fintech is disrupting the traditional financial services sector, especially in asset management, payments and insurance,” Margaret O’Neill, head of MBA admissions and careers at Cambridge Judge Business School, tells Find MBA.
The Fall of Traditional Finance Sector
In recent years, traditional finance jobs, such as investment banking, have been seeing a decline.
At Wharton, the number of MBAs going into the financial services industry has reached a new record low, falling to 32.7% of the graduating class, as reported by P&Q. Just five years ago, 41% of Wharton’s MBA’s were being hired by firms in the financial sector. Investment banking and brokerage jobs saw the biggest decline, which took just 12.7% of the class, down from 16.1% a year earlier.
A Shift Towards Tech
Maeve Richard is the assistant dean and director of the Career Management Center at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In an interview with Find MBA, Richard says the decline in traditional finance job interest is, in part, due to the rise of interest in another fast-growing sector.
“This shift is a reflection of the attractiveness of opportunities and growth in the tech sector that, little by little, exerted a stronger pull on graduates,” Richard tells Find MBA.
As P&Q reported, of the nearly 2,000 users who’ve opted to follow companies, 17.6% chose to follow Google. Second highest was Amazon at 16.7%.
Goldman Sachs? It came in after five tech firms in terms of popularity amongst users.
“Honestly, even though I know that tech is hot, these stats really make you realize just how attractive the industry has become for MBAs,” Kevin Marvinac, Transparent Career’s co-founder and chief operating officer, tells P&Q.