Land your dream job

Employers are eager to approach MBAs as soon as the university year starts and plenty of job offers are extended even to first-year students. Despite the rampant financial crisis and the wobbly market economy, the MBA remains a “five-star” degree that heightens your opportunities for professional advancement. Stats show that the number of MBA applicants remains stable and is even on the rise. The reason? The MBA gives you a definite edge in the market, enlarges your job offers and increases your chances of landing your dream jobs.

MBA graduates needn’t worry about their return on investment (ROI). The degree not only pays off but money may start flowing back into their bank account rather quickly. The 2013 Alumni Perspectives Survey, which is based on opinion polls of 4,135 MBA alumni, found that three out of four alumni of the class of 2012 have landed jobs they would not have obtained without their graduate management education. The GMAC said this finding has remained relatively consistent over the last seven years. The vast majority (93%) of the class of 2012 alumni indicated that the job they took after graduation was exactly what they were looking for. These highly positive results come from a wide range of business schools – not merely the top-ranked institutions whose graduates receive the highest reported compensation directly out of university and are the most likely to be satisfied with their MBA experience. Alumni reported what GMAC termed a “stellar” return on investment (ROI), with graduates recouping a third of the financial investment in their degree within the first year after graduation, and 100 percent within four years. Ten years after graduation, alumni reported that they had nearly doubled their return on investment.

On-campus recruitment and Business Schools’ policies

It may be a good idea to think through your career choices before the start of the university year. Before you know, it and almost as soon as you have set foot on campus, you may have a one-to-one with recruiters. The trend for corporate networking events has been skewing earlier and earlier in the academic year, forcing business schools to push forward the dates they allow companies to host such events as corporate presentations, cocktail receptions and other recruiting opportunities on campus. MBA programmes have typically restricted on-campus early recruiting so as not to overwhelm new students, but more and more business schools are amending that policy to keep up with recruiter demand.

One of the few still holding out, Stanford’s Graduate School of Business prohibits on-campus recruiting until six weeks of the university year have passed, in order to allow first-year stu dents to concentrate on academic endeavours and clarify their professional paths without external pressure from recruiters. And this is not necessarily a hurdle for potential employers. “Smart companies”, says Keth Bevans, head of global consultant recruiting in Chicago, “want students to learn about all their options first and then choose the one thatmakes the most sense for them. After all, hiring a bad fit - even if only for a placement - doesn’t help anyone. There’s big value in making sure you’re making educated decisions”, he adds, “and not jumping at the first opportunity to come along”. The majority of MBA universities are, however, eager to cooperate with employers and meet their demands. But they do so under very well-defined conditions and within strictly defined deadlines. Most business schools publish their timetables, with the scheduled recruiting events, online, as well as a list with requirements for both potential employers and employees. Harvard Business School, for example, allows direct outreach for second-year students at any time, while networking with first-years can happen only after 17 October. INSEAD, on the other hand, allows on-campus company presentations, networking evenings and career fairs as well as virtual MBA Career Days, but only if scheduled in accordance with their recruiting calendar. Often, relationships are begun at conventions and events held over the summer which are geared toward students with clear career goals. One of the biggest opportunities for early recruitment is a June event held by the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, at which 400 students meet in New Orleans to network with future classmates and have interviews with about 65 companies, including Kraft Foods Group Inc. Despite business schools’ restrictions on early recruiting, many companies cultivate relationships beyond these events through “coffee chats”, as opposed to actual interviews.

It’s no surprise that the business arena is a true battlefield when it comes to landing your dream job - dozens of applicants fight for one position, candidates become more and more qualified, and the competition is fierce. However, the trend for MBA students to be approached early on during their programme by big-name corporations and international conglomerates is an indication of, and testimony to, the importance of the degree. Top ranked universities get their MBAs snitched by employers before the students have even completed their programmes, which is excellent news for all those MBA aspirants who are not sure what to do once they get their diploma.