Not even halftime
March 5th, 2009
I recently met with our first year MBAs to discuss their job searches. I explained that they could think of the process as a four-quarter game.
The first quarter ended when on-campus recruiting interviews finished in early February. For those fortunate students who received offers that they will accept, the game has finished.
The second quarter is taking place right now through Spring break. Students should be networking and meeting in person or by phone with helpful people, like friends and former co-workers or young alumni. As long as you have a clear marketing pitch (see examples in your Student Career Guide), these folks are your best starting contacts to refer you to others who work in the organizations that interest you. They may also give you additional contacts at other interesting organizations.
Although Spring break is halftime, it’s no time to rest. With no classes, it’s actually the best time to intensify your networking. If you want to work in a location far from school, it’s prudent to network there over Spring break and get a letter from your career office to visit the local b-school. They will have lots of jobs in the the local region.
The third quarter begins after Spring Break during the month of April and into May. Interviews will take place at this time. In some cases, you may have to propose projects and suggest the appropriate compensation. The fruits of previous networking will come to bear as long as you have determined what your target employers are looking for and how to best position yourself to win the interview process.
The fourth quarter occurs in May through mid-June as the offers begin to flow. Once you get one offer, go to your other top firms of interest and let them know that you are soon to be off-the-market. I am always amazed at the number of students who have no offers going into May and end up with two or three offers at the end of May.
In the last recession, every first-year MBA got a job. I think that will be the case again this year.
So keep playing hard. Don’t give up. The game’s just begun.