Compared to the traditional two-year MBA, one-year MBA programs are relatively affordable and allow you to return to the labor force a full year earlier. These are advantages that must be weighed against a challenge: you have limited time during your program to find a new job. Therefore, I would like to discuss a few tips to help you increase the efficiency of your job search.
1. Start early
The MBA is an incredible experience accompanied by a very busy schedule of classes, group projects, career events, and many social activities. As soon as your program begins, you will immediately get busy with a lot of great events that you won’t want to miss!
Make sure to prepare your resumes and cover letters early. Start in the summer and get help from your careers office as soon as you can. Aim to have your resume and the templates for your cover letters ready by early September.
Two popular post-MBA industries are banking and consulting. If you would like to apply to M&A positions, then you can study the top 100 IBD interview questions before you start your degree. If you would like to apply to consulting jobs, you can start preparing case studies early as well. Last year, Oxford began a Consulting Development Program for those students who plan to apply to consulting jobs. The program begins when you arrive to campus but you shouldn’t wait, start preparing in the summer before the program starts!
2. Spend your time efficiently
Many large corporates have MBA specific hiring. For instance, Fung Group and GSK visit many business schools, including Oxford and Cambridge to hire for their MBA program. These career events are usually filled with tens if not hundreds of students. The MBA programs receive many applications globally for a small number of openings. Their applications are usually very long and it may require a day or more of work to complete one single application.
Another example is WPP, they visit many business schools globally to fill five spots for their MBA program. Their application is very detailed and takes around two or three days to complete as they ask for several essays. If you are passionate about this company, by all means, you should spend the time and apply. However, thousands of students put in the significant effort to fill out the application. So the return on your investment will be quite low. It is ultimately a numbers game and there are only five spots available.
I know that some students come to regret that they spent too much time applying to these types of MBA programs. Spots are very limited for these programs and the applications are time consuming. In a one-year MBA, your time is your most valuable commodity. You need to spend it wisely!
Alternatively, I know that Amazon hired about 10 students from Cambridge this year, while receiving approximately 40 to 50 applications from Cambridge students. From a purely statistical point of view, you stand a better chance of getting an offer and an application to Amazon would be a better investment of your time.
3. Avoid applying with the masses
The MBA job market is very competitive. What makes it worse is that there is a certain herd mentality where students tend to apply to similar jobs and companies. However, the students who broaden their research can find very interesting job opportunities.
Instead of applying only to well-known companies, you should broaden your search. I know of students who received great job offers in the tech industry and in startups all around the world. Apply to jobs that you found through your own research. If there are fewer MBA applications from candidates in your program, then you will be able to stand out and your efforts can pay off more easily.
4. Utilize Vault
Vault has a lot of helpful research and industry guides. For instance, when people think about consulting, most will recognize McKinsey, Bain, and BCG as the top firms. However, there are a lot of great companies out there that should not be overlooked. Vault has a list of top 50 consulting firms as well as other related articles. Check those out and use them to broaden your job search.
In banking, Vault produces similar lists. You would be surprised to learn that there are many boutique investment banks. You probably would have never heard of them before checking Vault’s top 50 investment banks list.
5. Leverage the alumni network
Spending time to connect to alumni is a great investment. Even if the connections do not lead to a job offer, you can learn a great deal about the industry in which you are aspired to work. It is also possible that the connections will later become useful if you maintain the relationship and wish to collaborate on a project in the future.
Remember not to restrict yourself only to connecting with your business school’s alumni. If you are attending Said or Judge, you should reach out to alumni from the broader university community as well as your college’s alumni. The same can be said for any university, make sure to reach out to alumni outside of your business school too!
I hope that these points help! The MBA job market is challenging but you will be able to navigate it if you spend your time wisely! Good luck!
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Rona, an Oxford MBA graduate, has successfully assisted clients in applying to top programs both in the US and internationally. If you would like to learn more about my services and how I can help you with your applications, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.