Ultimately, a better career is all you should be seeking from an MBA.
It might mean career acceleration or pivoting to a completely new field or becoming an entrepreneur. And B-Schools help you do this through so many ways.
From programming for finding true career paths to leadership development and making the connect with the right recruiters, the Career Services is at the heart of the recruitment process.
Let’s consider the Career Management Group (CMG) at Berkeley Haas.
The CMG at Haas has a dedicated team of Career Coaches to support with every aspect of the recruiting process. In addition to this, there are CMG Peer Advisors( graduating students to guide for internships & for industry- specific guidance), Relationship Managers (for connecting with specific employers or to know about the current hiring trends) and Industry Specialists (for the insider stories & tips). It does take a village!
I find the Career Tools at Haas fascinating- a very methodical approach that starts with discovering your strengths and framing your career goals. Then there are tools to help in execution – resume workshops, networking for career conversations, tackling interviews and negotiating total compensation. While this kind of continuous support is common, each B-School does the Career Services differently. Hence, factor this in when you shortlist your B-Schools.
Internships & Recruiters
Start with the employment reports- they will have a wealth of information. And B-schools aim for having many of their graduates placed within three months of graduation.
A staple for the 2-year MBA programs, the MBA Internship, is in the summer between 1st and 2nd year & lasts for anywhere between 8-12 weeks. Some can also opt for part-time internships throughout the year. A great way to gain practical experience, many internships also convert to full-time offers and maybe the only way to get into some consulting & finance companies. For career switchers, taking up an internship in the intended field will help in getting the necessary skills and for networking. There are many functional areas to try out in these companies. If you are trying to move from hard-core programming to marketing, landing the right internship would help. There is more flexibility when you choose to work with smaller firms and start-ups.
The management consulting Big three- McKinsey, BCG, and Bain ( MBB for short) hire about 1000 interns combined in a typical year. Amazon remains one of the largest recruiters of MBA talent. Not surprisingly, the top recruiters for MBA are from consulting, technology and finance. And recruiting for these industries is extremely competitive.
Recruiting activities include company briefings, research, informational interviews, applications, and a lot of networking calls and these are all year long! This can take up to 8-10 hours per week. For internships, recruiting can start from October onwards and maximum offers typically roll out by February. You may spend close to 6 months dedicated to the recruiting process.
For 1-year programs, actual recruiting starts from Day one itself. So be prepared for it and start the research on getting into your preferred industry really early.
It is such an exciting time to be an entrepreneur- especially in B-School. where there is no dearth of ideas and tools. The encouragement for innovation and collaboration makes it is easy to find a co-founder and the core leadership team. From incubators to courses to specialized concentrations and practical projects, check out how Michigan Ross helps in grooming entrepreneurs. But balancing a startup and B-School will need some skillful juggling.
Grade non-disclosure policy
Some top B-Schools prohibit students to disclose their grades or transcripts to future recruiters before getting the offer (grade non-disclosure policy). Often the student body gets to decide this. This doesn’t mean that you can get away with bad grades (there are minimum cut-offs and other measures in place). But if you know that the grades don’t matter, then probably there is less pressure on you academically and you can focus on the other aspects of B-School experience like networking, experiential learning, trying out courses that you might have not otherwise considered, etc.
For any of your targeted B-Schools, the first place to start your research is to spend a lot of time on the offerings of the Career Services and the employment reports!
The recruiting for your post-MBA role starts when you are thinking about the MBA.