How To Secure An MBA Job Before You Graduate
This article was originally published on businessbecause.com and written by Charlotte Brook on December 23, 2023.
Securing a top MBA job is about far more than submitting an application. It’s a process that involves exploring the job market, networking, and gaining practical experience so you can easily adapt to the work culture in a new industry or country.
Business school can provide these opportunities for you but knowing how to reap results comes down to you. This article provides you with five step to secure yourself an MBA job, based on an interview with HHL MBA candidate Daniela Pecho.
Daniela Pecho is from Peru, originally. She knew that she wanted to move abroad to study for an MBA in Europe and advance her career in finance. She chose HHL for her studies as 97% of our graduates stay in Germany and entry the job market.
Here are five steps to securing an MBA job
1. Choose the location of your MBA wisely
The location of your chosen business school plays a huge role in the career opportunities that are available to you.
Daniela Pecho, from Peru, knew that she wanted to move abroad to study for an MBA in Europe and advance her career in finance. After visiting the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management in Germany, she was sold on both the MBA program and the country itself.
Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world and the largest in Europe. Out of all the Fortune 500 companies in Europe, most are German companies including Volkswagen and Uniper. HHL Leipzig MBA students can connect with some of the top companies in the country via projects, internships, and recruitment events. As a result, students have landed roles with companies such as Siemens, EY, Allianz, and SAP, among others. Daniela landed a role as a consultant at Deloitte after undertaking an internship with the company. Germany is also one of the easiest countries to get a work visa, which is a strong selling point for international students.
It’s no surprise, then, that 97% of students in the HHL MBA program stay in Germany to continue their careers.
2. Undertake an MBA internship
Undertaking an internship at business school is a great way to gain experience in a new industry or with your target company. You’ll receive feedback on your performance, an insight into the company culture and values, and may impress your team enough to secure a full-time offer.
Daniela chose the 21-month Advanced Track in the HHL MBA program, which includes an internship. She landed a six-month role with Deloitte working in transaction services. Through being proactive and showing her enthusiasm for the role, Daniela secured a full-time offer ready for when she graduated.
“During your internship, don’t only focus on the specific task you are given but also figure out what else you can do to show your skills and how you could benefit the company in the future,” she advises.
Opportunities such as these mean that 82% of HHL MBA students have a job lined up for them ahead of graduation.
“During your internship, don’t only focus on the specific task you are given but also figure out what else you can do to show your skills and how you could benefit the company in the future.”
3. Leverage the career support at business school
The career services at business school are an invaluable resource to help with resume writing, mock interviews, and figuring out your next steps. Kati Dorsch is the career development manager at HHL Leipzig. The team gives each MBA student personalized career advice and training.“Finding a job can be a job itself so we focus on preparing students in every way we can through workshops, and facilitating connections,” says Kati.
Using a tool called Talent Compass, the team help MBAs to recognize what is an ideal career path based on their interests, values, and skills. As an international student, the careers team at HHL were also invaluable for giving Daniela an insight into the German job market and the expectations of European companies for job applications.
She advises that learning to speak the language of the country you’re working in can go a long way to impressing recruiters.
I started learning to speak German, which is something companies really value. Even if it isn’t perfect, demonstrating a willingness to learn is key.
4. Network with recruiters
During an MBA, there will be ample opportunities to meet with potential recruiters at networking events. Kati stresses the importance of researching the companies you want to speak to beforehand and presenting yourself in a convincing way. “Doing your research means you’ll be able to ask informed questions and start building a relationship. It’s even a good idea to have a small elevator pitch prepared,” she says.
Remember, recruiters will speak to many MBA students at these events, so you want to make a strong impression that will help you stand out. “After the event, make sure to connect on LinkedIn and even send a note to say thank you for their advice. Not a lot of people do this but it’s so important,” Kati advises.
It was through these networking events that Daniela landed her internship with Deloitte, leading to a full-time role with the company. “I reached out to the recruiter and explained who I was, my achievements, and why I was interested in working for the company. It was so much faster than applying and I knew someone had directly read my resume, rather than it being put through a system,” she says.
It’s even a good idea to have a small elevator pitch prepared.
5. Start your search for MBA jobs early
Applying for an MBA job is competitive. That’s why it’s essential to start preparing early by building your network, keeping up to date with trends in your target industry, building the skills needed to succeed during your MBA, and tapping into all the opportunities you can to help you stand out to employers.
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