Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Rough times in MBA world

About 30% of our second year class is still looking for a job. With a few exceptions, this stat is similar to most other top b-schools. There are a variety of reasons why it’s so difficult to get a job now.

The biggest difference this year versus the last few years is that significantly fewer employers are hiring and among those that are hiring, they are hiring fewer people. There are many qualified, experienced candidates competing for these limited opportunities. In addition, larger organizations who may have recruited MBAs during the academic year in the past are taking a just-in-time approach. This results in more ad hoc recruiting processes in which students must do much more networking and interviewing, and be prepared for it to continue into the summer.

Some students have waited until later in the year to start their job searches in hope that the market would improve and that better jobs would come available (especially investment-related jobs). This was a sensible approach, but the market for investment jobs remains weak. It may be time for these students to consider boutique investment banking, restructuring and risk management roles, corporate development, hedge funds and corporate finance. One other option is to do some part-time project/consulting work to bring in income while continuing to network for that investment job.

International students who want to stay in the U.S. have a very difficult situation. Given the U.S. economy, U.S. employers are under pressure to hire American citizens. Given that many students want to change careers and employers have many candidates with exact experience, the challenge is further compounded.

Some internationals who intend to return to their home countries are waiting to start their job search until they return home, which makes sense since networking and interviewing are most effective in person.

Some U.S. students are taking some or all of the summer off and plan to start looking in the fall. This seems reasonable as companies typically hire more in the fall than in the summer. With hope that the economy will improve, it should be easier to find a job than it is now.

In 2002, 2003 and 2004, about 75-80% of the graduating students had offers at graduation. I am hoping that it will be similar this year, but it could be a bit lower given that this recession has negatively impacted many more sectors than did the dot-com bust.

Our career management center staff will be working throughout the summer to help the class of 2009. The alumni career services staff supports all alumni who need career and job search support year-round. Check out our website for information and contact us if you need help.

Category: Job/Internship Search

One Response to Rough times in MBA world

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